The busy weekend continued...
On Sunday morning, with the Ranger still working, the first task was getting Bemborough, my new ram, kitted out with his raddle. He had spent the night in a pen in the shed, warm and cozy. We did the usual struggling to strap on the raddle, then safely delivered him to his waiting ewes. Then it was time to move 12 cattle off Crabbe Hill, walk them down the bridleway, and into the field with the holding pen, where we can separate the four calves.
Minty, my halter training friend, came along to help. She and I set up all the tape, closed gates, etc to keep the cattle on the straight and narrow. As they come down the path on Lewesdon Hill I don’t want them wondering off into the woods. So we run a thick sort of white tape, usually electrified but not necessary here. Once all is ready I drive up with the Ranger, give a call and the cattle come running! Gate opened and they generally follow the Ranger, with Dan and Richard following behind to give a little whack if they start to slow or stray. Down they came, and with a final bit of hesitation and me doing my usual yelling and swearing, into the field and then into the holding area they went.
It all gets a bit exciting then. The cows are milling about in the holding area and bashing each other, but finally settle down as we get the big cattle trailer backed up with the tractor. As we ran them down the race we were able to send all but the calves around and out into the next field. Calves were quickly loaded and taken way. The mothers hadn’t quite figured out what was going on and Minty and I were able to lure them all away, walking them through the next field, Hanging Leys, and on into Nine Acres. (All the fields have names, more about that another time).
So the four calves are now tucked up in the open shed. They have been bawling all night and day for about three days. The mothers are some distance away but occasionally yell back. In the past I have awakened to a calf in the garden behind the house, having jumped a fence to get back to mum. But the shed is secure and they will settle in soon. This winter they will not have to compete for the haylage, they can eat to their hearts content. And I hope to win them over and even try to halter train two of the females.
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.