Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Zephyr is a Hero!

Tuesday was our first day starting our new rotational grazing program.  We've been taking the horses out of the new Home Pasture and putting them in temporary electric paddocks during the day to lessen the impact of having all four animals grazing the Home Pasture.

We were supposed to be able to open the double gate at the bottom of the Home Pasture and have it connect to the double gate of the Lower Pasture, thus allowing the animals to pass through a chute between the fields.  But nobody has the 12' mesh gate we need, so the Home Pasture has been closed off with a cattle panel wired across half the gate.

However, we did not want to over-graze our new pasture, so once Herb set up an electric paddock in the Lower Pasture, we decided to move the animals the hard way without the gate/chute.  First we got them all up in the barnyard (see the brown building at the top of the hill in the photo above).  That part of our system works fine.  We put lead ropes on both horses and Siobhan.  Herb took the horses, and I took Siobhan, trusting that Sara would follow her calf.  (NO one is getting a halter on Sara!)

We opened the gates from the barnyard into the Home Pasture and headed down the hill.  The grass was wet and slippery from rain the night before, and the bottom half of the Home Pasture is very steep.  (You can see how steep the hill is in the photo above; to the right of the long white barn, it drops sharply down.)  Everything went fine until Sara, who had been hanging way back, suddenly decided to catch up--galloping and bucking her way down the hill like a calf!  That got everyone excited, and there were a few tricky moments on the slippery hill, but we made it safely down,  and Sara followed us into the Lower Pasture although she continued to lag far behind, "just like the old cow's tail."

The one thing we failed to plan for was Hero.  Angel and Brandy, who are quite leery of the electric wire, shied quickly past it into the new paddock.  That was all Hero needed. A game!  He charged at the horses, barking loudly.  They both shied in opposite directions, Herb lost his grip on Brandy's lead rope--and the chase was on!  Brandy galloped away trailing her lead with Hero hard on her heels, barking thunderously.  When Herb turned Angel loose, Hero decided this was double fun!

Meanwhile, we were trying to encourage Sara to come on down and join us in the electric paddock.  Good luck, with Hero running amok!  So Herb dropped the electric gate wires to go off and corral Hero while I made circles with Siobhan who was trying her hardest to get loose and go join her mama.  When Sara finally wandered down close to us, Herb had to leave Hero and the gate and go wave his arms at her to move her towards the opening.  Sara finally came through, Siobhan got a few more pats before being turned loose to join mama, and Herb turned on the solar charger.

At that point we looked around, amazed that the horses had not come running to take advantage of the wide open gate to escape into the pasture.  There they were in the back corner of the paddock (see above), grazing peacefully while little Zephyr stood guard in front of them, holding them where they were.  Neither one of us had given her a command--we wouldn't know how and we were way too busy with cows and wires and Hero!  But our faithful little Sheltie figured out what needed to be done and did it.

We were so proud of her, and when we finally called her away from her charges, her grinning face showed that she was pleased with herself, too!

We were pleased with ourselves, too!  It was quite a feeling of accomplishment, once all the excitement was over, to see the animals grazing happily on new grass.

After a few minutes, Siobhan ran over to join her horse friends.  It's surprising how much the cattle have bonded with the horses, and they're happier when they're one big happy herd.

We've got the whole length of the Lower Pasture to use for successive paddocks before we need to use the Back Pasture.  The one thing we can tell you for sure, next time we move the animals, Hero will stay in the house!


  1. What a day! I can totally imagine Zephyr being proud of herself. Just like when she brings back the ball. I can tell she's happy and wants everyone to praise her!

    Great pictures by the way. It's so cool to have them in size XXL, now :)

  2. So, Zephyr was the hero! And Hero was the villain?

  3. Wow, I thought for a second there that the horses were going to get away...Good for Zephyr!

  4. Luckily Hero doesn't seem fazed by being in the doghouse and Zephyr is thrilled to be the hero (ha! ha! Barbara) so everyone gets to be happy! Especially us since the horses didn't get out!


I LOVE comments so please take a minute and let me know you were here! Sorry I have to use Captcha, but I hope you'll comment anyway! Comments make my day! :)