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The Bull Stops Here: A new pasture mate

While sitting on my new deck enjoying a hot cup of coffee, the quiet stillness of the morning, and the gorgeous filmy haze that hung in the air. I decided to take a little stroll down the lane way to check out the cows and calves that were milling about in the back pasture.

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By time I got to the end of the lane way the fog was lifting and the beautiful morning was quickly turning into a beautiful day.

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It has been a while since I have spent any time with the cows and calves. Calving is done for the season, I was banned from going into the pasture a while back by the hubs after he had a run-in, or more accurately attempted run-down by an exceptionally snippy momma cow (culling time is coming, and she will have her day of reckoning). While I don’t want to be charged by psycho cow,  I have missed hanging out with the cows in the morning and watching the calves run around, so my morning visit was a little bit like catching up with old friends,  and even though hormone levels have probably dropped by now, I stayed on my side of the fence.

 

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Awww, they are getting big so fast!

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This overturned stump makes a good neck scratcher.

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About a half a dozen camera snaps in I realized I was standing about 3 feet away from our newest herd member. Mr. Bull.

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Trust me, it is somewhat startling to come face to face with a black Angus bull first thing in the morning. Especially when you are not used to seeing a bull in your pasture.

Our rental bull was dropped off the other night. Yup, you read that right we lease a bull for a short period of time. It is similar to leasing a car,  we keep and manage the bull until the end of the lease, just like he was one of our own. But the beauty of it is at the end of the lease period he packs up and heads back home.

Usually right after I  mention rent-a-bull to anyone the first question I get is “why?”.

There are a few reasons renting is better than buying. Leasing offers more flexibility genetically speaking, because every year a different bull is chosen we have a chance to update genetics and desired traits faster than the up-front cost of ownership would typically allow.  Also, if anything happens to our rental bull,  or if he doesn’t seem to be a good fit on our farm, he’ll be replaced at no extra cost. We also schedule our conjugal pasture visit to last only a few heat cycles, so calving season has an approximate start and stop date, and once his visit is done, he is out of here. No need to house him away from his girls (that is when bulls get all testosterone-y, and scary to be around).

Rent-a-bull doesn’t work for all farms and there are a lot of factors to be mindful of, especially the health of both herds involved in the agreement.

MorningCows-4-minThis morning the bull was not interested in what I was doing. He was very mellow, which makes me happy. It is always nice when the new kid on the block isn’t a jerk. But either way, I’ll continue to stay on my side of the fence.

 

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Jennifer Morrisey

Hi! I’m Jennifer – a work at home, farmer's wife, mom to 3, living life in Upstate New York! I love sharing tasty recipes, easy do it yourself projects, and little stories of life on a farm in the Finger Lakes.

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