A brilliantly sunny dawn broke with my cup of tea this morning; after the dismal weather we’ve had lately, it’s a very welcome change.
There was no need to search the north marsh for cattle, because they were waiting in Hoo Brook corral enjoying the infrared heat of the early morning sun. The two belted Galloway’s coats warm up very quickly in sunshine and, with the air temperature being quite sharp, laying my cold hands on Waynetta’s radiator-like coat soon gave them a rosy glow.
The herd watched with indifference as I separated Buttercup and walked her through the gate and down the ramp into Hoo Brook corridor. They watched my return and climb into the hay feeder with raised ears twitching. I knew I had their attention, and they were maintaining their composure. The sound of cattle nuts tumbling from the bag into Buttercup’s bucket was just too much for them to bear; they lurched forward jumping, bucking, mooing and bellowing. They soon had their necks and heads stretched through the feeder rails, and their waving tongues fully extended.
I climbed out of the hay feeder, barged my way through eager cattle, and ran the gauntlet to the corridor gate with Buttercup’s bucket swinging in all direction to avoid the persistent lunges of Wayne and Waynetta in particular. They pushed and shoved me to the gate, but failed to knock the bucket from my hands.
Buttercup’s calf was left with the others in the corral, whilst I fed her mother. As Buttercup ate her breakfast, I wandered down for a look at the river. Ten to fifteen minutes later, I opened the gate and let the rest of the herd down the ramp and into the corridor. The calf rushed over to Buttercup with an amazing and touching display of affection for her mum; Buttercup was not having such sloppiness and pushed her daughter away – it’s a hard world for a small calf.