We have some new ladies on the croft. Two new Dexter heifers, and one female calf have joined us on the island. This is Madame, here - she is due to calve around Christmas time. She is a beauty - very friendly and gentle. We are hoping she will become our milk cow after her calf has been born. Lots of learning to be done there, and we are currently sorting out a place to do the milking - most likely down at the old barn. Fortunately, one of our neighbours, until fairly recently, kept a milk cow, and he has been a wellspring of wise, practical advice.
The other two - Celia and her heifer calf, Gretel, are a bit more wary, and don't tend to come too close. See, they are still wearing their lot number stickers from the auction, and won't let us remove them. Ah well, I dare say the Lewis rain will deal with that in time. There is a fair bit of work to be done to get these girls used to us though. When we were all down the field the other day, Celia got quite skittish when she saw James, and made a run at us. I think we must have got between her and the calf. It was a very scary moment seeing a horned beast charging towards us. Fortunately she backed off when John shooed her away, and we trudged, rather shakily, but chastened, back up to the road.
Gretel is 5 months old, and Celia, her mother has apparently been 'running with a bull' over the Summer, so we are hopeful for a calf from her in April or May. Lets hope we can earn her trust over the next few months then.
Delia and Baby, our original two cows are still there, but are currently in a different field.
That is because they have company!
Gorgeous Georgeous, our neighbour's Highland Bull is spending some time with them right now. Isn't he magnificent? He is like a Viking! We cannot imagine what the offspring will be like. A Highland/Dexter/Belted Galloway cross? Everyone is highly amused at the idea, but whatever the result, it will be beautiful.
We had hoped to have our AI operation up and running by now, but we have suffered a few setbacks with the logistics. We decided, after taking advice, that it was more important for Delia and Baby to be in calf, sooner rather than later. Now we have made a few useful contacts, and found out a lot more on actually getting the AI straws and equipment to the island, so we are hopeful that from early next year, we should be able to keep the continuity of the Dexter breed in our wee herd.
So - another step along the crofting way - the beginning of another vertical learning curve. Never a dull moment, to be sure.♥