Now that they have been on site for a week, the galloway calves have settled down and are starting to establish some kind of rhythm. It was a sensible idea to put them in with some older cows, and to begin with they established themselves as a separate group operating within the pecking order of the dominant animals. As the days have gone by, this tight-knit, nervous group has relaxed and they now spend their time in a much looser formation. There is one particular calf which has not settled, and I must say that I knew that she was going to be nervy when I first saw her in September. Her ears are always up and her attitude is much more cautious and observant than the others, which waddle around peacefully through the mud like stocky little tanks. I chose her because I loved her markings, but she is the first to freak and run away at any sudden movement, and she always hangs well back when I go in to see the others. It will be interesting to see what becomes of her.
The creep feeder which was designed to let the calves feed without admitting the cows has not been used at all, probably because the galloways have never seen a metal box before in their lives, and the expensive pellet concentrates I bought earlier in the week will probably go soft and mouldy before they are ever eaten. The same is true of the salt block which I have set out for them on the grass and which has been slobbered on by the old cows without stirring much interest from the calves. I daresay they will learn in due course how to handle both concentrates and minerals, but for now they are content to tuft the silage out of the trailer like “grown-ups”. In actual fact, they don’t really know what to do with the silage and prefer to mouth it half-heartedly before dropping it, trampling on it and then pulling out a new bit.
It all seems very promising, and I couldn’t resist sharing this picture of the view down to the Solway this afternoon from the high field where they have made their home.