Muddled cattle, a nice big bolus and getting your head stuck...

The cattle have got in a muddle at Wallacefield. Somebody left the gate open and the two young bullocks have got into the same field as the four cows and calves. Not a massive problem as the cows are all in calf and the calves are all quite young, but a muddle all the same. They say many hands make light work and this is proved today as the Open Doors group are here to help and take on the task of sorting them out. I tried on my own last week tried to sort them and met with failure, I got Icarus half way across the field then Anne came over to see what I was up to and spoilt the momentum, he wouldn’t move any further. With 8 people we manage to hold the boys back whilst the cows and calves are pushed through into the next field. Sometimes it goes so easy you wonder what the fuss is about. And other days, well sometimes there just aren’t enough swear words.
One of the heifers has broken the trough. I guess it must get a little unruly at the watering hole some days as the metal box that protects the ballcock has been bent and isn’t protecting anything anymore. Cows have big heads and ours have lots of horns so a bit of damage is inevitable. It’s nothing a few whacks with a hammer, tightening the screws and judicious use of baler twine won’t fix. Hopefully they won’t jostle it out of place again.
The ewes are getting a bolus at Willowford. Just before the tups go in its important to get the ewes in tip top condition and hopefully get them off to a good start for the long (no doubt freezing) winter. We have invested in some slow release boluses that will sit in the stomach and release trace elements and vitamins for around 6 months. They contain Copper, Cobalt, Selenium, Manganese, Zinc, Iodine and Vitamins A,D3 and E. Now these boluses come in two parts, the actual tube of trace elements and the grinder that sits with it and helps break it up in the stomach. This combo is bigger than my thumb, not going to be a great thing to swallow. To say it is a battle to get it down the sheep is an understatement. Many of the Mules and Dorsets are no problem and it goes down relatively easily. Oddly enough considering their diminutive size the Black Welsh Mountains have no problems with it either. It is, surprise surprise, the Swaledales which cause the most problems. There is much wriggling, bucking, escape attempts and when all else fails, spitting it out on the floor. Some of them I despair we will ever get to swallow the thing. Liam is however locked in a battle of wills and eventually even the wild shearling Swaledales have had their dose. There is a slightly frantic moment about halfway through when we release one batch back into the field and suddenly see the distinct sight of a Suffolk rump leaping over the wall from the yard and down the hill after the ewes, Geoff has spotted the ladies and wants to say hello. Too eager Geoff, wait a couple of weeks and then you can get to work. We catch him after some running and a little shouting and don’t think any damage has been done, but only time will tell.
A lamb has got its head stuck at Wallacefield. The grass is always greener and this lamb has poked its head through the wooden gate at the bottom of the field to taste the forbidden fruits on the other side. Except now he is stuck, I’m doing my rounds and spot a wiggling bum and a lot of hoof marks. I don’t know how long he has been there but I can’t get his head out. I’m telling him what to do and twisting his head this way and that but it just isn’t working and he just looks at me in a resigned way. I manage to recruit some help and between us Julia and I manage to free him, you push I’ll pull. Delirious to be free the lamb staggers off in the wrong direction and runs into a fence. Calm down lamb! I catch him and walk him back to the field. At least I didn’t have to take the gate apart.


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