August Monthly Moos {How Do You Call Your Cows?}

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Can you believe that our oldest heifer (female) calf is almost eight months old?  I feel like the Mommy that says, "How did my baby grow up so fast"?   Well, the dreaded day came when Eldon said, "It's time to separate the heifers from the herd".  The purpose of this is two-fold:  we need to wean them from nursing their Momma and also separate them from the herd before they come into a breeding cycle.  We do not want them bred this young, so they must be moved away from the bull and into their own pasture.
To get all the cows to the corral where we can separate the calves, we call them.  Literally we call them.  As in:  "SOOK, SOOK, SOOK"!!!  I get this job and it is so much fun.  Today I had my grand-daughters with me in the Ranger and we slowly drive by the herd calling, "SOOK"!  The cows come running.  See Old Red?  She's always in the lead! 
Not only do they come when I call, they also answer back! 
If I get too far ahead of them they really holler!  So.... what makes them come when they are called you ask?
That wonderful, luscious thing called grain!
So.... this was the plan:  The little girls and I would drive the Ranger and call the cows down to the corral where Eldon, our horse Promise, and Justus (our son-in-law) were waiting to calmly welcome the herd into the corral (where their grain was awaiting them)  and we would calmly close the gates behind them. 
Well, that mostly worked.  Except for one very big problem. 

Wise old cow #10 remembered what happened the last time all the calves were in the corral (the little bull calves became steers!).  So, she did some communication with all those (no longer little) calves and said, "You just stay right here with me and we'll go hide out in the woods".   And of course they listened to her. 
But Eldon and Promise (and Justus on foot) were able to go in the woods and bring them out, no problem.  Until they saw Andrea with the camera around her neck and her arms out, the little girls sitting in the Ranger, and me at the corral gate and ......
.... they turned tail and scattered into the woods!  Luckily we could all laugh because it really was quite funny.  They are pretty smart, those calves!

Well, I won't go into all the sweaty, exhausting details but you can picture it:  Justus running through the woods like a wild man,  Promise (with Eldon on her back) running through the woods like a wild horse, Andrea finally took the camera off her neck and became the wild woman running wherever the boys told her to, me manning the gate, and Jillian and Rosetta happy as can be watching it all!  After it was all over Jillian said "Mommy can run really fast"!  And Justus said, "I need my own horse"!  Eldon said, "I lost my hat somewhere".  I was just thankful my job was manning the gates!  And I think Andrea was too tired to talk!
The end result?  Success.  We were all so hot and exhausted we could hardly hold our heads up but we did it!  All heifers in their own new pasture now!
So.... how do you call your cows?  I grew up out West hearing my Dad call "Sook", out here in the South it is "Sook" with a strong drawl to it.  Some people whistle, some call"Calf", some holler "Bossy".  Whatever you choose to call them - they will come if there's grain in the picture! 
Whew...  I barely got this August Monthly Moos done before September.  Hope you are having a lovely Labor Day weekend!



  1. Dori, I am super positive this was hard work, but so enjoyable.. and the end result family pulling together.. and such a beautiful country life... Happy Labor Day... and the photos are wonderful.. and psst.. I just love COWS... thats the country girl in me...

  2. Dori, today we had our first class at COW U. learning how to take care of cattle for our small farm. I saw how you call the cows to move them from one pasture to the other. It was a beautiful site. I wondered if mine would come to me when I sing!
    Thank you for sharing what you are doing on your farm.
    Take care,

  3. Oh, what a fun and interesting post! It's hard work having a farm, that's for sure. Yes, I'd say Justus needs a horse. And maybe Andrea too.

  4. I love this post. What an awesome, exhausting, fun family time together. Doesn't get better than that, does it. I have a question. I know you moved from the SW. Did you all ride horses there? And did you have cattle? Or is it all something new you learned when you moved to Tennessee? You both seem to be doing so well at raising cattle and knowing what to do when. :)

    1. Hello Nancy! To answer your questions: we did have horses when we lived in Utah; both of our kids were raised riding and showing their horses, my husband has ridden for many years. (I rode all my life as a child but somewhere along the line I developed a fear of riding, so I haven't actually ridden for years.) We did not have cattle in Utah, other than the 4-H steers that our son raised and showed every year. However, I was raised in New Mexico by ranching parents and grandparents so it is a lifestyle that is very familiar to me. Eldon always dreamed of having a cattle operation, so after 27 years of working as a Mechanical Engineer he got to retire and do what he's always dreamed of! We do not know much; it is a learning process every day. We call on my folks for advice quite a bit and luckily we live in that technical world full of information where a person can learn anything they set their mind to! Thanks for reading! ~ Dori ~

  5. Funny! What a great family story. I hope Eldon recovers his cap.

  6. This is so funny - yep, we call our cows like that also. And boy, do they ever have a mind all of their own! Especially when they learn those gates/headshoots usually mean something "not so nice" for them. Shaun and I were very fortunate just a couple of weeks ago when we had two nearly get us both down - one jumped a gate, broke it, nearly broke my wrist, she charged Shaun and knocked him down - well, needless to say - we were very lucky. We love our cows, but they can be a bit challenging at times. I so enjoyed your post! Have fun living the dream.

  7. Great post, as always! What an adventure! I love your cows.

  8. I've enjoyed your Monthly Moos posts and have even shared them with my husband. We just moved to the Kansas Flint Hills where ranching is big. We can watch the cattle from our back windows and have seen them do much of what I've read in your blog. It's been fun learning from you!

  9. Your post is so fitting for me to read today. Although, I'm not sure I should honestly answer how I call our cows right now. One of our heifer calves has been getting out a lot this past week! After spending a hot, sweaty morning walking the fence I realized one part of the fence (where she was getting out) wasn't connected to the hot wire! NOW, I'm guessing she'll think twice :) Luckily, all our cattle were raised as baby's by the us and the kids. So they are tame as pets. "lady brown', the cow we milk, can see me walking down the drive towards the barn and is waiting at the door. Benjamin can walk past and she'll just stand there and eat.

  10. What a wonderful post and beautiful pictures of your farm animals.
    Thanks or sharing.

  11. I call the 'Mommas' but my three year old corrects me saying, "Grandma calls them Bossy's!" So each to their own I guess!

  12. Here in Missouri where I live, the farmers use there trucks, and just honk the horn over and over untill the cattle come up.

  13. Dori..loved it so LOL Beautiful family....;);)
    love to all

  14. Nice pictures! I grew up on a small farm on Ireland, and there Sook Sook Sook was the call for calves. I think it must be an Irish call - it could be Scottish too, but I don't know. Interesting to see that it made it all the way to Tennessee! Mind you the calves weren't easily fooled - it only worked if there was also a promise of food.