Crunchie and some of his herd

Richard and Rue's news from 2005

Elder & Eyebright

A bad start to the year, with a fallen cow on the Forest. The vet diagnosed BVD (don’t ask—it’s not what you might think), but eventually we realised it was poisoning from the heavy 2004 acorn crop. Most of the cattle just got fat, but Elder was still suckling and couldn’t take it. We nursed her for a week but sadly she died, followed a week later by her calf Eyebright. Another heifer, Genista, remained very sick and wouldn’t eat anything. She was saved by Huckle, who showed her what was safe to eat, and she made an excellent recovery—she’s expecting her own first calf next year.

The end of an era

Despite a long rest through the winter and lots of treatment, by spring it was clear that dear old Crunchie’s arthritic hips were getting worse, so his long career had to come to an end. He was 14, a fine gentle bull whose genes at least will live on in our herd and many others. His son Avocet (now two) is already looking good as his replacement, sharing duties with the other mature bull, Windsor. We’re also rearing a couple of this year’s bull calves to see how they turn out.

The final instalment

The penultimate instalment

Photos: Above -- Crunchie & some of his herd. Right -- The penultimate instalment.

Another year, so of course Huckle was in the river again—this time having been swept 400m downstream and over the weir. After a lot of struggle we hauled him out and moved him to another field. However, three weeks later he was back in again, and sadly it was third time not so lucky. Huckle was a gawky beast who didn’t come to much (or indeed anything), and never quite understood what was what, but we were fond of him nonetheless.

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