Animal stories, Farm Life, Highland cattle, Uncategorized

Babies have the longest road

Little Jess is delighted: the ducklings have hatched.
Mother duck is sitting still. There are eggs under her and three ducklings poking out from under her downy breastfeathers.
The long grass and stems on the island have been flattened by frost and rain, so the female mallard has no cover apart from her colouring that blends with the wintry vegetation.

She attempts to look like rock.

Once the rest of her eggs have hatched: her frenetic soot balls will find their true element on the water, and safety from predators.
For now she must sit- and wait –
while Jess and I hope for a good morning.

There is another young survivor on the farm road this evening –
Moira’s half calf, a quasi autonomous republic,
population of one
or even
one half
who watches his mother up to the yard to be fed and penned
and stays cropping the sweet grass at the base of the birches
for a good hour
before shambling
up to the bucket of nuts I had placed there for him.


With just a litre of mother’s milk coaxed down his reluctant gullet,
he has made it up the road
thus far.


3 thoughts on “Babies have the longest road

    • I know what you mean – seems absurd but the thought crossed my mind.
      I do still oblige him to down a litre a day (he should be taking on 5 lts a day!) just to keep his fluids and minerals up – more than that would be unproductive I think.

  1. and another conversation – i reckon life is played out in reverse in so many ways. When women get to 50 they turn back in age – which has so many benefits – I have reverted to a 5 year old who speaks of her age in eager terms as nearly six – well I am looking forward to my 46th – just 47 3/4 right now….
    You are doing such a good job with George.

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