I opened the local newspaper the other day to find a story about a cow which fell into the river Cam. On closer inspection of the photo I realised that the cows in the photo where ours. The paper reports that the cows looked concerned. To be honest they are very curious creatures and probably wondered what all the noise was about. It is not uncommon for cattle to fall in rivers especially when they are used to drinking from them. As all it takes is for one to lose it’s balance or to be knocked by another inpatient cow and they are in.

There are people in Cambridge called Pinders whose job it is to look after the cattle on the common land in Cambridge.They are paid by the council and by the people who own the cattle and they are on call 24/7. It was one of the Pinders who walked our cow back across the road after it got out of the river on the Hilton hotel lawn.

We have  it on good authority that one of our cows regularly swims backwards and forwards across the river. The Pinders put 9 of our cows one side of the river and 11 the other. Cattle are very good swimmers. Our cattle are used to being walked through rivers as the grazing land we rent is all water meadows and we find it easier to move the herd as a whole through the rivers rather than splitting them up and moving them by road in a trailer. It is also much less stressful on them. They are natural herding animals and get upset if you split them up. Cows are generally very inquisitive creatures. Many of our cows enjoy being stroked and they all come to a call from Dad. Not many people know that cattle can tell the time.

We once had a cow called Alice. She was from a dairy herd. We bought her to rear calves on as she was a good milker. We could not understand why a cow from a dairy herd did not milk better than she was. Then one afternoon at 4 o’clock Dad was walking round to the cow shed when he heard a sucking sound. There was Alice beside the gate where we kept the calves. She had positioned her self beside the gate so the calves could reach her teats. As he watched when they finished sucking one side she turned round so they could do the other side. The mystery was solved. And every day at 4pm and 4am the same thing would happen as these were the times that Alice was used to being milked. But she would only do this with Aberdeen angus (black) calves. She was a Freisan cow (black and white) but if you tried to put a black and white calf on her , she would jump out and she could clear a 6 foot fence from a stand still.

So cows can see clours and tell the time not so stupid after all.


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