The snow stampede

For three days the croft has been in that ‘oh so magical until you need to work in it’ setting. The snow came Wednesday night and has decided to take up residence. No problem, most things are set up for ensuring all animals can get food and shelter. For the calves wintering outdoors, their ring feeder is still filled with the majority of the original large bale of hay. However, it is a useful tie to give them a bit extra and get them use people. As I filled up the buckets (yes, the same recycled energy buckets that are the same colour as the postie’s van and cause cow bandits to be in operation (see last post)), the calves appeared from the woods as if a secret whistle has been  called for them. I was then followed up the fence line like they were at a dog training session. However, they have always done that so didn’t think much of it. I was oblivious to their scheming. Little was I to know that as soon as I opened the gate I would be greeted by a stampede. Picture the wildebeasts in The Lion King. Only I wasn’t practicing a roar before the stampede. Lugs, who is the spokes calf for the three had his head in one bucket with such force I trying to keep the bucket and myself from going backwards. The second in command made a beeline for the open gate, I quickly dropped the buckets to attract them back (I know I need to do some running practice but I prefer planned sessions so the flash image of chasing the calves round the garden, house and car were not in any of my goals for the day). At the time I dropped the buckets to get the calves back, four of our five sheep nose dived for the garden (which was where I had left their bucket). See, this is one of the problems we have this year in that I ordered separate foods for the cows and sheep. To be fair, it was done in the autumn when the cows and sheep were out frolicking in different fields. No problem I thought at the time, the cow nuts are not suitable to sheep, nor is the sheep food supposed to be eaten by the cows, that will be easy to sort them. Ha, I take that back. This means high calibre tactics are enforced. The percentage of food in each bucket is determined by who has to be fed first, how you attract the right animals to the right food, who can defend their food the most, and how quickly you can run from one area to the other while getting five sheep to merrily follow you. The nose diving sheep were awarded a red card for their dramatics and sent back 50 paces…to their trough and onto their side of the fence. Calmness restored. Until….

I spot that we have one audacious ewe. Looks like I need to go back to the drawing board of feeding tactics if she can put her head into Lug’s bucket!

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