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Journey of a livestock looker – July

July 16, 2012

Summer presents new challenges for the Livestock Lookers in the Chase. This is July but it is not summer as in bright sunny days and balmy evenings spent in a chair on the patio with a glass to hand. No – this is summer as in bracken now having grown taller than the height of the back of a Shetland cow, as in heavy foliage on the trees making the understory quite dark and difficult to see through and this is summer as in extremely boggy patches much loved and frequented by the aforementioned Shetland cows.

If you are following me here, you will have grasped the fact that it has become increasingly difficult to find our four legged friends in the Chase these days. The cows have become much more adept at games of hide and seek. Indeed we think that they may well have decided that it is quite good sport to spot the lookers before the lookers spot them and then to follow along at a respectful distance behind the lookers so that said lookers never quite manage to see the four legged ones at all. We have had several frustrating forays lasting more than an hour, following the perimeter fence then crossing and re-crossing the Chase without seeing hide or hair of our charges. We tend to give up after an hour or so and then return later in the day, sometimes to be greeted by the sight of five contented cows lying down chewing the cud by the stream, possibly accompanied by the bovine equivalent of tittering behind the hand (sorry, hoof).

One morning after an hour long fruitless search we chatted to some walkers explaining our dilemma before returning home. Imagine the joy of a telephone call a short time later from Heather, our National Trust warden, to say that the cows were now just by the meadow. I hot footed it back to the Chase to find the ladies innocently tucking in to the juicy grass as though they had been there all the time.

Sharp eyed walkers may have noticed that Whitey has a sometimes angry looking abscess on her rump. She has been seen by the vet who has administered antibiotic on more than one occasion, which helps for a while but unfortunately the inflammation recurs. Three of us spent some time one morning persuading the cows to go into the meadow so that Whitey could be penned in the crush later to receive her antibiotic. The cows were not tremendously co-operative so it did take us quite some time but our patience was eventually rewarded and one by one they agreed to go in the meadow. Later that day we were called back to help persuade Whitey into the crush. By now there were six of us and under the expert guidance of Heather we achieved this with text book efficiency, driving them slowly up the field, along the hedge line, round the top of the field and into the crush went Whitey. A short time later having been sprayed with antibiotic and fly spray she was ready to join her companions in the field. Job done – another small triumph for the Livestock Lookers.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Harcourt permalink
    July 17, 2012 3:17 pm

    This blog was written by Mary Harcourt

    • Heather Fisher permalink*
      July 17, 2012 3:26 pm

      Absolutely! Mary does a fantastic job of writing about her experience with the cattle, we are lucky to have such a wordsmith among our diligent lookers. Thankyou Mary!

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