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lost bull

lost bull

I lost my brand new bull. How on earth did I manage that?

Yesterday I had a mass of work I needed to do so Robert said he would check the animals first thing. I’d finished the morning chores and was about to settle down to work when Robert shouted through the kitchen door.
“The bull’s missing!”
“What?” I called down
“The bull’s missing.”
“He can’t be…no, you’re joking?”
“He is. The new one, the little one. I can’t find him.”

This is not something I wanted to hear. My heart popped into my mouth and my stomach fell into my feet. My head filled with visions – a young, scared bull on the rampage. Oh my god, the damage. To him, to others. No, don’t think. Focus…

He, and the two heifers he’s been running with, had been put into Rushy Field; the main herd were grazing the Rutleighs – just up our lane from them. All the cattle appeared content and settled in their groups. But, so it seemed, sometime during the small hours, the heifers, or the bull, had pushed and broken down a small section of fencing. They had escaped through this.

Cattle tend to stick together, whether they’ve broken out on purpose or inadvertently, they don’t split up, and they will always try to make for their own herd; if for some reason they become separated they will scent their way to the nearest group of cattle. The heifers had made their way up to the main herd and were bawling on the other side of the gate safe and well…but the bull was nowhere to be seen.

Robert had made a cursory check of the immediate fields but couldn’t find him. The morning light at this time of year is low which makes it difficult to see animals under the hedges or in the shadows. But why wasn’t the bull with the heifers? They were his security and would have taken the lead (they know our land): the main herd full of females would have been the logical magnet.

We split up and searched – under hedges, in ditches, along field margins, hoping to find some sign, a broken fence, smashed gate, cow pats, as to where he was. Nothing. Having combed the most of the fields adjacent we took to the roads. I went left, I went right, I scoured every cow filled field, I asked every farmer and I drew a complete blank. He appeared to have disappeared.

My imagination was getting the better of me now. I envisaged fields of raped pedigree heifers. Perhaps he was on a rampage of destruction and devastation? Gored and injured people scattered willy nilly? Or maybe he’d been stolen. Law suits and bankruptcy danced before me.

We reconvened at the house. We’d been looking for him for over three hours and were none the wiser.
“He’s got to be on the farm.” said Olly “Someone would have phoned by now. I mean, a bull on the loose?”
“You’re right, there’re no messages on the answer phone. No note. No one’s been down the lane.”
“But the strange thing is, he’s not shouting. If he’s out there in a field by himself, you’d think he’d be bellowing by now?”

So we decided to have one more concerted search on the farm. I’d track their marks up the lane and see if I could work out how they’d become separated. I followed every mark, up the lane, down the lane, looking at dung and working out prints (thank heaven for mud!), examining every bent twig, not a clue. Giving up, hot and desperate and praying for a sign, I made my way back when something made me look up and there, in the middle of Cow Moor, a ring fenced, hedged and ditched block of land was the bull! He was okay, a little nervy, but nothing untoward.

What an immense relief.

bull found

bull found

Well, I’m speechless. Lost for words. Flabbergasted.

Severn, one of the sedate elders of the herd, came bulling.  Although she’s getting old and still has a large calf sucking, on Saturday morning she was in full flagrant heat and kicking up a rumpus in the cow palace.

As the cattle are inside Mr Big is no longer running with the cows and calves so I walked her round to his pen. He was delighted at this diversion, not having had any action for a month or more, and began his chat up line without a moment’s hesitation.  Sniffing, licking, snorting, nose crinkled up towards the heavens, nose ring practically touching his eyebrows in excitement and anticipation. Drooling and sweating, he gauged a couple of minutes to be enough foreplay and attempted to mount her.

She was having none of it. Tail clamped firmly down she shimmied and sashayed away from him at the crucial moment. Frustrated, but experienced, he resumed his advances. I left them to get their act together and got on with the chores.

After about an hour or so Mr Big was still having no success and his frustration and impatience was beginning to overspill into aggression.  So I decided to move Severn in with the new youngster, the toy boy.

I couldn’t believe my eyes… she she flashed him a long, smouldering, come-hither gaze as soon was she through the gate of his pen, and with barefaced brazen lust  presented him with a backside on fire and stood as firm as a rock as the show began. Rampant, raw, unrefined sex exploded throughout the cow palace. Mr Big howled with damaged pride at one end of the shed while the new ‘Mr Small’ roared in virile sexual frenzy at the other.   Severn, respectable Miss Marpleseque Severn, coudn’t get enough of it!

After a couple of hours of non stop activity the pair settled down to a late breakfast, exhausted and replete.  Her belly full and libido sated, Severn demanded to be returned to her calf; she swaggered back to the cows with this almost human smirk. And I swear the grin hasn’t left her face yet.

severn and her new 'toy' enjoy a late breakfast!

Severn and her new toy, Mr Small, enjoy a late breakfast! Now I understand it was not for nothing was she duped 'Seven of Nine' - of Voyager fame (see ear tag, and her name...)

Locks Park Farm

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I have a small organic farm on the Culm grasslands near Hatherleigh in Devon, with sheep and beef cattle. I've been farming in the county for more than 30 years. I've set up this blog to share views on farming and the countryside - please do give your thoughts.

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