Marsh Shetland Cattle.
30th June 2012: The cattle are removed from the marsh before the growing season gets seriously underway, preventing them from eating important emerging marshland and meadow flowers and plants. Letting them graze for as long as possible, though, helps reduce the amount of invasive Himalayan balsam.
Now that the majority of the important plants have bloomed, the cattle are back chomping away at copious amounts of sweet grass, and other vegetation that they like to eat. They are happy ruminants; able to pick and choose the most tasty morsels. There are four cattle on the marsh at the moment: two cows and two calves. So it is easy to monitor what they are doing and the impact they are having on the vegetation. They really do an excellent job of controlling the Himalayan balsam growth; I have been surprised at just how effective they are.
As I have mentioned before, I am a big fan of the Shetland cattle; they are very hardy, capable and docile animals. I am always glad to see them. I think they find me interesting as they gather around me and are often just a few metres behind as I walk along.
I probably appreciate the cattle more on cold, dark winter evenings.