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BISON TALES

The Story of Clay, Our First Breed Bull

October 03, 2010

Having acquired a couple of heifer calves, we then bought a breed bull from our neighbour. His name was Clay. Clay was about 6 years old and a little set in his ways. We had a heavy wooden feed trough with metal legs. One thing I can remember about Clay was that he liked to toss the feed trough around when he was bored. We were about to find out a lot more about Clay's adventurous side.

Clay

The first winter Clay was at our place we had a fair amount of snow. The drifts were pretty high along our fences in some areas. That year we took a two week holiday and went to the island of Bonaire in the Dutch Antilles. Our neighbours were keeping an eye on the buffalo while we were gone. I was anxious to get away for a winter holiday, but concerned about our dogs. Perry phoned his Mom & Dad a couple of times to see how the dogs were doing. They said everything was fine.

When we arrived back in Canada, Perry's Mom picked us up at the airport. On the way home we talked about our holiday and we asked if we missed anything exciting back home. Perry's Mom said we didn't miss too much, but one of our buffalo did get out. We were a bit shocked. Which one escaped? She thought the tag number was 66. Oh no, that's Clay's number. As we drove home she elaborated on the travels of Clay, while we were basking in the sun in Bonaire.

We're not sure where he got out. We think the drifts were solid and high enough that he just jumped over the fence. It's a six foot page wire fence, so he may have taken a run at it to get some height. Anyway, he spent some time touring around our yard eating some evergreen trees. Then he headed east down the highway to our neighbours. They were looking out their kitchen window and there was Clay, a 1700 lb. buffalo bull trotting through their yard.

Then he went north to another neighbour who had cattle and some calves in a field next to the highway. He layed down and rested there for a while, and the neighbour watched his calves who were quite curious about this intruder. Clay was content to stay there while the calves frolicked around him. I think that was his little holiday.

Then he left that field and ended up at another cattle farm a few miles north where they managed to get him in some corals. Their kids were amazed and were taking pictures of old Clay. Our good neighbours brought a trailer over, and loaded Clay for the trip home. His little excursion lasted a couple of days. I couldn't believe that one of our animals could get out so easily and that we had such understanding and caring neighbours that would get him back home. In fact one neighbour said it was the highlight of his winter and wondered if we would let him out again. Also Perry's Mom & Dad said nothing about Clay when we phoned and asked about the dogs. There was nothing we could do anyway, but worry, so we're thankful they had everything under control and let us have a much needed holiday.

It's not easy to get away when you have a herd of animals to look after. We're fortunate to have such good neighbours and a caring family behind us.