The Blue Faced Leicester’s seem to have given up lambing as we haven’t had any new arrivals for almost a week. Unfortunately it looks like we have two empty and so far only one gimmer lamb. Definitely the year of the tup!
There’s been more action in the cow shed, with our beloved “Chockie Wockie” giving birth to a huge big bull calf leaving just one more to calve.
Chockie is a gentle giant, who loves any sort of a fuss. She’s a cross of dairy cow and Simmental and is John-William’s favourite. Along with Chockie, there’s only a handful of our cows that have been blessed with one of John-William’s names!
Orangeo who is of course bright orange, also known as the arm breaker. An accident several years ago involving her, the cattle crush and the vet resulted in one broken arm for Paul and a nickname that would stay with her forever.
Bucking brown is another. She’s brown and she bucks alot! Bedding down with straw is play time to her, not so much us! Anyone unfortunate enough to be on the opposite side of a round bale of straw will get flattened as she thrusts her shoulder in and tosses the bale in a wild rugby tackle. She’s not particularly friendly, infact she’s quite sly and I never turn my back on her.
I always keep a wary eye when I’m feeding or bedding down if she’s close by.
Calving time of course, always brings out the other side of cows. The minute their calf hits the straw, a strong maternal instinct kicks in and the otherwise placid bovine you’ve been feeding all winter turns into 700kg of wrath, directed straight at you if you even dare to look at their calf.
Bucking brown takes this Jekyll and Hyde trait to a whole new level. Just entering the shed sets her off. Her calf is briefly forgotten as the feed barriers take a pummelling as she throws her enormous brown bulk against them, emitting a great deafening bellow, warning you to stay away.
This angry display tends to set the rest off. Like a great clarion call, they all become alert, uneasy. The blue grey cow is quick to join in with Bucking brown along with a few other, wide eyed, staring beasts, whilst the black Herefords remain passive and uninterested. I often wonder what planet my husband is on when he asks me if I’ve sprayed the navel of a new calf or suckled one. A cursory glance is about all my nerves will allow!
Despite being told repeatedly by my Mum to rest and take it easy, it’s impossible with so much work ahead of us.
However, without the help and incredible support from friends and neighbours, we’d have never got through the last month.
Flowers, gifts and cards from strangers, kind enough to think about us have been so gratefully received, we can’t thank everyone enough. In a world that seems so full of anger and animosity, the generosity shown has been a breath of fresh air and left us quite humbled.