PEI

'Good news story': Missing cows in Orwell found with help from neighbours

A family of beef farmers in Orwell, P.E.I. spent Sunday searching for 20 missing cows, and thanks to friends and neighbours, the cows made it home by mid-afternoon. 

'Other farmers, they’re always willing to help each other'

These last 11 of the 20 cows to go missing were found by the water in Vernon Bridge. They were rounded up using a friend's gates to form this corral. (Submitted by Lori MacDonald-Vessey)

A family of beef farmers in Orwell, P.E.I., spent Sunday searching for 20 missing cows, and thanks to friends and neighbours, the cows made it home by mid-afternoon. 

It all started late last night when thunder passed over the farm. 

"Last night at quarter after one, we had a humongous big clap of thunder here that would knock you out of your bed," said farmer Ann MacDonald, who owns the cows with her husband, David.

"It must have just spooked the cattle and they went through the fences and tore the insulators off and went to other destinations," she said.  

It is definitely a good news story. We never, ever expected to get them 11 home today.- Farmer Ann MacDonald

When David went to feed the farm's herd of about 80 cattle in the morning, he noticed some were missing. 

A neighbour phoned to say he had four extra cows in his barn. At first, Ann didn't think they were theirs, but later realized they were. 

Another five cows were found at a nearby farm belonging to David's cousin. 

That was nine of the missing cows accounted for — but the final 11 proved more difficult to round up, said MacDonald. 

"After we got the other ones home, we didn't know where these 11 were. And our son went in a driveway over near Vernon Bridge and he seen them down along the water," she said. 

Adding to the day's challenge was that the couple's cattle trailer was at the garage for an inspection. 

"Our other friend went home and got a bunch of gates … and he made, like, a corral with his gates. And if it wasn't for that, I don't know how we would have got them home," said MacDonald. 

"We just took our time and didn't scare them," she said. 

Gratitude for friends and neighbours

The MacDonalds have had cows on the farm for more than 40 years, and in all that time, they've only gotten out once before, when there was a coyote in the barn, said MacDonald. 

David has already fixed one of the fences the cows broke through, and the other will be fixed tomorrow. 

"I just can't thank the neighbours and friends [enough] that were so willing to help gather them up and get them back in," said MacDonald.

"It is definitely a good news story. We never, ever expected to get them 11 home today."

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