Monday, January 18, 2010

The Steer

We name cows, goats, donkeys, horses or any other animal we plan to keep for more than a year. Because of this time limit, we seldom named steers. Bulls-yes, cows-yes, but since we sold steers (emasculated bulls) at 400-500 lbs. they were simply identified with their mother, (Piggy's steer, Buggy's steer, etc.) The Steer originally was going to be sold as a yearling, but he has skills. He can't roll over or ride a bike, but he can escape anytime we tried to load him. He is not mean or aggressive, but he can jump and he knows where the weakest part of the lot is.
Now he is big as well as agile. We may never load him. He is big enough that the cowboys who would rope and load a cow are now a little scared of the steer. They think that if he and their roping horse got in a tug-of-war, the Steer would win. They are probably correct.
Although he is basically gentle, this half longhorn beast is now very big and as such needs to be respected. Earlier this year I was feeding the cows some cubes by hand. I never feed bulls out of my hand but I would feed The Steer this way. As I was feeding him he flicked his big horns up at a fly or such and knocked off my cap. The Steer weighs between sixteen and seventeen bills, (1600-1700 lbs.) and his massive head got within a few inches of mine. That was a very sobering thought.
One thing about The Steer that I like is reminds me of oxen of olden days. He looks exactly like the beasts of burden that were instrumental in the logging and freighting businesses that built East Texas. I can only imagine how much raw power a yoke (two) of oxen like The Steer would have. Even though I know the Green Mule could outwork a half dozen oxen, the physical size of the oxen are impressive. He looks much larger in person than in picture. Even digital photography can't capture The Steer. He has skills.

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