Heifers have field day with ‘tame grass’

By Ted Blankenship | August 1, 2022

I am sitting in my office staring out the window at the field north of our house for inspiration. But all I see is a bunch of big, round bales of hay and Bel Aire’s water tower.
Neither of these things is very funny. The tower is important, though, because it’s full of water and has large black lettering that spells BEL AIRE — in case I forget where I live.
And the hay is kind of attractive. It reminds me of the days on our 20 acres north of Rose Hill. The house took up a couple of acres and Eight Mile Creek ran through another acre or so (when it was running). That left some 16 acres of what the county assessor called “tame grass,” more than enough for a few cows to graze, I thought.
Not being a seasoned rancher—or any other kind—I decided tame grass would support at least six heifers. If you’re a city slicker or a really-small-town slicker like me, you’re wondering what a heifer is. I always thought it was just another cow. It turns out that a heifer is a large female bovine that hasn’t yet had a calf, which is a really small bovine.
Now if you’re still a little shaky on what a bovine is, go talk to your county agricultural agent. I could explain it to you but it gets into buffalos and bison and I didn’t have any of those grazing our tame grass.
What we did have were six black heifers with white faces. We bought them from a rancher who probably is still smiling, because if I hadn’t come along, he might never have rid himself of that mismatched bunch of calfless bovines.
But back to the hay.
It didn’t take long for those heifers to devour the tame grass. So I had to go buy some big round bales like those I see out my window.
As soon as the hay was unloaded the heifers went wild. They stomped on the hay, did some unspeakable things on it and tossed it over their heads. They ate some and stared at me like I should go get more.
The largest of the herd, a Holstein we eventually named Hazel, spent her time looking for holes in the fence. She apparently thought the tame grass on the other side of the fence was a lot better than what was available in the pasture.
At least there weren’t any buffalos or bison to feed.