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Aren't bulls and cows the same? (Kinda long)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:31 am
by littleguns
Below are some excerpts from an online story on one of the Twin Cities major websites:
(Italics added)

Headline: Three bulls escape farm in Holdingford, attempt to attend church before being herded

Subhead: Owner of 3 bulls found wandering in Holdingford identified

Subhead: Jon Dobis says he might have seen this coming since his cows were rubbing up against a fence on his property

Sentences in the copy:

• The owner collected his cows. Cows declined to comment. 3/3 very cute cows but very mischievous.

• ”On August 2 at approximately 7:30 AM the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office responded to a hazard call near the Community Country Church in Holdingford. A passerby saw three cattle on the lawn of the church.…
(NOTE: "Cattle," of course, correctly covers bulls and cows.)

• He [owner] said he was sorry to anyone whose properties have been trespassed by his cows.

•With a little holy cow tour behind them, Spot, Brownie and Chocolate had unintentionally brought the town of Holdingford together.

• The humorous fact that the cows showed up to church on Sunday wasn't lost on the owner of the three cows.

Etc., etc.

•••••••••••••••••

I'm sure the writer thought she was being so clever with her funny comments about the gosh-durn silly things that happen to country folk :roll: . But how does a journalist ever face the world again after displaying such a lack of basic knowledge?

FWIW, our local newspaper many years ago had a writer who made the same mistake throughout a news story. Bull? Cow? Who cares, right? (Well, having grown up on a farm I can assure you the cattle care.) That same "journalist" around the same time wrote a story repeatedly using "shotgun" and "rifle" interchangeably :shock: . I've also seen hens and roosters all mixed up by them gol-danged city-bred wordsmiths. As I always told my newswriting classes, such errors may be amusing, but, shucks, they also dump a load of BS on the writer's credibility when it comes to topics that matter, especially in farm country where bulls and cows and rifles and shotguns are all fairly familiar to readers.

Final comment: A picture accompanying the story makes it pretty clear that the bulls weren't cows, if you get what I mean.

Re: Aren't bulls and cows the same? (Kinda long)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:10 am
by Red Dave
When we built our house here years ago, there was also a house being built next door. Both lots have a pasture behind them with a fence on the property line. Inside that pasture another neighbor runs a small cow/calf operation. Being a local and having grown up around cattle, I could see that they were mostly cows in the pasture, but there was one exception.

When the new neighbors moved in next door, they were city people who moved out to the country with their young daughters. They also had a grandfather living with them. One day, I was outside and noticed that the girls were climbing the pasture fence to see what was on the other side. The grandfather was out in their yard and I mentioned to him that it was not a good idea to go into the pasture because I had noticed a bull in with the cows a few days before, I didn't mention the fact that it is not considered polite in these parts to go around climbing other peoples fences.

I said to him"you know, there is sometimes a bull in there, don't you?"
His reply was "that's like a heifer, isn't it?" Apparently grandpa was also a lifelong city dweller.

I told him "no, a bull is a bull and it can hurt you bad if he wants to".
He just grumbled, shook his head and walked away, but at least those little girls didn't climb the fence to go in the pasture again. The pasture is still there and I noticed a bull in it just a few weeks ago.

I've known grown men, farmers with years of experience handling cattle get seriously hurt by just a moment of carelessness around bulls. I've also known of bulls who were gentle as a kitten until one day they weren't. Nothing to trifle with.

Re: Aren't bulls and cows the same? (Kinda long)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:01 pm
by Coffee
Tri-State Breeders Cooperative, Westby, Wis. A long time ago I got to go into the barn where the bulls were kept. Most awesome bulls I ever saw.

Re: Aren't bulls and cows the same? (Kinda long)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:17 pm
by littleguns
Coffee wrote:Tri-State Breeders Cooperative, Westby, Wis. A long time ago I got to go into the barn where the bulls were kept. Most awesome bulls I ever saw.

In my teenage years I showed beef steers and heifers in the 4-H livestock competition at the Iowa State Fair. I loved going into the barns where the professional breeders housed their show stock and marveling at the bulls. The Holsteins were absolutely gargantuan gentle giants. The Herefords, too, were huge but for the most part kindly. The Angus were beautiful but scary (Angus have an attitude). However, I remember hearing that of all the common breeds, Jersey bulls are the most aggressive. (Little Man Syndrome, perhaps? :D )

Re: Aren't bulls and cows the same? (Kinda long)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:27 pm
by Red Dave
Coffee wrote:Tri-State Breeders Cooperative, Westby, Wis. A long time ago I got to go into the barn where the bulls were kept. Most awesome bulls I ever saw.


About 50 years ago, I got the chance to tour the local breeders cooperative. They had breeder bulls of several breeds and they were the biggest bulls I ever saw. They provided the sperm that was frozen and distributed for artificial breeding. None of them appeared aggressive while I was there, but then they were inside some fairly stout pens. All they had to do was eat and, well, perform.

I swear most of them had a smile on their face. ;)

Re: Aren't bulls and cows the same? (Kinda long)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:28 pm
by screamer
We started running a bull with the cows about 18 yrs ago. And we switch off bulls every two years. Had some that were no problem and some that were very aggressive. Right now we have a cow named Pixie, that is more aggressive than some of our bulls have been. The Jersey bull we had for a year was the worst. Mean as could be. The angus bull we have now doesn't bother me when I am in the pasture, but I learned a few rules a long time ago. Don't try to make a pet out of a bull. Don't change hats during the winter and do not under any circumstances wash your barn coat during the winter. Change in hats will make them think your are a stranger. Washing the barn coat makes you smell like a stranger. And bulls are just plain un predictable. We had a angus/holstein cross bull years back named Norman. I would carry a baseball bat when ever I went into the pasture. Never had to use it, but raise it up in the arir like I was going to use it and he backed off. He would paw the ground, snort and bellow like the typical mean movie bull. The holstein bulls we had were always more gentle than most. The highland bulls were rather docile, but if there was a sudden noise, those long horns could skewer you just turning their heads to see what the noise was.

I have an 18 yr old angus/holstein cow named Elsie. I had her since she was 3 days old. Like a giant dog. Comes when called , likes treats, etc. Love attention. But she will walk right over a person to get what she wants. She got out one day and would not go back in the pasture for love or money or molasses cookies. Every time I got close, she would just walk sideways into me and keep pushing until she got her way. She will however stand perfectly still out in the pasture for me to milk her if I need fresh milk for a calf, lamb or baby goat. Can squeeze the milk right into a 20 oz soda bottle no problem. If I get an overripe cantalope from a fruit stand, All I have to do is hold it up high and call her. She will come running. I think that is her favorite.

Re: Aren't bulls and cows the same? (Kinda long)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:08 pm
by mowmud
Red Dave wrote:I've known grown men, farmers with years of experience handling cattle get seriously hurt by just a moment of carelessness around bulls. I've also known of bulls who were gentle as a kitten until one day they weren't. Nothing to trifle with.

True that. Don't turn your back to them. You gotta keep your eyes on them.

Besides... who cares what city people think anyhow. They are all a bunch of know-it-alls, but actually know nothing about anything important. There is a few that have common sense... but they are few and far between.