Once upon a time, we had a bull. His name was Baritone, and we called him Barry. We no longer have him, and I’m going to tell you why.
I have to go back a couple of years to explain why we got a bull in the first place. At the time, I had a different Jersey family milk cow named Callie. I wanted to breed her to a Jersey bull in the hopes that Callie would have a purebred Jersey heifer. This never happened, and I’m still telling you why.
I found a Jersey bull for sale online that was about an hour away from us. Now, I had heard that Jersey bulls are notoriously aggressive. However, the bull that was for sale had been bottle-fed. Bottle-fed calves usually grow up to be very sweet and docile. The photo of the bull online was of him standing in a pasture with a young boy on his back. Wow. Look how tame that bull is, I thought. I was sold. We went to buy the bull.
The previous owner told us that the bull was more like a pet and hadn’t ever been around other cows before. Having a young, virgin bull did not concern me at the time, but it should have. On the way home, Barry bawled and bawled while he was in the trailer. His voice was very deep, so I named him Baritone. Barry was extremely excited to get out of the trailer and be with our other cows. However, our other cows were not excited to be with him. At the time, we only had four cows. Our three Longhorns were already pregnant. My Jersey cow wasn’t pregnant but wasn’t in heat yet. Poor Barry. He didn’t get to do his business. None of the four ladies wanted anything to do with him.
Barry was tame. He was too tame. Barry didn’t understand that he was not a puppy. He was 800 pounds of bull with pointy, short horns. He wanted to cuddle us with his head. He wanted to “play” with everything not nailed down. He “played” with one of our gates until he broke it. He took his horns and scratched up our truck and, later, my father-in-law’s truck, too. He would play with the plastic cover on the guy-wire that runs down from one of our telephone poles, making it go up and down until finally he got it off the wire completely. We would put it back on; he would take it back off. We had a big, black mineral tub in the pasture for the cows to lick on. They like it, because it has molasses in it. It probably weighed 100 pounds. He would play with it and flip it over. Then the cows couldn’t eat it. We would flip it back; he would do it again.
One day Barry found someone to “play” with him. Our buck had gotten out of the fence (again), and Barry went over to check him out. That goat wasn’t a bit intimidated by the bull. Barry wanted to “push” his head against the buck’s head. (Barry wanted to “push” everything with his head.) The buck showed Barry how to battle the goat way. I stood there and watched our buck ramming heads with our bull. Barry was so confused. When bulls or cows fight, they don’t ram but push on each other. Goats get on their hind legs and come down fast and hard, ramming heads together. Let’s just say our buck won.
Barry was also very noisy. He would bawl and bawl most of the day. I’m sure our neighbors just loved him, because he usually went to our shared fence line and bellowed at the neighbor’s cows. My assumption was that he was sexually frustrated. So, he was worse than a puppy. He was a total nuisance.
We kept him for several months though, because I wanted him to breed my cow before we sold him. However, very sadly, Callie ended up getting sick with lymphoma and never recovered.
Barry only got worse in his destructiveness. Not only that, but he started getting aggressive. He wanted to push on us with his head like he did everything else in sight. I couldn’t go out to the barn without having a whacking stick in my hand to fend him off. We decided his horns had to go. We put him in a chute and took a reciprocating saw to them. That fixed his wagon… for awhile. He was depressed and despondent about the loss of his horns for a few days. But, he got over it and was back to his old antics.
One day, I didn’t see Barry anywhere in our pasture. After a thorough search, we found out that he had hopped the fence and gotten in with the neighbor’s cows. Our virgin bull was quite determined to do his duty, but we separated him out and trailered him to a pen that only had a couple of steers in it. Poor Barry.
That seemed to be his undoing. Barry had been a nuisance and a pain, but he had never been mean up to this point. But, one day, not long after he was in with the steers, Barry threw the person who went into the pen to feed him. Thankfully, the man wasn’t hurt, but that was the end of Barry. He was loaded into a trailer and auctioned off. He probably ended up as a Whopper or Big Mac somewhere.
After that experience, I’ve had no inclination to buy another Jersey bull. My father-in-law is kind enough to loan us one of his bulls when our cows need to be bred. Those bulls are very experienced in their field. No more virgin bulls please.