Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Zeus....Marchigiana Bull...trip to the Vet..ummm he really didnt like it

This is Zeus...2200 pounds of pure muscle...as you can see in the cattle chute (that really wouldnt hold him if he put up a big enough fight) he is ONE BIG BULL! he is a Marchigiana Bull...when he was born Norm carried him tot he barn with his momma at his elbow, I think he had gotten chilled out or something or another. Hard to believe that now looking at him that a little calf would one day become THIS big isnt it? To show just how big he is I posted some pictures here a little later in this post...
Well today was the big day for the 3 bulls we have...we had 5 last year and sold 2 because of the annual "Spring" trip to the Vet. One we sold because he was throwing too many white calves (the feeder lots want black steers) and the other...well lets just say "Frank" (named after Frank Sinatra for the way he *sang* to me un-relentlessly* when he saw me) had too few weak swimmers. Yep...time to semen test the boys! Sir Loin and T-Bone went first thing this morning and I took Norms mom to her doctor appointment so he saved my favorite bull - Zeus for last so I could go. I love to go cause I LOVE to see him in the chute! HE IS HUGE! You just dont realize how big he is until you see him in there, you know how big a cow is and you see them in there and then you see him and the chute looks like its a miniature sized one!
First stop was Zeus' favorite place! I needed some Sweet Tea and something in my belly since it was after noon and it was the closest thing and the easiest to park a big long cattle trailer...I think tho, Zeus knew where we were, and while Norm was in getting our food, he was shaking his head and rocking the trailer....this was the first sign of how it was to go!
Yep! Notice the Angus burger sign! HA! Okay I had to take a picture!
Zeus didnt find my humor funny as we were waiting for Doctor Mike and I sipped my Sweet Tea from my MC DONALD'S cup...look at those eyes staring me down...maybe he was just thirsty? He is handsome tho' isnt he? Okay so when Norm swung the trailer door opened Zeus was shaking his head up and down...hmmm...sign of aggravation..not so good ya know!..I saw that and wondered about it, I've never seen him do that nor any of our bulls, so I was kinda thinking it might not be a good thing. I was locked in the little stall I go in tho when we work the cattle with my camera, but with a 2200 pound animal you just dont feel safe. I have my wall already planned out that I'll climb if needed..yes there is rafters I'll hang from if I need too!!!! I can be a monkey for as long as it takes! I've seen Zeus jump a 6 foot high guard rail fence before so I know what he can do. I never knew how agile they were! He sniffed a bit unsure of coming off that trailer, but he did and walked right into the chute. Norm said it took several minutes to get the other two off the trailer. They had some poorly horses in there before them and the bulls just didnt like the smell of it all. Maybe sickness, medicines, blood? Who knows. Blood for cattle to smell is a BAD thing....it will put them immediately into fight or flight mode....
So Zeus walks on into the chute like a good boy tho and they put the butt bar in and a halter on with no trouble so looks like all is gonna be okie dokie from here! Never thrashed his head, just laid down! I do believe that he remembers this part of the visit! NOT so pleasant shall I say!!! So what happens when a bull is semen tested is this device that looks like a torpedo about the size of your forearm is inserted into him (I'm not naming the body part so as not to get perverts searching up stuff and bringing up my site!). its connected to a device that sends an electrical current into the "torpedo" (I forgot the name of it actually) that makes his muscles go ridged. The strength of the electricity is slowly increased until he releases enough specimen for the doc to test. Ours usually stand good for this procedure...I'm curious if any of you with cattle that have this done have the opposite reaction and have a fight with your animals?
So this is the device that is inserted that carries the electrical current into the bull. Nope it doesnt hurt them AT ALL. It just makes all the muscles in their body contract.
So to show you JUST how big Zeus is... how about a couple pictures of him beside Norm! Norm wanted to take some pictures of me with Zeus, but I was wearing Capri's with my boots, and a ball cap, no make up and looked horrendous...so..nope maybe next time I'll dress up for the occasion!
Notice that Zeus' head takes up half the length of the chute as it is!
Here Norm is checking out his ears....this picture gives you a much better appreciation for his size!
Well here he is right before the trouble "almost" happened! Doctor Mike lets him out of the chute and Zeus casually walks out into this little bitty lot and Mike goes to turn him around and bring him back through to Norm to get onto the trailer, when as Mike comes up to his side, Zeus in the small lot is crowded (uhhhhh.....)and Zeus turns puts his head down at Mike...but before he could charge him Mike has hopped over the 9 foot (+ or so) guard rail fence leaving Zeus looking confused - as if thinking "hey wait! Where did that guy go that I was gonna turn to mush!". Let me say this, Zeus has NEVER, repeat NEVER EVER EVER done anything like that ever before. Not once. Not there and he's been there done that before same situation. But something was different this time and something bothered him....all I heard from my vantage point was shuffling....Norm yell Are you Ok Mike...and saw Zeus saunter back in the barn and walk through the walk way and Norm get him onto the trailer....Doc Mike acted like it was no big deal, has told Norm in his younger days he LOVED those crazy cows that would put you over a fence just for the fun of it. Well I guess all that jumping over that fence paid off cause he did it in lightening speed today!I was concerned the whole way home about what Zeus would do when we got home...I told Norm if he did anything to him, he was just mud or grass cause I wasnt able to help him out besides calling 9-1-1! He said once he got him home and he saw where he was Zeus wouldnt care about anything anyway and would be fine, that he really wasnt agitated, it was just conditions that contributed to it that added up. He said if Zeus was going to be a problem the trailer would be rocking...and even so once he saw the girls he mind would immediately go into love mode and forget he was angry. I did however ask TONS of questions about how to tell if a bull was mad, angry, bluffing, gonna kill ya, etc. I'll do a post on that another day, and those things are good to know and I should have asked it before I guess! And Norm was right, as usual, he does know his cows, each one of them and how each one of his cows will act. Norm walked Zeus the length of the field into the pasture with the ladies and Zeus never once cared or looked back in any way other than to say "am I going the right way Norm?, is this the way to my girls?" "Which way are they at? Which way are they at?"
And finally...surrounded by all his "ladies" he is one happy fella at last!
We are doing pasture rotation this year, and have split the cows up as well into 4 bunches. The 1st time heifers are always separate with a small young bull for their first time. The heifers that have been bred for the first time to calve go behind the house into the lake pasture for us to keep an eye on for trouble if it occurs since it is usually the first time that a cow has problems. After the first year of two of calving we move them to one of two pastures...we used to have the older cows all together with 2 bulls on them, but not this year. We will switch out bulls off and on and trade them between the cows. After awhile the bull sometimes becomes complacent and doesnt breed as eagerly and we want to make sure that doesnt happen. So after testing all three bulls - the census is...all three get to stick around another year! Even Zeus with his bad attitude today. I'm concerned about him now, he's NEVER shown anything like that before, but those with bulls KNOW NEVER trust a bull, even one as laid back as Zeus is. lots of factors were involved...a Vet with so many smells on him, medicines, probably had surgeries that day and possible blood on his hands that didnt get washed off (THAT will put fear in a cow and even set them fight or flight faster than ANYTHING), They had some sick horses in their earlier, and I dont know what they did to them, possible bood involved, the other bulls didnt want to get off the trailer either and they had a hard time coaxing them off - Zeus didnt like the smell of it all from the get-go and was shaking his head before the trailer door was opened, a sign of agitation something I've not seen him do AT ALL, he didnt know Doc like he knows us, small confined area, a ride in traffic and stop at the burger joint (*gasp!!!*) and of course he had a torpedo put where the sun dont shine!!!!! - Its all never bothered him before, but we dont know what an animals knows, smells, sees, or hears that scares him. And when we got him home, he sauntered off the trailer like the gentle bull he always is without a care in the world...but I'll assure you, extra eyes will be on him now and extra care will be taken when we are around him and myself or the kids WONT be anywhere near him when he is in a small lot, not that we have been before, but in the future we definitely wont be now!
Well I have to feed the barn critters...I probably should proof read this post I usually end up repeating myself when I dont so forgive me if I did or if I rambled on!
It was an interesting day to say the least! I hope this was a once in a lifetime occasion for Zeus to show his butt like that to anyone, and luckily it ended good. I know I'll be keeping MY distance from now on! JUST IN CASE!


