Last week my steer calf, Rocky, ten months old, realized that my bull calf, Duke, who has just turned four months old, was no longer a fragile baby but finally big enough to play.
Duke: “I’m not really sure how to play this game.”
Rocky: “Simple! It’s a typical guy game. You just put your head down, flex your neck muscles, and shove!”
Duke: (eagerly) “Oh, I think I’ve got it! Like this?”
Duke: “Oh dear! My neck is flexing in the wrong direction!”
Duke: “Oof! I think I need to eat my Wheaties!”
The boys played for hours, shoving each other back and forth. Since Rocky is almost twice Duke’s weight, he was careful not to be too rough. The games will get more exciting as each gets bigger. I will be interested to see if Duke’s hormonal advantage as a bull eventually balances the age difference.
Yesterday when Lucy and I got back from an orthodontist trip to Vermont, my teenaged heifer Moxie was playing with Duke, too. Though I’m always happy to see my animals enjoying each other, I wondered. When I was feeding everyone their supper and Moxie dashed out of her stall to run down the aisle, mooing tenderly, to touch noses with Katika, I was sure. Eighteen days later, Moxie is going into heat again. Today is likely to mean hours of bellowing and jumping.
I foresee that it’s going to be a long and noisy six months before Duke is big enough to play those games.