Clark owned a small dairy farm in Delaware. Thinking to add to his larder, he bought a black steer at Dill’s auction down the road to fatten a beef for the family.
He put the steer in a grazing pasture with the dairy heifers. In a short time, he noticed that the steer was trying to breed the heifers! Not a good thing on a dairy farm. He decided to take him back to the sale the next week. In the meantime, he needed to separate him from the heifers.
His son, Bob, and he managed to drive him into an old laying hen house they were using for hay storage. Over the week, the steer’s attitude began to worsen. Finally the day came. They decided they would try to rope him and move him into a box stall in order to load him on a cattle truck.
Then the chaos began. The steer was bangin’ the walls, jumpin’ the hay bales and charging anything that moved. Thinking clearly, Clark mounted the old tractor and parked it by the chickenhouse door. The right tool for the job, I say. Then he took his gun from the pickup and placed himself in front of the door.
His plan was to have Bob open the stall, the steer would run to the door and Clark would euthanize the steer humanely as he passed through at 35 hooves per hour. Humm…?
Bob opened the stall and ran for cover. The steer took one look at the tractor then turned and dove under the chicken roosts! He was just tall enough to pop the 1x4’s and 1x6’s which were the frame of the platform. He ran the length of it, nails and pieces of board went flying! Next he jumped on the bales, stumbled and crashed through the back door on the other side of the shed, where Clark was not.
This was the year that they had pulled up all the old barbed-wire fence from the Revolutionary War period. They had replaced it with little electric fences suitable for domesticated heifers. The crazed steer set about tearing the electric fence, T-posts, insulators and wire gates to pieces. His demolition included the pastures wherein the heifers abided. He finally calmed down, found the heifers and went back to sniffing and grazing.
Exhausted, they called the cowboy in the neighborhood who came and roped him. The sale barn’s portable loading chute was summoned to take him back to the sale.
Well, the story got out. Next day, Clark’s neighbor cited a coincidence, “Black steer, huh. I sent a black steer to the sale two weeks ago. I’d banded him but I missed one of his test-tickles and pretty soon he was trying to breed all the dairy heifers on my place!”
Baxter Black is a cowboy, veterinarian, poet and humorist. His website is www.baxterblack.com.