Ruby's training has not progressed well at all. Now, that she is feeling better, she has returned to her aggressive behavior. What I mistakenly thought was her becoming docile was actually her just having a sore head and not interested in picking a fight. She is back to rushing me and waving her now hornless head at me. She evens paws like a bull. This is the same behavior I saw after a few days after she settled in. I guess my 'talk' with her earlier didn't impress her much.
I woke up Saturday with a crazy idea. In Ruby's pasture is a round pen. Maybe I could get her to be more respectful of me if a move her around a little in the round pen. So, after luring her in and leaving her for awhile to settle down, I returned. I don't think she learned anything but I did. When you bring an aggressive cow into a small enclosure and try to move them around, they get mad. Really mad. In fact, it probably looked a bit like bullfighting minus the blood and the shiny cape. Oh, and no one threw me roses.
Let's tally the score:
1) Tried waiting until she stopped showing bad behaviors before giving her the feed in the pasture (surely such a generous act such as feeding a skinny cow will cause said cow to adore me instantaneously). FAIL. Ruby: 1 Me: 0
2) Tried moving cow around the round pen to get her to stop charging me. FAIL. Ruby: 2 Me: 0
So, now the plan is simply time. I moved Ruby into our bullpen with a fresh round bale and her feeder pushed up right next to the fence. I dump her feed into her feeder through the fence, thus, preventing any real contact with her when she shows aggression. I'm going to feed her and ignore her behavior. I'm also going to sit in an adjacent corral to try to get her used to my presence without actually interacting directly. Perhaps it's because she is so hungry still and sees me withholding the food. Maybe when she gets some weight on she'll feel like being nice.
Or, to quote a Simpsons episode, "Animals are a lot like people. Some misbehave because they've been mistreated and some are just jerks."