Animal: My Discover Challenge response.
Ok so I haven’t had a go at the Discover Challenge for a few weeks so I figured I’d have a go this week due to the topic. Now I could have done an epic post about Tickles (or as my wife calls him ‘my muse’) but that little tiger already has an ego that is too big so I decided to write it about a few other animals that I used to spend a bit of time with.
Recently I wrote a story about trees on the farm well it’s because of that farm that this story comes about. A story about two similar animals that well be forever memorable for different reasons.
First was a feisty beast named ED473, well that was his ID tag number we actually nicknamed him Psycho for reasons that will become quiet obvious.
Psycho was a Red Angus bull, he weighed in at a rather large 700 kilograms. For a number of years Psycho was used as a breeding bull, he spent most of his days in a paddock with four other bulls and at least one, usually more, paddocks between them and the ‘girls’.
Anyone who has ever spent any time around cattle knows that one should never turn their back on them. There is countless people injured and killed every year around the world when they turn their back on cattle, especially penned cattle. Our dear Psycho was the kind you didn’t turn you back on if you were in the same township. He was the kind of bull you herded with a tractor not on a motorbike and when it came to cattle races, stockyard and crushes we had to design them around Psycho, design them so that we could pen the crazy beast safely with minimal human interaction. He just hated following orders and being penned.
When it came transporting Pyscho between farms it was never pretty. Because any of the three farms he visited were only about ten kilometres apart we usually penned him, walked him through the crush and into a small trailer on the back of the ute. He hated it but for whatever reason he never caused us any issues until he was let out into the race or yards at the other end where he’d once again earn his nickname.
The day we moved Psycho to the farm I wrote about in the above link about trees was the day that things changed for dear old Psycho. He just didn’t take to his new surrounds. He attacked fences, fences posts, gates, troughs, sheds and everything else that dared get near him. The crazy beast even busted his way into the old unoccupied farm house which was getting pulled down but he decided he’d help with the renovations.
The writing for Psycho was already written on the wall before he was moved but after a week of damage that cost a fortune to fix the writing was not just written it was etched. However what he did to the farm was nothing compared to what he did to the truck we moved him in.
The truck was a twelve tonne Isuzu, pretty standard for small scale animal transport. It had three adjustable compartments in the back cage and allowed us to carry 20-30 average size cows at a time. Handy for market runs but not the kind that would be used for transporting a whole farm. Despite being able to pen Psycho inside the cage and not allow him room to move (moving cattle is not good for transporting that’s why it appears they are often cramped into trucks) he still managed to completely ruin the truck on his 250 kilometre journey. Not just denting a few panels and breaking a few supports, the entire cattle cage had to be rebuilt every internal wall, every internal panel, every bit of reinforcing had to be replaced. In his last week with us dear old Psycho cost nearly as much in repairs as he was worth, if we had to pay labour costs (not do the repairs ourselves) the cost would have blown out a lot more.
On the opposite end of the scale on the same farm we also had Archie and his family of Highland cattle. For anyone that doesn’t know what Highland cattle look like they look like huge mops with horns. There was six of them on our farm, all related and bought for breeding, and because they look kid of cute for big hairy beasts.
Archie was around the 780 kilogram mark, wandered his paddock like a king and between him and Betty (we had original names) they had raised the other four Highlands we had on the farm. Archie and his kin were the sort of animals we didn’t have to look after, they tended to themselves for the most part and we gave them the run of several of the hilly paddocks along with the sheep.
Even though Archie was a huge beast close up he was generally a well mannered beast, he would even eat out my hand. Don’t get me wrong I stand by my previous comment about never turning your back on cattle and I would never turned my back on Archie or his family, but they were still cute, in their own way.
Archie wasn’t entirely innocent, he’d damaged gates before. He was big enough to just push them out of the way when he wanted out. He also had a tendency to get his horns stuck in the stock yard fences which made putting him through the crush, or moving him via truck impossible. Not that we’d have ever wanted to get rid of Archie even if his horns did fit in a truck but it was kind of funny to think that no matter what size the truck was Archie could never get inside it. When it did come to moving Archie and co to another farm we did what all good farmers do, we walked him down the main road, it was only two kilometres after all!
But compared to Psycho he was a gentle giant and as such treated that way. Being a direct descendant of the first Highland Cattle that were introduced into Australia back in the 1840’s Archie was also worth a bit more than Psycho, but his value to the farm was more than just monetary.
So there you go, two animal stories in one for the Discovery challenge, I should get double points 🙂