I had never fully appreciated this term until the advent of Chuck Roast. I also now totally get why steers usually don’t live beyond big-enough-to-justify-processing-cost. Oh yes, he was absolutely adorable and uneatable to about 2 weeks of age. Then he became mildly annoying. And now, here he is, not even a month old, and he’s straddling a very thin line between ain’t-I-cute and Freezer Camp.
Yesterday, I went through my usual routine of tying him in the barn with his milk bucket while I stuffed hay nets and soaked beet pulp for Sully, checked the water tank and took him his breakfast. I also took the opportunity to move Chuck’s tie-out closer to the electric where he can (hopefully) be getting acquainted with the effects of electricity. When I got back to the barn, there goes the Brat straight down the driveway and into the road, merrily dragging his trailing rope behind him. I gave chase, to no avail. He thought it was a game. I was cursing under my breath, while singing sweetly to him , “Come on, you little ****. Good boy!” I finally turned around and walked back to the barn. Oddly enough, reverse psychology does have some effect on stupid bull calves. He turned and followed me a few feet, then changed his mind, spun, and bolted into the middle of the road. I briefly considered letting him go. I hadn’t had breakfast yet. I was wearing uncomfortable rubber boots. Argh.
Fortunately, that bright yellow stripe in the middle of the road is apparently some sort of Kryptonite for stupid bull calves. He cavorted right up till his toes were almost touching it, then he slammed on the brakes, and stood staring at it in front of him as though entranced. He looked like Bambi when Bambi stumbled on the skunk in the flower patch.
I grabbed his rope and dragged him back to the barn and tied him out.
So this morning, I was ready for him. I took his milk into his stall and he remained locked in there while I did my usual stuff. Then came the haltering battle. I decided I could be bull-headed, too, and moreover, still out-weigh the little (ahem) by a few pounds. He was more than a little shocked when I deftly laid him on his side, sat on him, and put his halter on. No need for theatrics. I let him up, and he snorted, looked at me lovingly, and pressed himself carefully against my legs.
Great. Now he thinks I’m mama again.
Oh well, this should work for at least another week. Hopefully by the time he’s too big to sit on, he’ll be out to pasture for the remainder of his limited life…