Tuesday started off as any normal day. Dave and David went off to school and Ethan and I were left to play and clean the house, aka...nap all day, watch tv, and eat bon-bons, even though Ethan doesn't nap more than 15 minutes at a time, we have no tv, and I've never even seen a bon-bon, but I'm getting off topic. While feeding Ethan, I heard some mooing. Not out of the ordinary as the calves are becoming quite independent and some of our mothers are having trouble with the "empty-nest syndrome." However, the mooing became excessive, louder, and...closer?? Ethan and I went to our upstairs back window and looked outside into the pasture. What I saw immediately made me worry and comment, "Oh no!" You see, when you look out into a pasture and all of the animals are in a line along the fence, looking in a particular direction (that's outside of the fence) and mooing, you know something's not quite right.
In this case, all of the cattle were looking right back at me. I began scouring the yard looking for runaways and couldn't find anything. Looking towards the barn, I saw a gate opened partway. This gate opens to the manger, where we feed the animals. Generally, that wouldn't be too much of a problem, except we have three calves that love to use the manger as their own personal bed and feeding area. They climb through the feeding panels and help themselves to the food without having to push and shove against the bigger animals. Our darling Daffodil, which we bottlefed, started it and the other calves started joining in as they saw how convenient this was for mealtimes. Blackberry used to do this as well, but became a little too round to fit between the panels.
There are three that fit easily into the manger, so three possible escapees. I unlocked and opened the window to stick my head out (it doesn't have a screen) and continued to look all around, then I heard something right below me. Standing at the back door were two terrified calves. I immediately called the school. All I had to say was, "Tell Dave we have cows out" and there's no other explaining or questioning, everyone knows the drill. I know in the matter of 2 minutes max. he will be pulling up the driveway. I begin getting geared up to go outside and help to gather calves not realizing that I only saw two calves...there should be three out based on the number usually found in the manger. Hearing Dave pull up the driveway, the two calves took off towards the pasture, but then to my left I see Daffodil meandering up the driveway back towards the barn. She was going down the driveway when Dave was coming up and she decided to turn around. And when I say "meandering", it appeared as though she were out for a Sunday stroll. Dave had to slow down to wait for her to walk up the driveway.
All-in-all it went rather quickly. We came up with a plan, changed it when it didn't work, executed another plan, changed that when Daffodil, who usually follows us all over, decided she liked staying out in the open too much to go back in (which made the other two calves skittish), then tweaked that plan and executed it. So with a bucket full of sweet calf feed I managed to persuade them back into the manger where the two littlest calves went running back in to their mothers, while Daffodil stayed in the manger, foraging on any leftovers, and Dave went back to work. At least he always has an interesting story to tell his students when he returns.