An unruly bull calf takes chase as the cows are brought in at the farm on the M62

Like all animals, our cows have their own unique personalities
John-William wants to be part of the action at Stott Hall FarmJohn-William wants to be part of the action at Stott Hall Farm
John-William wants to be part of the action at Stott Hall Farm

Some have been granted with a pet name whilst others blend quietly and namelessly into the background.

The named ones tend to be either very friendly and have been affectionately named or they’re the ones that cause us the greatest headache, usually because they have to be given a wide berth!

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Our annual gather, just before the winter sets in, is a chance to see how they’ve grown through the summer before heading inside for the oncoming cold months.

The ones best avoided at calving time no longer want to trample you to death if you even dare to glance at their calf, the strong mothering instinct having waned over the summer.

Aside from deciding to go in completely the wrong direction, leaping into bogs and flattening fencing, their unruly behaviour is never directed at me or any of the helpers.

Or at least that was the case up until last week and as luck would have it, it was my card that was marked.

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A young bull calf took an instant dislike to me and what started out as a few threatening stares progressed to him charging at me with intent.

The laughter from Paul and the others soon ceased as they realised this not so little chap meant business.

An open field suddenly becomes no man’s land when a cow decides to turn on you and no amount of experience is enough when an angry bovine is bearing down on you.

With an abundance of trees and fences to take cover behind plus Casey’s quick action on the quad bike, I managed to remain intact, but my guard was definitely up.

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By the time we’d pushed them through the meadows and started up the long climb towards the pens, he’d lost most of his bravado, the wind knocked out of his sails and he loaded up without bother.

With Paul away on a lads’ boozy weekend to Whitby, John-William and I were left home alone and in charge of making sure everyone was fed and watered.

I enjoy working with the cows but I’m all too well aware of my vulnerability, especially with an eight-year-old in tow.

Bedding them down can be a hair-raising experience that I no longer feel comfortable doing.

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With cows trying to fling the straw in all directions, some doing the wall of death around the shed in excitement and some eyeing you suspiciously, what should be an everyday task can quickly get out of hand.

Desperate to help, John-William has snuck in to help me on several occasions. Despite being told under no circumstances must he come in, he fails to see the gravity of the situation and ignores my instructions.

This results in him being evicted with more than a flea in his ear.

Red-faced and angry, the straw fork is thrown in my direction amidst screams of “I’m not a baby anymore” and “Dad lets me do it”.

Thankfully, Casey was on hand to not only help with the cows but shoulder one of the many temper tantrums that occurred from the little guy.

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