I moved the herd from the south to north marsh on 1st July (last Saturday), and it went like clockwork. Today the plan was to move it the short distance into the new Falling Sands Nature Area to give it a second grazing, and the process was a nightmare.
Trying to move the cattle from the swamp, their most favourite place on the marsh, during their midday rest period was not one of my better ideas. It quickly became apparent that they didn’t appreciate my intrusion and had no intention whatsoever of cooperating. I considered ways to outsmart them, but nothing worked. I ended up pushing the cattle individually into Hoo Brook Corridor and then walking them the twenty metres or so into Hoo Brook Pasture, three at a time. It was too hot a day for such heavy physical activity.
With the cattle safely in Hoo Brook Pasture, I opened the gate to Hoo Brook bridge and called them: completely ignoring my calls, they stayed as far away from me as possible. After considering my options and not wishing to let the herd win the day, I walked out of sight over the bridge and stood at the nature area gate. My options were few, but this was not the first time I had locked horns with the marsh cattle. Perhaps I should play a long game and engage the herd’s curiosity. I gave a few special whistles and waited for things to happen. Perhaps ten or maybe fifteen minutes later, hairy heads began appearing through the vegetation. Curiosity had got the better of them and they were crossing the bridge. This is what happens when I stress the cattle: they ignore me for a while, or they do something silly and unexpected. Either way, they make me pay for my stupidity….