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We had two scottish highland cattle delivered yesterday. We kept them in the corral area so they could get used to their new area. They're both yearlings and they seemed pretty nervous.

I'm currently at work and my wife called: This morning she went in to feed, water and give them a small grain treat so they might feel a little more comfortable. They jumped a four and a half foot tall fence like it was nothing! UPHILL! They took off across the north 40 and nobody has seen them since. There's a mile or two of forest beyond that and then a couple of other little farms.

They have never tasted grain. We're not sure how we're going to get them back.

I had heard some folks say that highlands are the most docile and I've heard some folks say that highlands can jump like deer. Well, I now beleive the latter!

If we ever find them, how do we get them back?
 

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Geez Paul, I'm sorry you're having such a rough start with the Highlands. Do you have a neighbor you can call that could head out on horseback or quad? I'm quite sure you'll end up with them back in your pens soon enough but it's going to take a bit of work. I find it best if something has gone wandering to move them over to the nearest place with pens and haul them out from there. Chances are really good they're going to make is as far as the next herd of cattle and join up with them.
 

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Around here, when someone loses cattle, as you mention, we try to capture them at another local farm (they seem to seek some farm and hang around etc.). If you are lucky enough for this to happen they can then be corraled and loaded into a trailer etc. and brought back to your farm. This has been about the only way people in our area have ever gotten them back. HOWEVER, we have also had some that became wild and had to be shot. The wild ones would become like a deer and flee if you are within a 100 feet or so. Some even would run at the site of a human. Hope you get them back.
 

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It did occur to me that if you are in an area that doesn't have a lot of cattle or has a lot of open space, you could rent or borrow corral panels and work them slowly into there and then load out.
 

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I think in your area Paul, the first thing they are going to need is a water source. If you have a stock tank in their corral, I'd leave water running in it. The smell of running water travels a long ways on hot days like this. The trick is going to be to get the gate closed before they bolt again.

Where did you get them? If it's not too far, they may be trying to head for home.
 

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I would also contact the county sheriff in case anyone calls to report suspicious cattle running around!

Watch your ponds or any other open water source for tracks and the like. If they find a water source, they will probably come back. You could set up a portable corral to get them.

We lost a bull last year. He was gone overnight. After trailing him for miles and hours, the sucker circled back around and was waiting by the fence! Of course, he was going "home" and you don't have that advantage.

Good luck and don't blame the highlands. Just about any type of cattle can clear a 4.5 foot fence without a second thought.

Jena
 
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It took 5 days to locate my lost calf, which was found 1/2 mile away drinking from a pond.

Try looking for tracks around other's water. They can hide so well you may never spot them otherwise.

When you get them home, keep them penned for three days in the pasture while you feed and water them. By that time they should be able to recognize the pasture as the place where they eat and sleep.

Good luck.

Genebo
Paradise Farm
 

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Oh Paul, I feel so bad for you, not the best way to start out with cattle. Call some sheep people in your area and see if any of them work with dogs, when you locate the cattle ask them if they'd bring their dogs out and try and work the cattle into a pen of some sort, 4 cattle panels clipped in a circle would work at a push.
Carol K
 

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We had a new mom highland take down a five foot tall cattle panel when she was penned in the barn with her new calf. So the cows can jump.
We have bought a herd of wild ones last year but have had none escape the outer perimeter fence. We made sure the fence is very hot. We have a homemade five foot tall corral that we tarp over if we have to contain anyone it seems the "roof" keeps them from jumping. But we don't keep them corraled. They get crazy.

As far as catching them, we have good luck with fresh cut corn stalks or fresh chopped hay in a corral. It is better that grain if they haven't had grain before.

Where our original herd came from had 4 remaining cows that another guy bought. He was able to get 3 of them but the 4th took off. So he left a calmer one there and that took off with the "wild" 4th one. They ended up at a friend of ours about 3 miles from the original escape site, checking out the steaks on the grill. Anyways after about a week they returned home. But still cannot be corralled in the 4 foot high barbed wire corral. He is going to try a tranquilizer gun. No word yet on that outcome.

