Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Wet and Windy

It has been wet and windy far to long now the Croft has a lot of peat and is holding on to the water like a giant sponge.
It is hard going on the Cattle when it is like this.
During the winter months from Mid Oct to end of March early April the Cattle are all inside, they go out each day so the Byre can be cleaned out, they also can get a drink and a hearty meal from the hay ring for the day.
They all have their own stalls and tie without any bother. But that is only because they have a large bucket of concentrates in the stall without it they will soon kick up a fuss and cause a commotion in the Byre.
Cows also have their own personality, they have their own way of doing things and you can be sure if you want them to go one way, they will without a shadow of a doubt go in the opposite direction. I think it is just to keep you on your toes and give you the exercise they think you need running around after them.
We have a Collie who works really well with the Cattle he thinks his whole day should be taken up moving them around, he will not settle until they are all in for the night.
At the moment we are waiting for a couple of calves to be born with in the next two weeks, after that they will come thick and fast, each calve gets a welcome to the world and is named.
The only thing I do not like doing is tagging them as soon as they are born.
Depending on the mother this can prove to be rather difficult, if the mum decides to be over protective she can give you a run for your money, and I mean you run.
I have had a few kicks and butts, luckily nothing to serious. My husband on the other hand has been kicked, knocked over and run over the top of, there is no stopping them once they get something into their head, especially the thought of you with what they see as an instrument that causes pain in your hands. Once the Tags are in the ears of the calve everything settles back down in the Byre, it will take mum a couple of days to be less over protective of her offspring.
As I said in my introduction we have a mixture of breeds, there are Limousin's Charolais, Shorthorn & Simmental, they all have a name and are all used to being brushed and handled.
They each have a different personality, without humanising them they appear to have human traits.
Angela for instance is a Limousin cross Simmental, she is a rusty brown colour with a white blaze down her face, she has had a few reserve champions at the Agricultural Shows but has never been the Bride shall we say.
She was a bit highly stung when I first got to know her, she was wild really, but like most things in life, I believe if you show them love they will respond like wise.
She is still a bit skittish when men are around, I told my husband that it's the male testosterone she is smelling, as men were natural hunters, women on the other hand are less of a threat so she does not mind me scratching her back at all. She has also produced two offspring that have been reserve champions, maybe this year we will get the elusive top prize?
That's what it is all about at the end of the day, looking after your animals, pays dividends not only at the shows but when we come to sell the calves at the market they get a good price also.
Because they have been looked after with love and kindness and had a great start in life even if it is a short life. They do not deserve to be mistreated after all they are going into the food chain eventually so a little compassion never hurts does it??

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