Thursday, August 06, 2009

Cattle expert needed

One of the things that surprised me as we boated round the fens was the number of herds of beef cattle gazing the marshy meadows. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised as it is obviously very lush pasture. We often saw herds straying into the water, not just to drink and keep cool in the hot weather but often to graze on the bankside rushes which they appear to like a lot.

I used to think I knew a little bit about breeds of cattle, and in my youth we didn't see much other than Herefords with white faces like those in the picture above and the once ubiquitous black and white Friesians, but now we see all sorts. I was totally unable to identify them in a number of cases and I suspect a lot of cross breeding goes on.

Look at these at Cogenhoe.

The rather handsome bull (left)might be a red poll I think, but the cows are something else

and the resulting calves come in all colours.

Then this herd somewhere else on the Nene seem to be a small breed, perhaps a bit of Dexter? I don't know - and once again they come in a range of shades.

Any experts out there? For once, Google cannot find me answers!

This last one, seen at skulking in the long grass at Wicken Fen is easy of course, being a Highland. These are much used by the National Trust and other conservation groups as they eat anything and are good for keeping wild areas from getting too overgrown with plants that don't belong there.


Matthew said...

I wonder if those part-red cattle are Ayrshires?

Neil Corbett said...

They might be Ayrshires although I always thought they were more splodgy in pattern as if someone had thrown paint at them :-)

VallyP said...

What a lovely post. I do so like cows. There do seem to be quite a mixed crew there though. The small ones are interesting! Maybe they've mixed jerseys with Dexters? I always wanted to have a few Dexters myself...along with some bantam chickens and whatever small breed of sheep I could find....goes with being a small person I suppose.

VallyP said...

Hmmm, more than a week without a Herbie post. I'm getting withdrawal symptoms!