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Friday, June 6, 2014

Checking the Neighbours Cattle

We have been baby sitting next door's farm while they attend a wedding overseas. They decided to make a holiday of it and stay away for two weeks. It involves only having to cast an eye over the five herds every two to three days. This is done by rotation and some herds which don't have calves only need a weekly look.

Most of the time it's possible to tell if there is a problem with cows and calves because one or the other will be vocal if there is an issue. But not always and a visual scan and count can't be beaten. Cows and steers on their own are usually safe enough but a regular eyeballing can't be beaten especially in steep or rougher country.

One group of 13 cows high up on the back of a hill which can't seen from our house and is a solid 30 minute walk up a steep mountain have been a bit elusive and only 11 have been counted. But coming back from Dungog the other day I noticed that there is a clear view of the side of the hill and the cows could be seen but not well enough to perform a head count.

Today I drove around to the Dungog Road with a pair of binoculars and performed a successful count. Thinking I was on a roll I went around to another section of the property which is visible from yet another road to see if I could tick off a second herd. Yes and no. The cows and calves tallied but no bull in sight. It was a bit worrying to see that one of the cows was in season and no bull paying attention. The concern resulted in a long unplanned walk. The bull was contently grazing as far away from the cows and calves as he could get oblivious to the fact his services were needed. Obviously he had had enough of mums talking about their babies.

All was not lost as a third herd was ticked off from that road position as they stood displaying themselves clearly up high on this side of the hill. Yesterday I was able to sign off on the fourth herd which had grazed up to our back fence.

Just one more herd to count off tomorrow and we are all done for the owners return in a couple of days.

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