Saturday, 16 April 2011
Good news and Bad news.
First the good news! The first few in-calf heifers have gone out into the fields today. They are not due to calve for a long time yet. They were separated as they stood in the loose housing and then the first lot were shepherded down the yard and out into the pasture. Unfortunately I was almost too late to photograph them and had no way of getting to the pasture to see them kicking up their heels. The rest - due to calve shortly - were left in the loose housing and they knew jolly well what had happened with the others because that is what alerted me to the whole thing - the noise of their mooing was frantic. "We want to go out too!!"
Now the bad - or rather sad - news. Friends called this morning and told the sad tale - all too familiar - of the lost duckling. They had been in the garden and had heard a tiny cheep-cheep and seen a tiny yellow fluffy duckling going up the middle of the lane, calling for its mother. They had tried to catch it to put it back on the beck but already, at only a day or two old, it is programmed to avoid humans and they couldn't catch it. Sadly I think we all know its fate. Mother ducks often have twelve or so ducklings but are lucky if two or three survive - foxes, stoats, weasels are predators, along with one or two of the raptors I suppose.
But it seems that if one gets left behind they carrying regardless - that is what they are programmed to do.
Last year a friend found a duckling caught in some water weed on the side of our beck. Together we took it to friends who rear day-old chicks under heat lamps. She put the duckling under there with a group of chicks - but still it died. These are wild birds and however sad it seems they really have to be left alone.
My son and his wife are away in Wales and yesterday he rang me - as he does every year - from the top of a Welsh mountain. This time it was one called Cnict - I can't find it on the map but it is in Snowdonia. One hears so much rubbish talked on mobile phones of the "I am on the train" variety that it is lovely for me (his mum) to hear "I am on top of a mountain." Not Everest I know, but a mountain nonetheless!