Back to reality after the Show…Moving highland cattle up to Crabbe Hill is always a bit fretful, but it never went so badly as it did this weekend. (Am I tempting fate by writing that)? We needed to move the six cows with their calves, plus several heifers, etc., out onto the bridleway, and walk them about a quarter mile up Lewesdon Hill for summer grazing.
I called them out of their field with a shake of the bucket and they came charging out…all except one little calf who got left behind. They followed me, bumping and banging into each other as usual, with Dan and Richard walking behind. All fine and excited to be in their new home.
Now it was time for us to catch the lonely calf and reunite him with his mother, who luckily was not bothered in the least about her missing boy. The three us us then spent almost two hours chasing the little bastard until he finally ran into the holding area. We then loaded him into the sheep trailer and took him up with the rest.
But not finished yet. Four more beasts at the far end of the farm also needed to be move up. This would involve a good half mile walk. But the cattle are used to moving up and down the bridleway and usually walk on without a problem once we get them out onto the track.
These four appeared to have no leader. So getting them out of the field was a nightmare. Then they decided to charge off in the wrong direction. It was hot, they were getting stressed, so we let them settle in a cool shady area on the bridleway. I stood guard in case any walkers appeared (luckily none did as I would have told them to turn around)! while Dan went to get the tractor and cattle box. It then took us over an hour to get them loaded. They were absolutely stubborn and all of Dan and Richard’s efforts to force them on went nowhere. It was only when we sat down for a break that they walked onto the trailer, mocking us all the way.
The last part of track up to the hill is very sleep, winding and bumpy but Richard drove the tractor with his usual cocky confidence, they arrived safely and sauntered out of the cattle box without looking back. Day done, a two hour job took us eight!
And last but not least, it makes good sense to check your livestock every day...silly little lamb was just fine, thank goodness, and this is the second time he has done this.
Jo Stover has daily adventures on her small farm, together with her Highland cattle and Portland sheep, bees, a few hens, dogs, and some two-legged family and friends.