Team Building Manoeuvres
When checking the herd these past three early mornings, I have found it busily grazing the Wilden Lane end of Hillary Road Field. I’m pleased with what they have achieved so far, and they are dealing with the rough vegetation there without complaint. Each morning I marched the herd out of Hillary Road Field and into the South Riverside Pasture to reinforce the fact that the cattle are free to roam the South Marsh. In the past, I have found it difficult to get the cattle to stay in Hillary Road Field; I think this was because they feared my locking them in.
To get the herd into Hillary Road Field I would leave the South Entrance Section gate open. The cattle would watch me walk away. Sometime later I would creep back to shut the gate. When the cattle saw my approach, they would run out of Hillary Road Field gate to avoid being locked in. They now have the confidence to follow me in and out of Hillary Road Field without hesitation.
TEAM MANOEUVRES: Today we continued our team building manoeuvres, which involves the herd following me, en masse, over difficult boggy ground, and across drainage ditches. The purpose of the maneuvers is to imprint upon them that they must follow me immediately, and also to improve their confidence over difficult marshy ground. I then lead them back into Hillary Road Field to continue grazing. It’s early days, but this new approach seems to be working. Fortunately, I have the time to indulge and invest in the cattle.
LEAD COW: Waynetta has learned that she is to call-in and assemble the herd around me when I whistle or call. I have no idea how this happened! She has always been happy to respond to my calls and whistles, and I think the other cattle just followed her. Over time she has become more willing and I suppose I reinforced her useful behaviour. She is now a very helpful cow indeed. I am very interested in finding out how far I can take her willingness to please.
FEAR: The herd’s negative reactions to fear can be dangerous. Lameness, pelvic injuries and hoof damage can result from tripping and falling. It’s important that cattle are able to move comfortably and confidently, en masse, around their environment in all conditions and weathers. A herd should understand where it can and cannot venture safely.