Wildly afraid, that is.
I grew up surrounded by savage lions and buffalo among other very wild animals. Cows are in a class all their own. They are terrible beasts that will devour their prey mercilessly at the least provocation.
I grew up with them. That might be part of the problem, considering I weighed forty pounds and they, about a thousand when we first met. The only thing they do that’s more disturbing than just standing there, staring unashamedly, is to gallop wildly, lunging their crazy heads, their massive bellies heaving powerfully. They fling their long strings of snot in practiced circles, bellowing in demonic tones, and charging me at a ground shaking twenty-five miles an hour.
“They wouldn’t hurt you,” my husband says flippantly, “they just want the food you have.” Well they can’t have the food I have!
My chicken coop happens to be in one of the fields that our cows graze in. I fastidiously save all my kitchen scraps for them in exchange for delicious eggs, a daily expression of appreciation for all my love. Based on my feelings towards my cows I watch them closely and only feed my chickens when the cows are at the far end of the field, a few acres away. I normally unlatch the main gate, latch it behind me, and stride as lightly as I can, my neck craning back and forth, much like my cocky rooster Rocky, across the twenty or so feet to the coop. I keep a stern eye on those monstrous beasts in the distance. Occasionally one will raise its head and consider the distance between us then return to its sumptuous feast of plain old boring grass. No kitchen scraps for you.
Today was a gorgeous fall day and I was in a great mood. I spied the cows in the far field and grabbed my mulch bucket and mealworms. I opened the gate as quietly as I could then looked over at the monstrosities in the far field. They didn’t even have the courtesy to look up. I unlocked the chicken coop and dumped the scraps, to their grateful delight. I looked at the regular spot for eggs. There were none. I tossed a handful of mealworms and they thanked me profusely by fluttering their wings. This took me all of twenty-five seconds.
I wished the chickens a happy day, turned to leave the coop and was met by a horrific sight. Time stood still as I beheld 2 massive bovines bounding at me not fifty feet away! At the same time, I realized that I had left the main gate wide open. I quickly locked myself in the coop and called Jesus incessantly. I had to divert them or I would have real trouble on my hands if they ran out of that gate. In a split second I scaled the ten-foot coop and fence, grateful for all the times I watched my son at parcour. He would have been proud of mama.
Once over the fence, I started grabbing weeds and desperately stuffing them through the holes in the chicken link fence to distract the cows from the open gate. This worked very well for the 2 by me. In my peripheral vision I caught sight of a third, gamboling straight at the twelve-foot opening, and, to my dismay, the gate was open towards her. I took off like a mad bullet, energized by her maniacal lowing as she kicked scads of turf 6 feet into the air, determined to beat me through that gate.
I will never, ever, be able to explain how I got there before her, grabbed that frigid green pole-gate two inches in front of her slimy snout, and backed up to lock its chain in place. She about screeched to a halt like they do in the cartoons, wild tail straight up in the air and blinked disbelievingly as I let out the most feral Tarzan-like bellow!