Richard returned from a visit to Wales to fetch Rue’s mother’s camper van with a surprise addition to the team, a Welsh sheepdog called Roy. In theory they’re meant to be better cattle dogs than border collies, but as he’d been trained on sheep and only seemed to understand Welsh, Rue remains to be convinced. After a few weeks of being rather nervous, Roy began to settle in and learn his job as official herd dog. He’s learning to move the cattle about (if not always in the same or right direction) and helped retrieving calves during the great winter move off the marshes—a stressful and very busy few weekends struggling to get them all off with the river rising and the grass running out. There was a bad moment in the gathering dusk one evening when Rue realised we’d taken the wrong cow with one of the calves, but the right one was soon recaptured and almost all are now in the right place for the winter. Roy moonlights as a poultry flock-dog, and has been practising fetching a herd of fallow bucks who raid the horses’ field.
We entered the annual British White Cattle Society herd competition for the first time this year. The judges seemed somewhat bemused as they did a last minute tour of the cattle, dashing between heaths and marshes and viewing the last lot by headlights. We were delighted to be presented with the “Enterprise Cup” at the AGM in September, in recognition of our efforts promoting the breed for conservation grazing.
Back to previous page