Ever wonder where the term “bullying” comes from…

Bulls are very territorial.  So they want every other bull within listening distance to hear and see that they are in charge of their herd.  And so the taunting begins.  One bull goes to a corner in his pasture and “calls up” his opponent in the nearest pasture.  He bellows, bawls, and creates a cloud of dust.  He wants the other bull to know how tough he is.  Then the other bull does not want to be disgraced in front of his “ladies” so he reacts with the same ear piercing bellowing and throws more dirt in the air.  They dig holes –throw dirt – and talk trash to each other expressing their dominance.  If the name calling does not grow too intense, they can walk away back to their herds – dignity still intact.  If the stakes are raised – fences are torn down – cows are out – and the opponents go head to head.  It matters not the hour or the place!!  They will fight until one establishes his dominance.   When one finally acquiesces – the fight is over.  If they are in separate pastures – each one just goes back to work.  If they are working together in the same pasture, the one with the bruised ego will choose to go on working knowing that the other bull is in charge or he goes to a spot in the pasture as far away as he can get and gives up his breeding rights.  If his choice is the latter, we have to move him to a smaller pasture where he is the only bull (ratio is one bull per 25 cows) – totally adored till his ego mends.

By | 2017-04-25T23:03:27+00:00 June 4th, 2012|"The Girls" - Cow Work, At the Ranch|3 Comments


  1. Beverly June 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    Life imitates nature.

  2. Ashley Bray June 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    I have a funny little story to share about “bullying.” I was 11 or 12 and my Mom managed a commercial Angus ranch that we also lived on. I was terrified to go out to the burn barrel after dark, and imagined all manner of blood thirsty wild animals lurking just beyond the tree line.

    On my way to the burn barrel this particular night a bull on a neighboring ranch was pacing the fence line hollering out to the bulls on our ranch. I never ran to the burn barrel or back to the house no matter how bad I wanted to, as I was afraid a bobcat would be tempted to chase me. I was feeling pretty confident that all wild animals would be scared away by the hollering bull, but I was oh so wrong.

    All of a sudden I hear a loud roar and pounding hooves behind me. I turn to look, but I see nothing. I thought my imagination was just running away with me again. Then it clicks in my brain that Angus cattle are black, and I can’t see them in the dark.

    The bulls on our ranch have all jumped the fence ready for a territory dispute with the neighboring bull, and I am in the path an invisible stampede!!!!

    As I bolt for the house with a bunch of angry bulls behind me all I could think of is, “the XIT bull, the XIT bull, the XIT bull!!!!” This bull from the XIT ranch was so mean my Mom warned me not to even get near the fence of his pen. This particular bull had just gotten into a “bullying” dispute with one of our other bulls and left him paralyzed.

    This guy and his friends are on my heals and I couldn’t even see them!!!!!

    I finally make it to the front porch and try to rip the screen door off its hinges to get in!!!! I bust in screaming about a stampede, but nobody believes me. They thought it was my imagination again. I finally convince my parents to go look for themselves. Sure enough, our bulls are at it with the neighboring bull!!!!!

    I still get weak in the knees when facing cattle. Even if it is a group of heifers, I still get that feeling that the darn XIT bull is fixing to get me!!!!!

  3. Jeannette Spivey June 4, 2012 at 2:23 am - Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story …. as all of your blogs. Keep it up!

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