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Across the fence: Cattle resolutions

Marci Whitehurst for Progressive Cattle Published on 24 December 2020

When we rang in the new year last year, no one could have imagined how the year 2020 would go. This year, it seems people are either excited to ring in a new year and kiss 2020 goodbye or they are tentative to ring in the new year.

What I hope I am growing in after the year 2020 is the ability to see from someone else’s point of view. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with others – it is obvious there are a lot of people with very different viewpoints. However, I can respect them as people.

Point of view is something that is often talked about in writing, especially with books. We need to know whose perspective we are reading. Depending on who is telling the story, the view is different. We all know the story of “The Three Little Pigs,” told by the pigs. When John Scieszka wrote the same story from the wolf’s point of view, it became a very different tale.

So in light of stepping outside of my own shoes – or boots – to see life from a different perspective, I am thinking about life from a cow’s point of view.

What does a cow want?

What does a cow need?

What would be on a cow’s New Year resolution list?

And how serious should I be or not be in looking at life from their perspective? I mean, do I include the ludicrous, like maybe they want perfect udders – or do I include the actual, real things cows need, like food?

If our cows could talk, they’d probably say something like:

  1. I have bad days, too. 
    I feel quite crabby today. Maybe it’s the weather. Is your knee aching? I bet a storm is blowing in.

  2. Friends are awesome. My herd is very special.
    I like my friends so much. I will follow them, even if it isn’t where we are supposed to go.

  3. Curiosity never killed anyone – well, except for No. 342 …
    There’s a new tractor across the fence, and my friends and I are all going to stare at it. It is something new, and I am very curious about new things.

  4. I like adventure. If the gate is open, I will walk through it. 
    Why? See No. 5.

  5. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. 
    Really, the grass looks so green over there. I am going to stick my nose through the fence and see if I can grab some of that precious green.

  6. Good food. I like good food.
    Most of the time, the grass is greenest on the other side of the fence when the grass inside the fence is running low. However, I see that alfalfa over there, and yum!

  7. I am very smart. 
    Some people say we are big and dumb, but it isn’t true. I recognize your vehicle and your face. I remember the pastures I’ve been to, and I’ll figure out the new ones pretty easily.

  8. Yikes! I get scared.
    My cortisol levels go through the roof when I sense danger.

  9. Peace is preferable.
    I love it when you move toward me without yelling and hollering.

  10. Playing is fun.
    Running and jumping is a lot of fun, especially on a nice, sunny day.

  11. That gas was not me.
    Quit blaming me.

  12. Clean is best.
    Clean pastures are my favorite, especially when my baby comes. I don’t mind moving around a bit to change pastures.

  13. Yes, I know exactly where my baby is.
    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha on you!

  14. Mistakes?
    Yeah, I’ve made a few.

  15. I’m so good for the land.
    I manage forage and fertilize it along the way. Humans don’t do that. Well, except for you – I see you, cowboy.

Looking through this list of what the cattle want helps us understand how to best take care of the cows. Those of us who have been doing this a while are familiar with cattle habits, but it is often helpful to stop and think about what they need and what they might be saying to us.

Ironically, if we were to make a list of what ranchers say to the cow, it is nearly identical to the list above. Plus, maybe a few extra:

  • Cow. I closed the gate. Stop pacing.

  • Don’t get nervous when I get near your baby. I am just admiring what a good job you did.

  • I know you held all that in until it was time for preg checking. You probably haven’t gone in two days.

Some days, I have wished I could speak cow or that they could speak human. Overall, I think we want the same things – we just see them from a different perspective. Maybe that is true of people as well.

Whatever 2020 looked like for you, may this year be full of good perspectives in addition to good things.  end mark

Marci Whitehurst is a freelance writer, ranch wife and the mother of three children. You can follow her on her blog (Cowboy Wife).

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