We did not pen the herd when we got them home because anyone we have heard of doing that had 100% escapes. We gave them a good few acres and a hot 3 foot high fence. With good results. No attempts to escape. If you do get them corralled tarp the top and load them fast. Don't let them think about escaping. At home a good quiet open pasture with little interaction with them at first. Then very very slowly get them used to you being in the area.

We have alot of bored horse people who keep offering to help us round up the cows if they get out. Any bored horse people near you? At least they could spot them better than anyone on the ground. Also the sheep herding dogs is a great idea, but the horns scare away anyone near us. To valuable a dog to get speared. Although, our border collie works them fine. Good Luck. When you do get them let us know how you got them and you will. You never know when ours get out. Trish
 

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So it sounds like we need to make a sweet spot for them. Lots of fresh hay and other goodies. Lots of fresh water. If they do ever show up, we should set up a big electric fence around them. Give them plenty of space to get comfy. Give them plenty of goodies and at all times remember that they hang out with us because they want to, not because they have to.

If we ever do find them, I think the cattle dog idea is a good one.

We do have lots of neighbors with horses that have looked.
 

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One type of fence that discourages jumping has a board on the top and one at about chest level (to the cattle). The "belly board" is a phsychological barrier that makes them think they can't jump the fence, the top board reinforces the idea.

Any cow can jump....don't blame the breed, though these highlands do sound pretty nutty. I'd sure hate to corner one....

Jena
 

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I'm absolutely shocked and outraged at the stories I'm hearing. I've raised purebred cattle for many years and have sold many times to newbies but never in my life would I consider selling feral or crazy cattle to unsuspecting customers. Dammit, that's nothing but bad will and you'll never make a wrong like that right. I can't even count how many times I steered the unsuspecting newbie past the pretty black (longhorn) range cow that would be more than add an extra belly button or two to any unsuspecting visitor and encouraged them to look extra hard at the sweet little heifer that I'd been handling every day. I've gone so far as to offer free breeding or a rebreeding at next to nothing or even buy the mild mannered animal back if they found it not to their liking and I encourage them to call me with any questions, all to avoid situations like this.
 
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It's not that Highlanders are nutty. We have found that if the cows aren't handled they will be wild and scittish, it doesn't matter the breed. Herefords are big in our area and most were wild and free and not handled. Put them in a corral and they are over the top and gone.
Our herd we got last year had been not handled at all, and a bit (alot) crazy, we thought that was the norm... After a year of daily contact, we now walk among them with no stampedes. Now they are calmer, still don't care to be handled but..... working on that. Now we have newly bought 2 yr old bull that LOVES to be brushed and handled. He goes all wobbly in the knees from the brushing and lays down after awhile with a huge sigh!!!!!! Now that is the way to have a bull. Now, we know to handle the calves and "tame" them. So don't think badly of Highlanders, they really are calm and really great(with some exceptions). A couple of crazies that should have been raised better doesn't make the breed bad. I have not heard of anyone "taming" a wild yearling, in fact we keep being told it can't be done. We are doing it, so it can be done. Paul, keep up the chase they are worth it.
 

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Not sure if this is feasible, but had you considered calling someone in your area with a tracking dog? Sometimes those guys just like to have something to work their dogs on, so it may serve your purpose also. Dog clubs, hunters, maybe someone could point you in the right direction (no pun intended!) with the dog tracking thing. Just a thought, not sure if it's workable.

Carol K
 

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We found the best search technique up north of you here is to declare "open season". A small herd of cattle escaped one of the semi trucks, a few years ago, back when the U.S. still imported live cattle from Canada. Dang things made for the hills and defied everything anyone tried to snag them, because the company was offering a decent cash reward.

They eventually gave up and it became open season. They were all hanging within a couple days.

Just make certain that you work yourself in for a cut.
 

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Just occured to me too, that your area is somewhat open canopy. Know anyone with a light plane? It looks like the hot weather we've been having is over, so your critters are probably in the open more now.

Two red Highlands should stick out like a sore thumb.
 
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