Thursday morning the sun was shining, cold and lovely. Today was results day, Mary the vet arriving at 9.30 to check the jab area for any swelling. So we had to get all the cattle back into the holding area and through the race into the cattle crush to allow Mary a quick check of the previous injection area. Easy…not.
The eleven cattle in Nine Acres lifted their heads when they heard the cattle cake bounce in the bucket, thought about it for about 10 seconds, then put their heads back down and didn’t move. Why put ourselves through all that effort, get shoved down the race, poked and jabbed, all for the chance of a couple nibbles. Forget it. And so goes the results day. Who says cattle are stupid?
After more coaxing than imaginable, five cows finally got up enough stem to saunter into the field adjoining the holding pen, and I was able to lure them into the pen. Meanwhile, Matt and Richard rounded up the six others, they got a bit excited and followed shortly behind the five cows. We shoved them into the race and went back to Westing Close for the six younger ones.
This group was even more stubborn, they took off running up and down the field. Shaking the bucket had no appeal whatsoever. However, after some time, and with Matt and Richard hiding away, they finally settled down, suddenly noticed the tempting cake and walked on across the bridleway. They followed me into the next field, then Richard and Matt took over and very slowly walked them closer and closer to the holding pen. As they got near enough, we whopped and waved and they bolted in.
Luckily Mary was late, as were we, but it all went swimmingly as the cattle moved through the crush. No reactors. All clear. Huge relief. The four calves also showed no reaction. So clear TB test in 2016 and we get to do it all again in twelve months. Bring on the badger cull!
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.