Bulls and thing used to control them

Isn’t there a device that is used to control bulls by surrounding them with a round metal fence that isn’t anchored to the ground? The idea is that the bull can’t run and can’t get to the cows, etc., but he can still graze and can shove the ring around to move as needed.

I could swear I’ve seen these things but I recently asked my uncle, who has owned a few bulls in his day, and he had no idea what I’m talking about. Googling for bullpen, bull ring, etc. only gets me baseball and bullfighting references.

The thing I’m thinking of is about 20 feet in diameter, maybe five feet tall, and made of tubular metal.

Are you thinking of a hay ring? These are placed around a round bale of hay to keep the livestock from spreading hay around the pasture (The link says that they can be used with silage, but I’ve never seen it.)

The one in the link is called a bull feeder, probably because it’s more heavily constructed and the bottom half is solid so that a bull can’t flip it out of the way and tear into the bale.

I think that’s it. Perhaps I’ve seen the hay rings and fabricated my own explanation about what they were for. But I could swear I’ve actually seen the bull inside, nudging the ring around as it grazed. Strange how the mind works…

Guess I wouldn’t make much of a cattleman. I’d have cowboys lined up at the fence laughing at the bull I put inside the hay ring.

In my limited experience (one g@d%^m Black Angus that we had when I was a kid), bulls tend to go wherever they want. I wouldn’t put it past one to flip a hay ring and end up on the inside while happily eating the hay.

The idea of keeping a bull inside a ring kind of makes sense in that it would be harder for them to walk through the fences, but that raises the question: how do you get the bull into the ring without getting in the pasture with them, and how do you convince them to get in the ring a second time?

Huh. In a similar vein, I’m sure I’ve seen a photo somewhere of a cow wearing a collar of some kind which has a long pole extending out on each side of the cow’s neck. This is intended to stop cows from walking through a narrow gate. I can’t seem to google a picture. Seems like a kind of neat idea, to reduce the need to open and close gates all day.

I envision some sort of trap in which the ring is propped up with a stick and some bait, maybe a Payday bar, is put underneath. Then you wait for the bull to go for it, pull the string attached to the stick, and voila, you have bull in the ring.

The second time might take two Payday bars.

I’d make such a good farmer.

Much easier to install a cattle guard. A single one at the fence gate works for all the cattle in the pasture, without having to install something on each cow. And much less risk of injury, from a cow getting that stuck in the fence or trees, or striking another cow or calf.

According to Calvin Trillin, there is (or was) a widespread sort of pastime in Southern France known as Taureaux Piscine – bulls in the pool – which essentially involves trying to trick/persuade/coax a bull into a kiddie pool, using only your wits (or lack thereof). Example of the oddness.

I’ve been around cattle all my life and the only thing you put in the hay ring is hay. The ring keeps cattle from walking around scatting the hay instead of eating it.

This is the most common thing I’ve seen for separating a bull or any other animal from the rest. They open one gate on the corral and feed the animal inside for a couple days prior making easy to shut the gate and be done.


When I was a kid, the grownups did something like this, except it was called “Damn bull got out again!”, and it essentially involved trying to trick/persuade/coax a bull into a pasture where he hadn’t torn down the fence lately. The grownups used their wits, flashlights, washpans banged together, lengths of chain for personal protection and who knows what else to get the bull through the gate. Example of a damn bull. :slight_smile:

I remember seeing a sort of collar that prevented cows sticking their heads and necks between runs of barbed wire in order to eat the grass on the other side of the fence. The idea was to prevent the cow going nuts when it tried to withdraw its head and neck. Saved cuts on the cow and saved damage to the fence. For what it’s worth, I can’t remember the last time I saw a cow, much less a cow collar.