Chaos in the Cow Pasture

This morning I suddenly became aware of a frantic ruckus in the cow pasture.  What caught my attention was the cows bellowing.  Cows do not usually bellow unless something is wrong.  Then I noticed that a number of cows were running frantically, kicking up their heels and bellowing as they ran.  There was a line of cows following behind doing the same thing. My first thought was it was feeding time and they were coming for food!  Suddenly it dawned on me that they were going the wrong direction.  Instead of coming to the barn to the feed trough they were heading out to pasture and the person who would have been feeding them was near by.  I felt a fear rise in my chest. This was not normal behavior and I said, “something is wrong in the cow pasture!”

I watched a few seconds and saw buzzards, not one, not two, but a whole flock-maybe a dozen of them down by the cedar tree. They were swooping down into the fenced walkway between two pastures.



I could see a mother cow was there with her calf.  Gene was not home and so I sent Sam to the rescue.  She was butting at the buzzards and they would fly up and immediately swoop back down. She was frantic.  Apparently she had somehow sounded a distress alarm and her pasture mates were racing across the pasture to her rescue.  As they arrived on the scene they joined her in trying to butt off the buzzards.

In the meantime Sam jumped in the tractor and headed to the pasture.  He parked a little distance away and walked over to the area.  The buzzards immediately disappeared and the cows settled down as they watched him approach.  They sensed help was on the way!


Sam found a mama with her newborn bull calf who was only minutes old, still wet and wobbly on his feet.


The buzzards were after the afterbirth that was laying on the ground and they were very aggressive in trying to get it.


The mama had gotten herself backed into a corner with her calf because of the buzzards.  Sam walked on the other side of the fence and she eased on out with her calf.  You do not get into a pen with a mama and her newborn and especially when she is upset.


The other cows remained on the lookout for awhile. After the mom had gotten her baby to safety she came back to eat the afterbirth (Placenta) but finally gave up battling with the buzzards and let them have their feast.  I know that sounds gross, but the afterbirth provides good nutrition for the mama cow.


It is amazing to me how animals help to protect and care for each other. And for now all is quiet in the pasture.

A Side Note:  Gene told me that this mama was one of the cows that helped to protect another cow several years ago in the story  “The Parable of the Cows”.  It never ceases to amaze me how he can remember such things!

Four days later…. this is a picture of the calf soaking up the sun on a warm, balmy Sunday afternoon.



  1. KGBS Said:

    Poor mama! She so deserved that treat!

  2. Julia perry Said:

    Awesome story Pat.

  3. […] This is the baby calf that was born 4 days ago and written about in the blog post “Chaos in the Cow Pasture“. […]

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