Mob Cow Invasion

The problems of a new smallholding are many – pests, poor weather, water management – these we expected – but a mass invasion of calves? We admit, we weren’t ready!

mob grazing cows

Our plan this year has been to work on basic infrastructure and horticulture; trialling plant species, getting paperwork ready for tree works and Planning for the barn together with rectifying the un-managed ditches which all needed clearing to stop waterlogging across the farm. Needless to say, managing stock wasn’t high up our first year list – but at the start of April we got a nasty surprise.

Having finished his tree-works early so he could order some tool parts, Steve left the farm and about 4.30 I popped back for an hour or two to make further progress on the new seedbeds. I was horrified to find some 50 young cows all across our horticulture  and fields!

cows

Now I wouldn’t recommend charging at a herd of cows that are any older than these and even these big babies had some who were quite teenagerish – but somehow, with aid of a very large stick and lots of adrenaline I pushed the bloody things back into our not yet planted orchard and managed by some miracle to hold them off the plant area ’til the farmer arrived to steer them home.

tracks

curious cowOf course the seed beds were completely devastated and we’ve suffered damage to a wide range of our trial beds but thankfully most of the larger flower stock escaped with broken stems and some severe nibbling.

rose stamped on by cows

The farmer was thankfully very lovely – she farms across a number of fields adjacent to us and though its taken about a month to put things right she did thankfully cover the direct plant losses and offer us a trailer of manure to help things along which we’ll be very glad of.

We do want to be sure that they don’t come again though – she’s going to be fixing the gate they pushed over and on our side we’re working hard to finish our dead hedge which will give a better wind and stock fence for the future…  just adding the rabbit proofing now before the next mob invasion – happy days!

broken gate

wood

hoof prints

rose1