End of the summer grazing

The cattle are now home. We had 20 cattle on the commons in Cambridge. The council like having cattle on the commons as it saves them money and time in keeping the grass cut. Also they get paid by the people who own the cattle and they can claim government grants. It does also bring the town back to a more oldey worldy vibe. Of how things used to be and the Chinese tourist seem to like seeing the cattle there.

It was a commoner’s right to graze a cow on the commons in Cambridge. If you lived in Cambridge and owned a cow then you could put a cow on the commons. But when the Cambridge cattle market shut back in the 80s as with many markets in the centre of towns. The land became to valuable for building. And with more townies moving in the smell and the sound of the cattle were enough to force the close of the markets to close.

So the council now has to allow people from outside Cambridge graze the commons. We have now had cattle on the commons in Cambridge for over 10 years. We get our haulier to take them out when the grazing season starts in April and we get them brought back late in October. We do not have to worry about them till they come back unless there is a problem. The pinders (a person) who has the to look after the cattle while they are on the commons. They check them daily and feed them and put them back in if they have escaped. So we can rest assured that they are in good hands. Which leaves us the small task of looking after the 70 other cattle that we have. But we have lots of friends who live in Hixton where our other cows are grazing. As one lovely lady put it “I have a duty to keep an eye on them being as they are at the bottom of my garden” . This lady was hanging out her washing and at the bottom of her garden fence lay a 2 day old calf called Derek. The lady had been watching the calf and Dorothy (it’s mum) left the calf alone for 1 hour and the calf had flys on it and a magpie kept coming near it so the dear old lady stood at the bottom of her garden swigging a tea towel over the calf to keep the flies off it and to chase away the magpie as she thought the cow had abandoned her baby. She spotted dad and I turning up to check the cattle. And came running over to tell us about the abandoned calf. I reassured her that it is not uncommon for cows to leave their caves to go off grazing and as I approached the calf Dorothy Suddenly looked up and come running over to protect her baby. So a cow may not appear to be paying any attention to it’s calf but if a fox, cat,dog or human approaches it then they come running back to protect it. Cows often have a baby sitter when there are more than one calf. They leave one cow to look after the calves while the rest of the herd are grazing but if the cow on baby sitting duty spots danger and calls out the whole herd goes into guarding mode. Ps there are more people hurt by cows guarding their calves then people being attacked by bulls as there is no bond stronger than a mother and it’s child. So if you are out walking across a field do not get between a cow and calf and keep your dog on a lead but if chased by the cows then let your dog go as the dog will always get out of the field and then are less likely to be injured by the cows trying to attack your dog.

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