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Introductions over fodder

In the aspen paddock
behind the high fence
at the bottom of the hill,
lives Angus Halfhorn
and his four ladies: Holly the buff-coloured dun, black Abby, red Alice and yellow Demi Og.
They have calves at foot: two red, one black and one white.
Today I am accompanied by Caroline and Mike.
I skoosh the nuts through the fence into the trough to avoid the confusion of competitive foraging, and then enter the enclosure to empty the bag into the second trough.
The cattle move restlessly between the two looking for advantage, but, food finished and nothing to be gained, ease back into their customary placidity.
As we stand by the feeder the animals move slowly, assessing. The babies bunch together apprehensively.
Angus has his head lowered to the trough for the longest time.
Holly moves forward to the feeder where Caroline and Mike stand.
Holly is not looking for silage:
‘L
ower your face’ I say to Caroline,

but mind the horns!’


Holly raises her head, licks her nose,
breathes the breath of another female,
another mother.

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