How to Throw a Fleece

Rural Australia

I recently had the opportunity to work in a woolshed as a woolhandler (more fondly known as 'rousabout'). Knowing how to throw a fleece is vital. I'm still learning. Sometimes they land nicely, sometimes not. 

Right is Sandy Batterham mid-throw. He has good height and it looks to be coming down nicely.

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Mustering at Spring Creek


We’ve had over 100 weaners out in the paddock gaining weight over the last year. It was time to muster, i.e bring them in and sort them out. We wanted to identify what was ready to go to market and find out how many heifers were ready to see the bull.

First we have to find them.  Mustering in our large paddocks (some around 1,000 acres) can be quite challenging.
You have to know exactly how many you need to find, by referring to our stock control database, before you start. We check the usual haunts first, around the dams, favourite corners or hills. Of course it’s easy to find 80%. It’s the other 20% that can take the most time and energy. Continue reading “Mustering at Spring Creek”

Quirky things about cows

Cows have their own greeting ritual – touching noses. Some can’t be bothered.

Cows have best friends. If one gets let out of the yards before the other, she will wait patiently for her before going off to find food and water.

When a cow is enjoying talking to you, she will shake her head and blow out of her nose.

When they are happy they kick up their back legs and twist their bodies in excitement.

I’ve even seen them, on occasion, stick their tails straight up in the air like a flag. I’m still not quite sure whether this signifies alarm or joy. Either way, it’s quite funny.

Often one cow will care for another if it is sick or lame. For example, she will wait for her friend, nudge her, call and encourage her. Others aren’t interested.

If one cow is a different colour from the rest, other cows will reject her. They will push her away by head-butting and chasing her.

Some cows are bullies and will push others away from feeding bins, hogging it for themselves.


Any chance these behaviours remind you of someone you know?



Cow-power or Man-power?

We were out moving some heifers last week … trying to give them access to the little feed we have left. I had 60-odd of them grouped under a tree a few metres away from the gate I wanted them to go through.

I moved around as usual on the bike, beeping the horn, trying to encourage them to move off. They just kept looking at me and milling around.

Chris came up a few minutes later on the bike. They responded immediately and took off through the gate … before he had even come right up on them!

What is that? Man-power or some sort of special Cow-power? I don’t know, but I wish I had it.

It actually fascinates me. Is it his expectation that they will move when he arrives? Is it his belief in himself as a competent musterer? How does all that work?

I don’t know, but I wish someone would tell me how I could get it … well I have a bit, but I want more.