The Many Adventures of Buddy the Bull

| 9/16/2011 12:40:16 AM

A photo of Suzanne CoxAh, Buddy. His life with us was short but full of adventure! Back in February we found ourselves with an “extra” pair of coonhounds and in need of some beef. The idea struck me that we should offer a trade on some local sales sites asking for freezer beef in exchange for this pair. Andrew liked the idea, so we placed our ad. Within a week we had a man agree to deliver us a jersey bull he said weighed about 600 pounds and was about a year old in exchange for our dogs. That Saturday he arrives with what was definitely a very cute, but not at all 600 pound little Jersey. Buddy appeared to be around 350 pounds, and most likely around 7-8 months old.

Baby Buddy the Bull 

Buddy was a bottle baby who came from a dairy herd. Despite my fear of bulls, especially those with horns, I soon fell for his cuteness. When I shared our news with friends and family I was met with both congratulations and warnings. Several said this was a mistake, that jersey bulls were aggressive and he should be castrated. Others said he would be fine, as we had no female cows and therefore no reason for him to be aggressive. Even our cattle friends could not agree as to what exactly to do with Buddy. So, we just decided to leave him as he was. He seemed perfectly obedient, coming when called and doing anything you asked as long as you had a feed can in your hand. Buddy was moved into a paddock up the hill with Momma and Baby donkey at the big red barn. And all was peaceful. For a while.

March rolled around, and we began preparing our gardens. It was a very busy time with gardening, fencing, building a barn, and adding more livestock. We purchased a few sheep which we kept in a temporary pen while we finished the front pasture. As part of my daily routine, the kids and I would go up the hill (a good 1500 feet from the house) to feed Buddy and the donkeys, and work our way towards the house feeding the sheep, dogs, and chickens. I guess my first clue that things weren’t going to remain calm was during one of our feeding trips to the barn in April. As much as I liked Buddy, I still didn’t trust him around the kids. So I would walk them into the barn and close the gate between them and the animals. After doing so this particular day I fed Buddy and the donkeys then pulled out the wheel barrow and filled it full of hay for the sheep. Just as I was about to gather up the kids and head out of the barn Buddy snorted and came right at me! I put the wheel barrow between myself and him, and looked for something, anything, to defend myself with. He hit the load of hay head first flipping it into the air and began bucking. As the kids screamed, I was yelling, the donkeys began braying and I did the only thing I could think to do at the time. I hit him with a shovel. Yep, a shovel. It was the only thing I could find to grab! I smacked him across the head, immediately thinking it would kill him or at least knock him out. Well, I evidently don’t know how hard headed a cow is. I think all it did was make him more mad! Momma donkey eventually chased him out of the barn, and provided cover for us to scurry out of the pen.

So Andrew inherited our Buddy feeding chore. At first I think he thought we were exaggerating our experience a bit because he seemed to have no trouble with Buddy. He was soon to learn just how frustrating Buddy could be. Just a few days after our wheel barrow experience we finished the fence and barn in the front pasture and moved both donkeys and the sheep there. Buddy was not quite happy with being left alone, so he broke two of the five strands of barbed wire and came in search of them. We found him trotting along down the driveway one evening. Andrew took him back, fixed the fence and came home to eat dinner. Shortly after dark, I decided to throw some scraps out to the chickens. Imagine my surprise when I walk off the front porch and meet a large, dark shadow not five foot in front of me! Escape number two in one day. The fence was not broken, wire was tight, and the gate was not open. Buddy was returned to his pen.

A few days passed calmly, our spring garden was producing beets, radishes, beautiful mixed lettuce, and carrots. Then one day as the kids and I are feeding the chickens we again spot Buddy. In the garden. Eating my lettuce! I shooed the kids onto the porch, and once again grabbed the first things that came into view. Tomato stakes! So here I go after a bull in the garden, yelling and beating my sticks. I’m sure our neighbors enjoyed the show as I ran him back towards his pen. Luckily, Andrew came home to finish the job for me while I went to check the damages. My big, thick lettuce patch was reduced to the baby growth, stubby leaves and dirt.

Suzanne Cox
9/23/2011 11:31:11 PM

Dave, we ate some hamburger steaks just for you last night! We never had cows when I was a kid, but my neighbor did. He raised black angus, and I remember several bulls that he had and none of them were this tempermental or troublesome. I guess it's just like any other kind of animal, you have some good ones and then you have some nuts! Buddy was definitely in the nutty category... We do plan on having cows in the future but need to put up more fencing first. It's on that "To Do" list we keep talking about for this coming spring/summer. We are wanting to try either belted galloways, dexters, or red polled. From what I have read, those seem to have pretty laid back temperments. Maybe someone on here with some experience with those could offer some insight or advice?

Nebraska Dave
9/22/2011 11:11:52 AM

Suzanne, your story reminds me of a little bull calf we inherited with the acreage Dad bought when I was in high school. He was about the size of your little buddy and his name was Ice Cube because he was born in the middle of winter and the tips of his ears froze off. He was a cute little guy as well and liked to rub his head against your leg when being bucket fed. Now that's great when he weighed 80 pounds but at 200 pounds even a strapping high school football player like myself would fly through the air. As he grew, he took to climbing fences. There wasn't a fence that he couldn't climb and get out. After climbing the fence and visiting the neighbor's pure bred black Angus herd a couple times, the neighbor politely informed Dad that if it happened again, he'd be dead. So we loaded up Ice Cube into the family pickup truck with stock racks and drove to the local stock yards. As we drove away, we saw Ice Cube looking up at the steel gates around him. We just knew that he was planning to climb the gate if he could. My Dad finally received a check for him and smiled as a thought of Ice Cube trying to escape flashed through his mind. Animals definitely have their own personality don't they. Bulls can be the most ornery thing imaginable or the gentlest cow in the yard. Have a great buddy burger for me today.

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