Cattle have their own ways of communicating – no great surprise in that I suppose! The problem for me is understanding what they are trying to communicate. Leaning against the Tenant Farmers Field northern gate on Monday morning, I watched the cattle grazing way down at the southern end of the field. Normally when I arrive, the cattle come running. They glanced my way a few times so they knew I was there, but the herd wasn’t showing its usual enthusiasm. A man walked across the Rhombus Field and they knew he was there, too; they gave him a chorus of bellowing and moved slowly in his direction. He might have been checking the electricity pylon. Anyway, the cattle’s bellowing and interest in the chap was a bit lacklustre. The cattle are not happy, I thought. I walked over to the herd, but they moved away from me and sloped off towards the north gate. So I walked to the south gate and waited. One of the Galloways looked my way and let out a few bellows and began running towards me, quickly followed by the rest of the herd. They formed a semicircle around me at the gate and stood rooted to the spot staring at me. They are bored with this field, I thought. So I took them with me for the rest of my round. They danced, skipped, mooed and bellowed when I opened the gate and called them through.
Arriving in the south entrance riverside section, the cattle saw another herd on the west bank of the river. Well…the fuss they made was incredible. They bellowed and mooed as loudly as they were able: Belted every tooth, as my father would say. Wayne, the belted Galloway, bellowed like a mad thing in between turning his bare backside towards the other herd and lifted his tail. The herd on the other side of the river showed no emotion whatsoever. It struck me that the marsh herd originated in Scotland and Scottish folk have greeted the English similarly for millennia.
I shot this video this morning. Watch how my helper, Waynetta, gathers the stragglers.