Cows leave Wheatland Farm’s Devon Eco Lodges for the winter

Today we walked the cows back up the lane to Higher Punchardon Farm, as the conservation grazing here at Wheatland Farm is finished for 2020. But not before George got a few selfies with Elgin…

Elgin was the smallest of this year’s 6 young cows. He was bottle reared, so has no fear of people. He’s still fairly small for his age. But he’s a lot heftier than he was back in May when the cows arrived for the summer. If he decides he really wants to rub his head up against you, you get a feel for the weight of him. And if he were to step on your toe by accident, you’d certainly know about it.

Our neighbours decided to walk the cows back to their home farm partly because the ground is already rather wet. If we’d had to take a tractor and trailer across the eco lodge field it would have left a mess. But it was also partly because they expected Elgin to come running for a bucket of food, and that he’d lead the others up the road at a fair clip. It didn’t work out quite that way. Yes, we were easily able to gently herd the cows into the right corner of the field to start the walk home. And yes, Elgin certainly showed an interest in his childhood friend Sophie, and her bucket of treats. But he really wasn’t intending to hurry anywhere.

Not being afraid of people, he had to be pushed and cajoled up the driveway and along the lane. Four of us were there, giving him an encouraging slap on the butt and trying to get in his way when he decided a mouthful from the verge would pass the time nicely.

The other five cows were way out ahead. They have more of a ‘people exclusion zone’, and so you can gently move them along by invading their personal space and encouraging them to move away. Plus, they were keen enough on the bucket to pretty much run after it, as it was dangled from the back of a landrover.

But such behaviour was beneath Elgin. If cow cake was being served up, it needed to be served up to him. None of this running after it nonsense.

So thank you to the patient car drivers. They had to drive the half mile from Wheatland Farm to Higher Punchardon at cow-amble pace behind Elgin and his herders. We apologise for the inconvenience, but at least it’s only once or twice a year.

Thanks also to our neighbours, Sally and Tony, for allowing the cows across their field, That avoided trampling all the grass in front of the lodges.