Cows are big animals. They aren't the most nimble creatures so we often take them for granted when fencing their area. Last night it almost cost us some blueberry poundage when our pair of cattle escaped their pasture and spent a bit of time wandering the blueberry field, whose rows are overflowing with berries and whose branches spill out into the rows.
Josh and I were in the house at the time, half way up the stairs with a couch we were removing from my area. Marc came tearing through the house shouting for us to come quickly. I thought maybe someone got hurt, but was semi-relieved when I found out it was the cows that were the issue.
We ran down to the field and sprinted across it. Along the way I think I picked up a large poking stick I use at the firepit, two croquet mallets, and a leaf rake with a big red rake head. We came upon Marc and Josh in between fields two and three. Mark came out to lend a hand and Katie was there too, having been the one to discover the big beasts wandering the rows.
I hopped into the mid field where we run one of our burn piles and kept them from moving off the fence. Marc kept them from entering into field three and Josh opened the gate and tried to coax them along. Mark filled the last gap, preventing their egress into field two where they had already been causing some damage.
The first cow went through without much of a fuss, but the second one made a few moves to go by me to get out into the open section of field. I darted back and forth around a tall patch of grass, taking whacks at the patch to flatten it down so I could get closer. After a tense half minute of trying to skirt by me, the cow gave up and made its way through the gate. I gave chase with the two mallets, clacking the ends together to keep them moving. Once in their pasture they knew the way home and it did not take long to get them corralled back in their pen.
Josh was confused as he did not remember letting them out. It turns out that Liz let them out to show a customer that they had plenty of pasture and space for our cows to be happy. The area they got through was not ill-kept but it afforded them just enough room to push through the fence wiring and break in.
As we walked back I scouted the rows for hoof prints and discovered they had gone half way up several rows, cutting through the bushes to turn around. All told, we possibly lost about a dozen branches of varying weights. In the end it was not nearly as bad as it could have been. Given the size and agility of the cows, they did surprisingly little damage when you look at the path they took. A handful of broken branches is pretty minor when all things are considered.