The Last Steer

July 16, 2018

We've have had a spotty history with raising beef.


It was 2010 when we adopted Marlow, our very first steer. He was like a giant great dane, and just as friendly. We castrated him ourselves, so we didn't have a full bull on the property. He would nap with his head in my lap and we bottle fed him until he grew out of that. A round of bloat, and a long recovery, he was still a big sweetie.




Then he got older. And he wasn't sweet anymore. I think Larry wanted to raise him until he was 2 and butcher him. Somewhere around 15 months he turned into an asshole. No one was safe on the pasture. I got really good at jumping over gates to get away from him, and our infant daughter never came out to the field with him. One day, I forgot my self-defence T-post, and we had a stand-off for 45 minutes on the back of the chicken truck. I was trapped. The day he charged me from behind and took my shirt almost off with his broken horn, was when I decided it was time for beef.


In the meantime, we had already adopted Bridget - a heifer calf! YAY!  She contracted a rare and fatal disease, and she died on our farm.


We took a break, because Bridget broke my heart! And Marlow was a jerk!  But we came around a few years later - good rain, brewers grains - we decided our pasture needed a cow. We adopted Ferdinand. He died at 5 months of tetanus (stupid me, I figured tetanus was part of a 7-way vaccine - now ALL animals on our property get a tetanus jab as soon as they step on our pasture)


OK, one more go - we adopted Bluto, Otter and D-Day. Three Jersey steers right from a dairy out east. Bluto randomly died shortly thereafter and we sent him to CSU for a necropsy, because we didn't know what we were dealing with. It took them weeks to discover a lymph node infection that we just couldn't see, and he didn't let on about. Otter got sick drinking pond water and eventually, though recovering, picked up the same fatal disease that killed Bridget. The universe was telling me to be done with cattle!




But no, we adopted Lando Cowrissian. And shortly after, we adopted Count Mooku. And then we got Bobee Fett. Mooku was bigger than both and was the first to go. He was a sweetie!  Lando also turned into a grumpy butt, however, his last straw was inadvertently stepping on lambs and breaking their legs. We meant to let him grow bigger, but I couldn't take the lambs getting hurt, so he went away. Bobee (get it, Bo-BEEF-ett?)  was a little dude when we got him, and it appears we may not have castrated him properly. He continues to try to breed our ewes, who look at me with great disdain. However, he has made that aggressive switch. He's rubbing his head on us (and anything he can). He spends a good 30 minutes every night trying to destroy my duck house with his head. I have found crumpled metal water troughs, muck tubs moved to interesting new locations, and there was the day he tried to fight the tractor.



His process date was already scheduled for August 21. Larry wanted to hold onto him to as close as winter as we could. NOPE. I was trying to shuttle some baby turkeys back to their run the other night - and he charged me, twice. I was able to outrun him (he wasn't trying very hard.) But now we must take a stick with us. Larry faced him down last night, and it wasn't pretty. OK, must have a collection of 2x4s and T-posts on hand, because I can't go near the steer. August 21 is WAY too far away right now. 5 weeks.


5 weeks of my daughter not being able to visit the sheep. 5 weeks of watching our backs. 5 weeks of snorting, and mooing. 5 weeks of him trying to mount poor Marcia. 5 weeks, and then it will all be over. We will ONLY have sheep on the farm.


I am looking forward to it! And with our policy of not keeping rams past 1 year - I am really looking forward to peace on the farm again!

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