Current Progressive Cattle digital edition

Baxter Black

Baxter Black is a cowboy poet, author, vaquero philosophizer, left-handed roper and former large animal veterinarian.


“Doc, I’ve got a heifer that just had a calf. She’s not accepting it very well. Can I bring her in for psycowlogical counseling?”

It all started with that call from the worried cowman. My veterinary specialty of cow psycowlogy has gained popularity since my article appeared. It was titled “Paranoia in Dairy Cows”

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“Say, anybody got a light? It sure is dark in here
And tighter’n the skin on Polish sausage.
For nine long months I’ve trusted Mom, and now she’s pulled the plug.
A pure and simple case of double-crossage.

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In my travels, I have been on lots of family farms where the whole family is involved in the work. During calving season, it is not uncommon for the “rancher” to allow his wife to take the 10 p.m. heifer check.

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This is one of those stories that sound so unbelievable you’ll know I didn’t make it up.

Mike studied the bloodlines. He checked performance records. He knew his herd like the top two layers of his tool box. He was a good young cattleman. When he decided on the course of action to improve his herd’s genetics, he called the breed association rep.

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There’s an old saying: “A cowboy is born, not made.” However, I’d like to propose that if you’re hirin’ a cowboy to help you take care of your stock, you might look twice.

You can’t necessarily assume that because he’s got a black hat and is broke, he’s a cowboy.

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