Grass time is here.
Some of those ole cows think it’s been this calendar date for the past three weeks. Winter stomping grounds are out of feed, other than what’s hauled in, but it sure has been luscious right through the fence. Once the old hay is licked up, or just scavenged for the best bits, mama and the kids head right to the barrier for the green on the other side.
Consequently, many fences are leaning drastically toward the emerald lawn. There have been more than a few cattle in the wrong pasture and along roadways in recent days. Some cattle have officially been turned out for several weeks, but traditional “going to Flint Hills pastures” day, at least in the northern portion, is May 1.
An ole cowboy’s philosophy was “Open the gate and turn ‘em out. The grass is ready. Cattle know how to take care of themselves.” Yep, they generally did and still do. Yet, modern technology seems to dictate that critters these days require some health management practices before going onto the hills.
When looking for grass gain, bulls must be turned into steers, and heifers need something given so they won’t act like girls. Horns must be clipped, ranch brand applied, de-wormers given, insecticide applied, and always vaccinations for something or other.
Cows and calves take more work. First off, the right mama and baby must be together. With all of the excitement, sometimes a cow will take any calf, and certainly every calf will love any cow’s dinner plate. Ear tags are supposed to match, but mistakes often occur when trying to put together a couple hundred pairs.
Everything seems to be treated like a pincushion: both cows and calves need several shots each, according to those who are supposed to know about such things. Pesticides must be administered, too. Male calves are worked, and sometimes growth stimulants given, although that’s become a controversial tool.
Our forefathers mounted their trusty steeds and drove cattle to grass, and we do, too, when the gate is within a couple of miles. Always bothers our conscience, but trucks and trailers, and even hired semi trucks, are used for long hauls. Can’t figure out who’s more excited, us or the cattle, when they’re finally on summer grass, and the gate’s closed.
Promise of new grass each spring was made in Deuteronomy 11:15: “He will give you lush pastureland for your livestock, and you yourself will have all you want to eat.” It was verified in Chronicles 4:40: “They found lush pastures there, and the land was quiet and peaceful.”
Likewise is the covenant for cowmen as Jesus guaranteed in John 10:9: “I am the gate. Anyone who enters through Me will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”