potty-training cows

Ava Devenport essenheal at iname.com
Mon Jun 5 18:18:42 EDT 2000

On 06/03/00, "Judith Hanna <jehanna at gn.apc.org>" wrote:
> how do you potty-train the cows from defecating in the creek 
> >during the grazing season?....
> >
> Well, in our part of south west Australia, the answer would be to fence the
> grazing back from the creek, to keep the cows out and protect the bankside
> vegetation from grazing and hoofs at the same time as protecting water
> quality.
> Water for stock to drink would be pumped into troughs in the grazing
> paddock, from a dam...

> Does this sound at all applicable to your land?
> Judith Hanna

Dear Judith:

First, thanks everyone for taking such a great interest in my question.  It 
was actually made only half-heartedly on one of those few and far between 
'rainy-day funks' I was having.  Too much to do, not enough time, wet/cold 
outside.  Mostly making light of myself.  But I really do have cattle 
polluting the creek and it is in a watershed.

I'm not sure if this would be applicable to my land, but I will definitely 
check out the possibilities.  Unfortunately, my 40 acres is part of an 
original 30,000 acre cattle ranch that was broken up into parcels 40-200 
acres.  Not all of the land is on the creek, some parcels are on the 
Greenhorn Creek (same problem) and some have no creek at all.  Of the creek 
on my land, it just happens to be my southern land border, I have have 
people on both sides of me and across the creek.  I can't effectively fence 
the cows out alone.

Plus, the cattle belongs to another cattle ranch that has open grazing 
rights, the barbed-wire fence law is the only way to keep the cattle off 
your property, but even if you fence all the way into the center of the 
creek, they still have access from other landowners.  The land is all zoned 
agriculture, the state only charges us 50 cents an acre in propety taxes 
because of the grazing lease and if too many people fence out the cattle, 
they lose the special tax rate.  So not many find it to their best interest 
to fence the cattle.

All of the water in our wells comes directly out of the aquifer (my well is 
490 feet deep, the on the bluff above me is 675 feet deep), so noone is 
worried about personal use water pollution.  Although they don't consider 
when/if the aquifer dries up.

The creeks are the only way the cattle get any water as they're not fed and 
watered as they would be on a farm.  They pretty much have to take care of 
themselves.  They're brought up to the mountains for the summer and fall, 
then rounded up and taken back down to the plains during the 

I've been talking with the Natural Resource people regarding 
phytoremediation and whether a plan using plants may help, no definite 
conclusions yet.  But, some individuals living at the ranch (still not many 
actually living there yet, some just horse facilities, etc.) are worried 
about the pollution and e-coli.  I know my 9 year old and alot of the youth 
that camp there with us, just itch to get into the creek (I still remember 
when...) and even though I warn, preach, demand that they don't get into 
it, they seem to find a way of 'accidentally' falling in and splashing 

Any other suggestions?  I'm open!


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