  1. Wow that is one big bull! He looks like he towers over all his ladies in the pasture. My neighbors talk about their cows a lot around here, they need to see this :)

  2. Hey girl oh he is one magnificent boy aint he. Loved this post. Huge hugs. Glad in the end everything was okay and nobody got hurt. We don't have a bull here anymore. Micah was sent to the meatworks because he was jumping the fences. Not enough to do! Zeus is massive! Wow!
    I haven't blogged in a while just too snowed under. Will soon

    Love to you
    PS the Girls say HI!!!

  3. Holy cow, that is one big bull! Glad everything went pretty good.

  4. Glad to see all the bulls out with their ladies.I miss them not around here to check on.

  5. That is one huge bull! I think that was a rather amazing day. Great post! I would be afraid to be around such large animals. True that you never know what they might do and have to be on your guard all the time. Be careful!

  6. Wow Zesus is a big boy!! Much different than our dairy cows when I was growing up! Fun post! We're thinking about getting a couple of cows to practice cutting on with Slick...what kind do we need to get?

  7. He is HUGE! That last photo with Norm following him out to the pasture really shows how small Norm looks in comparison to that big bull. He's a handsome boy. Will his babies be big like him, too? Poor Mama Cows having to birth them, if so.


  8. Hey Sharon! Missed ya...yes he does tower over all the cattle, he is the biggest of all.
    Liz, been busy here too...I wondered how long before Micah would make it to the dinner table! LOL Eventually they just get too restless. I think Oliver would have been the same way too, but then I hear stories of people who keep them until they die as pets?? Norm told me about one lady who had hers grazing in the yard, it would get on the porch and sleep...go figure! Tell the girls I said hi back! Lisa, We are thankful too that all went well! Calli I'm scared to be around the big guys - and I dont get in with them at all....LuLu...I'd get some young angus calves....thats what most people use, any cow would work, but dont use dairy, too dainty and too small they would get hurt so easy and their temperament are so gentle just not right to use for cutting. Angus, would be just perfect for you! Yep Lisa he has nice big calves! we can only put him on older cows to have his babies. He would kill a young cow to have his babies. The calves would be too big. Occasionally he throws calves that are too big for even the older cows. That happens once or twice a year. He is a Marchigiana Bull, an Italian breed, good hardy bull, fast to mature, larger birth weight. Gentle temperament. So thats why he goes on older cows that can have the larger calves. We had a smaller younger marchigiana bull but he was white (which is the common trait of the marchigiana) but since he was white and thats the dominate gene he was throwing white babies or a chocolate or champagne color (which I LOVE) but the feeder lots hate. So we sold him, he was a very gentle bull, he and zeus were brothers and Zeus was his protector when we put all the bulls together, very funny how the white one would let Zeus do all the fighting for him...but the bulls all know eachother and remember each other and they dont really try to cross zeus much


Thanks for visiting the farm! We love comments and hope to hear from you! ~ Rachel, Norm, Kiddos, and all our furry friends!