Weighing and tagging calves this morning, we had a cow that didn’t like the idea of us working on her calf. It became pretty obvious that she might be inclined to do more than just beller and snort, so we pulled the calf on the other side of the fence to weigh and tag it.

I’m too old and too understaffed to afford to get hurt, so I wrote the old rip’s number down. It didn’t matter if she was great to be around 355 days of the year; I don’t want one that wants to climb in my back pocket when we mess with her baby.

Yet, as I walked back to the barn, I got to thinking about how just powerful the maternal instinct is. I’ve witnessed it at 4-H shows, wrestling matches, even parent-teacher conferences. A dad might care but he definitely has a more laidback approach to protecting his offspring.

While no coyote would have had a chance to get that cow’s calf, I know of some very nice ladies who have turned downright mean at some kids’ event if they feel their little one is being harmed or treated unjustly. Perhaps the best way to deal with such protective moms is similar as well – give her a wide berth; make sure you let her know you’re there to help, and not hurt, her little one; and, if you have to take an action that might be construed as not supportive of their little one, do it as quickly as possible, then retreat a safe distance before congratulating yourself on a job well done.

Few things in the world are as powerful as a mom’s desire to keep someone from hurting her young ones.