Animal stories, Chooks, Farm Life, Highland cattle, Uvie Farm

Who’s running this place – me or the Nog?

It is mild, near 10 degrees, but with wind and rain I worry about Holly giving birth on the exposed Apron. I need to bring her and Billy (can’t leave him behind without any womenfolk- he’ll damage himself trying to jump fences, damage the fences in fact) up to the yard. The current pens are not large enough to house the extra residents, so I spend the day clearing space and extending the area housing Abbie and her baby. I release them: the new arrival prods tentatively at the mushy soil like a paddling pensioner, and then stotts off into wider space with his tail up. I haven’t seen him since: Abbie has hidden him among the rocks and birches.
The Nog is my companion in this work.
Routine 1 – Nog the poultry predator
The chookies are behind the pen with Holly and Alice. I clean it each morning, refill the hay rack, spread nuts for the girls and corn for the chooks. The Nog is stalking the chooks ‘Leave them alone!’ – he knows it’s wrong but as soon as my back is turned he slinks back along the metal rails – intent, dangerous. If cocky is still shut in the house, he squats with his muzzle pointed like a howitzer at the air grille.
Routine 2 – Nog and the quad
I run the quad up to the yard each morning from the garage. The Nog waits for me to leave and then races across country like a Western badhat to ambush me at the junction. He trots down to the Apron and Aspens, but on the return leg he insists on a ride – launching onto the seat with a flurry of farm mud. Leaving the Apron, I close the gate behind the stotts and he knows he has to run now – for his life- belting back down the road, round the bend, I follow as fast as I dare, and up the slope to the garage once more – ‘I’m catching you, I’m after you – I’ll run you down’ – he gallops furiously ahead of me ears flapping wildly.
Routine 3 – Digger Nog
He loves watching the business of the JCB, being a part of its grunts, rattles and heaves. He has learned to clamber up the back wheel onto the 4ft high cab platform to join me- but only from the left side. The other side is complicated with the levers so he won’t attempt it. Trouble is – he will sometimes cross under the machine risking being pancaked. I start out of the shed very carefully, wait as soon as I am clear for the fourlegged passenger at the bus stop who launches himself upwards as soon as I open the door and heads to the rear of the vehicle with a self satisfied shake of his metaphorical brolly.
Routine 4 – Nog and the sofa
His favourite – enough said.