The Cow Whisperer


This morning I went out to Dayboro, a “suburb” on the outskirts of Brisbane to help herd some cows. While I don’t want to perpetuate the idea that Brisbane is just a big country town, it certainly felt like a day in the country. The only thing missing was the hard work…

Toby and his brother, Karl, own some cattle and lease paddocks in Dayboro to let them grow nice and fat for slaughter, or stud. Karl got into it about 5 years ago after helping a mate out with his cattle. He only needs one good bull to make his money back each year and the rest is gravy (pun intended).

Not only is it a good investment (with an element of risk, considering disease or poor weather or a host of other things could play havoc), it’s fun too. Today we herded them in from their various paddocks to sort through the ones Karl and Toby were ready to slaughter. Karl’s got them trained so they will run up at the sound of the ute so it’s not too difficult to get them where you want to go. A little hay in the right place and you’re sorted.

I say “we” but really I was just a bump on a log for most of the morning. I got my big chance to do something useful by encouraging 3-4 cows at a time into a secondary pen then shooing them up the “run” one at a time so Karl could tag their tails and sort them. Toby had warned me previously about the odd cow that would kick out if they were grumpy, so I was keeping a wary eye on the beasts as I stepped into the pen.

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Everything was going smoothly once I got the hang of the procedure and got comfortable walking amongst several tons of beef. Towards the end I ran into a couple of stubborn heifers that refused to go where I told them to, which prompted Karl to offer: “You’re not much of a cow whisperer, are ya Chris.”

Everything was wrapped up by mid-morning so we nipped down to the local bakery for a meat pie.