Reinhardt Family History
Memories of Eggs and Chickens
Stories from Neil Reinhardt
Shooting The Bull
Before artificial insemination of cattle came along, the most important part of a dairy herd was the bull. If a dairyman had a herd bull that would sire outstanding offspring and good milk producers, he was kept until old age, or until he became unmanageable. Today the semen is brought to the farm and the danger of the farmer being gored by a bull is gone. My story is about the last such beast I owned.
He was kept in a pen made of heavy iron pipes. His pen was only cleaned when he was locked in his stanchion or he was in the barnyard with the cows. It was not safe to enter his pen when he was in it. This particular day could have been one of his bad days, for when the cows came into the barn after I'd cleaned it and put fresh straw down for bedding, the bull would not come in with them. His bellowing and pawing the dirt made the earth shake. I was sure if I entered the cowyard to try to chase him into the barn, there would have been a widow and four fatherless kids on Reinhardt Road.
Thinking a little birdshot from a distance might encourage him to go in, I headed for the house, only to discover that I had only one shell for the old 12 gauge shotgun. Taking the one shell and gun, and not wanting to be caught afoot if he got out of the cowyard, I got in my old pick-up truck. I maneuvered it until it seemed to be far enough away so the shot would sting but not harm him and I pulled the trigger. It worked but only got him as far as the barn door. The only thing to do was to get more shells. The old pick-up made a lot of dust as it tore up the gravel road to Carl Gantners, friend and avid hunter about one-half mile away. The shells he gave me were 4's and 6's, a little heavier than the 7-1/2 bird shot I had used.
The first blast with the number 6's, and he made a big jump for the door and went into the barn. When I entered the barn through another door I found him in his pen eating silage as though nothing had happened. The next time he was let out of the pen, several days later, he went directly into a truck headed for the slaughter-house. I think he made a lot of Big Mac's to be eaten with an order of fries and a Coke at the golden arches of McDonalds.
The next time the service of a bull was needed, a call was made to an artificial inseminator. He came with a little container of liquid nitrogen in which was kept little vials of semen at a temperature of 40 degrees below zero. The little 50 pound container was much safer than a two thousand pound bull.
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P.S. Before you think I have been cruel to animals, the fact is that the bird-shot fired at
the distance it was fired from, did not hurt that bull as much as the cattle prod some man
used recently to punish one of his children.