Wednesday, 28 February 2007

All doing well

It was a week before Effie the cow came in of her own accord.
Or should I say because she was hungry, her belly got the better of her.
She brought the calf home too which was a miracle with the weather we have been having it was touch and go for him.
But he is a hardy wee crater as they say in the Highlands.
He has all the makings of a good show beast.
Anyway he is home dosed for pneumonia, Scours and so on plus he got both of his ears tagged a little later than the three days, but I think safety is better than getting killed.
So all are well fit and healthy, as for my husband a little sore but nothing that will not heal as they say.

We have had nothing but rain here for weeks on end it seems.
I have to start preparing the caravan for holiday lets soon, that is another job along with everything else we do, sometimes there seems to be no end, but I'm not complaining.
Let's hope the summer has some beautiful days to offer.
The wild birds have started to migrate in, our fields have been full of all sorts of things, we have even had Lap wings this year, the geese as usual have paid a visit and a few others I cannot identify at the moment.

The Deer have also been in the fields a few of the Stags are still fighting amongst themselves but no injuries to speak of.
God I cannot wait for the warm lazy days, the garden is starting to come to life with Snowdrops, Daffodils and Crocus's popping up every where.

I sat and watched the Buzzards on Sunday, they were screeching overhead and gliding on the wing, there used to be only one or two of them now it seem there are about eight all sharing the Mountain side, the Crows go in for the odd skirmish but usually come off second best.

Speaking of Crows I did not realise how intelligent they actually were until last year.
Our dog was out in the field with a bone, I could hear him barking for about 10 minutes, so I went to investigate, here he was fending off a cheeky Crow who was trying to pinch his bone, as I stood for a while I realised there was two of them one would distract the dog the other would sit on the fence waiting for the dog to leave the bone and chase the other Crow.
Eventually the dog left the bone long enough for the second Crow to steal the bone, away it flew on to the Telephone cables above, the dog barking frantically to get his bone back and jumping up and down.
The Crow dropped the bone be accident dog picked it up and high tailed it off across the field with Crows chasing after him.
Well the dog won in the end because he buried the bone in the field.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

"Wild West Hero"?

Saturday 10th February 2007.
The day I nearly lost my husband.
We were missing a cow (Effie) from the herd she had been missing a couple of nights.
We believed she had gone away to calf, even though she was a little early.
We were not too worried as she could not go to far, the nights had been dry and not so cold even though it was a little windy.

We sorted out the rest of the cows and sent them out they decided not to go down onto the Mointeach Mhor on this occasion but down the old dirt track in the opposite direction from our missing cow.

We set off to find Effie and bring her home; we managed to find her way out in a hollow so she could not be spotted easily.
She had a Bull calf he is a beauty, his mother is what they call a Rowen cow Purple cream and rusty red coloured.
She is a Shorthorn Cross, Limousin breed, the calf on the other hand has flashes of White running over his rump, a white blaze on his forehead and white under belly, he is a rusty red colour with white markings running through his coat.
He is quiet a stocky solid beast, his father is Limousin.

Now usually when the cows have calves they come home a day or two after, we check them to make sure they are all right feed them and leave them to bond with their offspring.
But for some reason Effie has decided she is not going to come home or share her calf with anyone.
Usually they are all quite placid, handled since birth and good-natured.

I say usually, Effie decided to stand her ground; she had taken the calf to a small island which is circumferenced by a river that has snaked a path around the land over the years, except for a small entrance at one side. The calf was lying down at the back end of the island making it difficult to cross the river at any point.
So we had to go over the small inlet. Once over Effie seemed quite willing to move, we got to the inlet and she turned towards my husband and put her head down, we knew this was a bad sign and started to back off, best not to agitate her anymore than necessary, as the calf or ourselves could get hurt.

It was to late, she made a charge for my husband catching him full in the back and knocking him over, she turned quickly and put her head down again and charged into him as he lay curled up in a ball she butted him and pushed him along the ground, I in the meantime tried to fight her off, I never thought she would do any harm to me for some reason I never thought I was in danger??? I struck her on the nose with my stick really hard to distract her, she turned once more and stomped over my husband and ran off to the back of the island with the calf.

I helped my husband up who was as shocked as I was as this had never happened in all of the years we had both been around cattle.

Thankfully he was okay a few bumps and bruises but nothing life threatening, he had the good sense as he Say's to tuck up into a small ball so she did minimal damage.

Now we have decided to leave her until she comes home herself, usually when hungry.

Now I have to make a stab at the officialdom out there who tell us in the Beef industry that we have to tag all new born calves within three days or be penalised for not doing so, this entails clipping a tag with an identification number in each ear.
I would like to hope and pray that no-one would get hurt doing this, but I know this is not the case, I know of at least four friends that have been badly hurt trying to tag calves, as the mother has become over protective.
This unfortunately is a fact of life, any species be it man beast or insect would quite rightly protect their young from harm.

I would like to take some of these people who sit in their offices making up these rules; down to do a real days work with their hands instead of their idle brains an see if they could catch a calf and tag it without mother trying to kill them.

Sometimes I thing we as a country have become over protective, what happened to sensibility and common sense.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Angela's New Calf

Great news today.
Last night Angela our prized Limousin surprised everyone by producing a new life into the world, might I add a little earlier than expected, "no pun intended".
She had a Heifer calf to those of you not in the know that is a little girl.
She the Heifer is such a dainty little thing, she has a cute head, long legs and is a fawn colour, unlike her mother who in a rusty red colour with a white face, as usual for all of our new born animals they are "welcomed into the world".
I have not chosen a name for her as yet as I am still pondering on this.
Her mother "Angela" whom I stated earlier was a little on the wild side, in particular when men are around, was as placid as you like which made us both feel less anxious.
I let Angela free of her collar and we guided her into the holding pen with her new born.
She was as pleased as punch, as were we. She was licking and fussing over her, mo-owing lowly with every slap of her tongue over the new Born's face
We do not ask for much in this life, except that it goes without saying, our animals are all fit and healthy, they all produce a good strong & healthy offspring with no complications.
As I said we were not expecting Angela to calve for a week at least but that's nature for you unpredictable.
We are pleased to say that mother and baby are doing very well indeed.
As soon as the calf is a little stronger I will post some photographs, we have another one due in a couple of days too, so I might wait and add them all together.