The Antics of Herman Beefsteak

Rosie’s calf, otherwise known as Herman Beefsteak, is growing bigger and meatier all the time. He’s also getting more and more cheeky and unruly as time passes. Fortunately, his respect for electric fences is increasing as he grows in size and becomes more likely to hit the live wires as he dashes underneath. Still, at times we look outside and find that he has managed to become separated into a different paddock from his mother, who bellows at him in annoyance.

Cheeky beast

A couple of evenings ago, Kevin and I wandered down to the cow paddock to milk Coco. Kevin had separated Coco from her calf in the morning, and we were eagerly anticipating all the creamy milk that would be saved up for us. When we reached Coco’s paddock, there was Herman Beefsteak, licking Auntie Coco’s neck and looking very pleased with himself. We were soon to find out why. Once Kevin started trying to milk Coco, he found that her udder was almost completely empty. Little more than a few miserable squirts of milk could be coaxed into the bucket. That cheeky little devil Herman Beefsteak had managed to feed off Coco and had drunk all the milk.

Soooo cheeky!!!

Poor Rosie was very disgruntled and eager to be reunited with Herman. Her udder was full of milk, but Herman Beefsteak showed no interest in feeding off his mother. His belly was full. Henrietta Hamburger, on the other hand, was ravenously hungry after having been separated from Coco for the day, but she had to be satisfied with the little bit of milk left in Coco’s udder by Herman. Coco was getting fed up with people and calf messing with her empty udder. Kevin then suggested that we try to milk Rosie. Problem: Rosie has not yet been trained to go into the bale, and was very distracted by all the goings on with Coco and the calves. We tried to coax her into the bale. Alas, she seemed to suspect that we were luring her into some kind of vile trap and would have none of it. As we trudged back to the house with our almost-empty milk bucket, Kevin declared that as far as he was concerned the cows, calves and milk could all go to the devil. None of it was worth the bother. Indeed, it had been a very frustrating evening in the cow paddock (for all but Herman Beefsteak).

The next time we separated Coco for milking, Kevin took extra care to shore up the electric fence around the gate. We needed to be doubly sure that Herman would stay in his own paddock. Kevin’s efforts were rewarded with an abundant haul of milk from Coco. Things were back to normal, and we walked back to the house feeling blessed to have such lovely cows and delicious milk. . . not to mention two healthy calves fattening for the freezer.

5 Responses to “The Antics of Herman Beefsteak”

  1. fansma says:

    Wonderful story. Thanks for the laugh. By the way, this is all good practice for kid management (humans, not goats!).

  2. rich says:

    If I had a dollar for every time I had to round up animals escaped from an electric fence…I’d have a bunch of papery fiat money. If I had a gram of gold for each, however….a rich man indeed.

    Calves are a pain on that front…we’ve had pretty good success with 3 hot wires, or with electric netting in the early months. Sometimes baiting the wire with peanut butter can teach them some respect, too.

  3. Cindy says:

    I’m sure everyone knows this and hope it isn’t too much trouble to ask what happens if Rosie’s udder is full and not emptied either by the calf or milked into a bucket? Does it just drain out on its own? I feel so stupid for asking but I’m so curious.

    Herman Beefsteak is sooooo cheeky but will soon enough be sooooo yummy. I could see myself sharpening my knife while my husband yanks a large piece of meat out of the freezer.

  4. Rebecca says:

    Hi All, and thanks for the comments.

    Yes, the calves are a pain the way they can get under the electric tape. Fortunately, our permanent fences have kept them in, so they can’t get too far away from where they are supposed to be, and are kept well out of the orchard and garden areas. The Coco and Herman incident is the first time that Herman has managed to end up in an area where he really became a nuisance to us. Up until now, we’ve just rolled our eyes and chased him back to Rosie without thinking too much of it.

    @Cindy: I don’t think that’s a stupid question at all. Kevin and I are new to all this milking business ourselves, and it’s been a big learning experience. If Rosie’s udder were not emptied, it would become more and more engorged and painful, and she could well end up with mastitis. Also, milk production is a supply and demand thing, so it’s important for a cow to be milked out regularly if her production is to stay at a good level. She would dry out eventually if the milk were not taken out. Rosie looked pretty full that evening, so ideally, we or Herman should have taken some milk out of her udder immediately. We were not happy that this didn’t work out! Fortunately, when we went out to the cow paddock the next day, Rosie’s udder looked normal again. Herman Beefsteak had obviously had a feed and things were back to normal again.


  5. Michelle says:

    Great pics, thanks for the chuckle.