We have a small herd of a dozen or so Welsh Black cattle, most of which are pedigree. But we are interested in some of the ancient colour forms which were part of the breed until it became standardised, so we may be taking on a red bull.
They are all named, and are like members of the family. Our first calf was called Sion, the second was called Harri, and we just carried on with the letters in the Pet Shop Boys’ song – S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G. Now we are on the letters of TROLLEY!
Babi is our oldest cow. She has a heifer calf at foot, but before that she had three bull calves! She is small and generally easy to handle.
Rosi has half a horn on one side, which gives her an odd look. She is an experienced mother, and very undemonstrative. She will allow herself to be hand milked in the field with her calf nearby.
Anna is a beautiful cow, the youngest mum in the herd, and would probably take over as top of the peck order if Sioned were not around to keep her in her place!
Sioned is the boss. She is very large, but exceptionally affectionate. She has repeatedly failed to take when we have tried Artificial Insemination, so clearly prefers a bull! So far she has only had bull calves, which have done exceptionally well.
Here are Babi and Sioned’s calves from last year, Puw and Iolo.
The herd has to pay its way, but it does this not only in meat, but in grazing our hay meadows and keeping them full of wildlife.
Find out what they are up to in the diary.