Peppermint! #@**@# !!!

I have just had another of those serious chats with her. You know … the chat about some of her herd-sisters disappearing over the past few seasons (probably last seen climbing onto a big truck).
She stood and chewed her cud and burped appropriately as I finished my tirade. She blinked her beautiful big eyes and gazed a gaze. Her gorgeously innocent face said, “ I do love you mummy, even though you seem to be having a bad hair day.” Urggh!!

I had brought the cows in for their B12 and Selenium injections. I used to give them their injections on the milking platform after they had been milked and before they walked off. I would climb up a stepladder and deliver the doses into the soft tissue by their tails. They didn’t like it, it was awkward for me and it made them a bit wary of coming into the shed the next day. But this was the way I had to do it because the cattle crush arrangement in the yard was hopelessly ineffective and, frankly, quite dangerous. I had struggled with it for a couple of seasons and, when a lady vet and I had to completely dismantle the stupid thing from around a heifer who had managed to squeeze partly through and had become totally stuck, I decided it had to go.

Hence, my new fancy one with self-closing bars around the front end, a rump bar that lowers down and locks into place, and (most importantly) a wonderful swinging chin support that comes up and prevents any head movement – great for replacing lost NAIT tags. There are little side doors for easy access to any part of the animal and quick-release leavers for stress-free exits. I love it. It means I can administer any ‘care and attention’ procedure safely and by myself.

So, the cows were happily lining up, they were coming into the race nicely, they were filing happily into the crush one by one, they were happily accepting the head restrictions and they were not-so-happily getting their injections into their neck before they departed into the yard.

And then came Peppermint! She sauntered in, as usual, she was happily braced front and back, the head support was swung into place, I turned my back to get her injections ready … and then there was a commotion. I don’t know how she did it but, within a split second of me turning around again, she had gone down on her knees and her head was under the head support. She was no longer happy. I was aghast. I couldn’t open the front bit to let her out because the head support comes across it and I couldn’t swing the head support down and out of the way because her head was underneath it. My only option was to open up the side doors and let her wriggle her frame out that way. But, with her big fat backside sticking up in the air at the other end, I took the opportunity first to stick both injections in there instead. She definitely wasn’t happy about this but it did facilitate a reasonably quick exit.

As each cow came in after that I took a careful note of how they behaved and moved, and what strategies they might try to escape being held. I checked the crush and all its moving parts to see how anything could possibly slip or move or shift somehow to enable a beast to do what Peppermint had just done. It was beyond me. No way should a cow be able to do what she did. But then again … I am dealing with Peppermint!