The Cows Are Mooooving

Loud MOOOOs could be heard around CAS this week as staff worked to move our cows to new fields. Some MOOOed about being coaxed down the gravel road from their field near the main barn, and others MOOOed as they greeted their new roommates who joined their field.

Moving cows is nothing new at CAS. Still, doing so is no small task! These are big, playful animals who would rather munch on the willow trees that border the pond or flip a wheelbarrow with their horns, than be made to walk down the road to a better living situation (life is so hard at CAS). Yesterday, for instance, farm manager Kathy Keefe played peek-a-boo with Dozer as he darted from one side of the tree to the other trying to avoid her.

Because our barn staff knows each animal so personally, and is devoted to making sure each and every one of our twenty cows is content, moving them can be a mind-racking project. Staff must consider which cows get along with each other – which ones can happily share a pasture, and which ones are so aggressive towards each other that they can’t even share a fence line. Then, there’s diet to consider; older cows on special diets to maintain their weight can’t live in pastures with those on a hay-only diet. See what I mean? It’s complicated!

The difference in terrain must also be considered. Older cows are put in flat fields so that they don’t have to struggle with hills, while younger cows are placed in fields with a varying topography to provide mental stimulation. Lastly, staff must consider the capacity of the barns and run ins in each pasture—the small ones have room enough for only a few cows; the larger barns can comfortably house our entire herd. Animal Care Director, Abbie Rogers, remarked that figuring out where to move the cows to was like “figuring out a Rubix cube.”

The end of the story? Rubix cube solved! All our cows are with their buddies, in barns with ample room, in fields with the proper terrain for their age and body condition, and with those who share the same diet. Whew! I’m exhausted just hearing about all this: I can only imagine how the barn staff feels after all this MOOOOving: thanks, guys!

Babe gives Molly a big kiss. These two are happy to live in the same field!



A Day in the Life, Sanctuary Life


One reply on “The Cows Are Mooooving”

  1. Molly looks surprised, almost like she’s saying “Hey – no pictures of us when we’re smooching!”

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