Tag Archives: homesickness

Welcome Home Gentle Giant

Our bull’s injury is the biggest news this week from Medicine Spirit Ranch. Curly, our Charolais bull, recently developed an unwillingness to place weight on his right back leg. His ankle swelled and he hobbled around on just three legs. After loading him into the trailer and hauling him across town to our vet’s clinic, we learned why this was. Curly had developed an abscess from a cut on his hoof. Ouch! That must have really hurt, big guy.

Curly, our Charolais bull

Hauling Curly is always a memorable experience. Our small cattle trailer can hold up to ten calves but hauling them is less difficult than when hauling Curly by himself.  He is so large he weighs down the trailer such that the back end of the pickup and the trailer hitch reach almost to the ground. When Curly shifts his weight in the trailer, the whole pickup lurches. It makes for quite a ride. Our vet, who sees plenty of bulls in his work, even commented on what a large but gentle bull he is.

Curly spent a week at the vet’s receiving antibiotics. During this time he was limited to a stall, a large one but limiting for sure. I don’t recall him ever being confined before, and he didn’t like it. I know he was hurting, but somehow I think his apparent discontent resulted less from his injury and more from his unusual location and lack of his herd.

I may be over interpreting, but Curly did not look happy at the vet’s. This proud king-of-his-herd guy was dirty, seemed to have lost interest in what was going around him, and appeared to mope. These are not typical behaviors for our Charolais bull. Can bulls become depressed? He sure looked it.

After recently receiving the call from the clinic saying he was ready to come home. I attached the trailer to my pickup. I headed into town to load and haul Curly back to his ranch, his green pastures, and his waiting herd. The herd had even expanded in his absence by three new calves.

While Curly still moves around slowly, he now does so on all four hooves. We no longer have a three legged bull which I consider a very good thing. I don’t think Curly would be able to do his job on one hind leg.  Curly also appears happier now that he is back at his own ranch.

Our gentle giant- “Open wide for a range cube”



Buddy, “Nice to see you again Curly.”

Till The Cows Come Home

And the cattle did come home this morning, but not in a way I had ever before witnessed.

Let me set the stage. Our new ranch (Hidden Falls) is less than a mile from our main ranch (Medicine Spirit). Our herd of cattle has been on Hidden Falls just three times but based on today’s performance clearly the cattle know their way home.

Today I opened the gate at the new ranch and witnessed the cattle RUNNING, yes RUNNING through it. I had to speed by them in the pickup even to catch up with them and act like I was leading them. Fortunately I had opened the gates at Medicine Spirit leading to my preferred pastures.

The question in my mind is why the cattle were so anxious to return. They had water and salt at the new ranch. The grass was running out but they were getting enough to eat there. While I had a bag of ranch cubes in the bed of the pickup, they have never before run to hasten a feeding. In fact you rarely will see a mature cow run at all unless a dog is chasing her. I am unaware of any predators such as coyotes or feral hogs on the new place.

My theory is this: I think the cattle were homesick! Yes, maybe I am anthropomorphizing a bit, but what else explains their unusual behavior. The cattle drive proved so easy that the Border collies never even got out of the pickup. My ranch hand, Francisco, followed along but did not have to push the cattle. His job was limited to closing the gates.

When last seen, the cattle grazed contently at Medicine Spirit Ranch and, dare I say it, seemed over their homesickness. Life is good on the ranch.