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Thread: Bullocks on the Path

  1. #1

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    Bullocks on the Path

    Walking near the South Devon Coast Path, I encountered this 'deputation' which didn't intend to move aside!

    Bullocks on the Path

    Luckily, I just wanted a bit of shade to have a quick snack and check what I had previously photographed so I didn't want to any further along the path.

    They also appreciated the dappled shade, although it made exposure selection a bit tricky.

    And the next day meant another batch of bovines, young cows this time, but I had to go through that gate, towards the top left corner.

    Bullocks on the Path

    I just started photographing them until they eventually cleared. But they were difficult models and refused to do anything that I requested.

    This guy, however, was a bit too heavy to argue with; and he just kept walking in a straight line while pushing everything aside, like this cow. This quick shot of him was the only clear view that I managed; and I certainly wasn't going to run after him shouting 'Smile for the camera, Sir'.

    Bullocks on the Path

    Coming from a rural area, they don't worry me; although I am always aware of the size/weight difference!
    Last edited by Geoff F; 11th April 2011 at 06:37 PM. Reason: photos added

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Bullocks on the Path

    As one who grew up on the farm and groomed many an animal for cattle shows and then led them round the ring, the one thing the 'old boys' always told you was that when getting your prizewinner photographed, always make sure it's perfectly in profile and that the front feet and slightly above the back feet. They used to spend ages getting the thing to stand right before they'd allow a photo to be taken.

    Not sure what that young Aberdeen Angus bull is doing in there with young dairy heifers, but if he was there to do 'his business', then I'd be very wary of being in there without a stout fence between me and it.

    The first one is a good picture of young cattle. It shows how curious they are and interested in everything.

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    Re: Bullocks on the Path

    As you say, Donald, trying to get 'wild' cattle to stand correctly for you is a hopeless task. As I moved to a different angle, so did they.

    The bull is certainly looking a bit 'keen' which is why I kept my distance.

    I'm not sure which breed the brown and white animals are but I have always found them to be a lot more curious than the 'standard' Friesians.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Bullocks on the Path

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    I'm not sure which breed the brown and white animals are but I have always found them to be a lot more curious than the 'standard' Friesians.
    I'm not a dairy person, but I think they're Ayrshires.

  5. #5

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    Re: Bullocks on the Path

    Thanks Donald, that was also my untutored first thought; but I'm a fisherman not a farmer.

    I don't know why they have just two or three of them amongst a herd of Friesians unless the farmer has a particular liking for them and they aren't as commercial as the Friesian.

    I know that some farmers used to include one Guernsey cow in each herd because they always became the herd leader which made the others easier to handle.

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    Re: Bullocks on the Path

    The red and white cows could be either Ayrshire or red and white colour variant Holstein-Friesian. Ayrshires tend to have a slightly smaller stature with smaller udders. They have a slightly higher fat content in their milk, which could be why they are there in a commercial herd.

    I suspect the Angus bull is there to make the calves more "beef" type than dairy. This would be to increase their value for sale as slaughter animals. Unfortunately dairy calves are only created to bring the cow back into milk production and, at least here in Canada, are more of a nuisance than a benefit to the farmer as they are worth nothing and cost money to create and raise.

    I second Donald's words about the risk of bulls. The Angus, and most beef bulls, are pretty docile but still dangerous and unpredictable. If this was a dairy bull; those guys are stone killers and I would never enter a pasture containing one. I grew up in a dairy farming area in Ontario in the 50's and 60's and at least one farmer a year in our area was maimed or killed by a bull. Most dairy farmers have gone to artificial insemination and with less bulls the risk is much lower.

  7. #7

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    Re: Bullocks on the Path

    Seeing that bull is the chief reason why I stepped aside and just photographed a few cows while they all ambled away from the gate. He seemed 'relatively docile' but I was surprised to encounter him while walking along a National Trust footpath.

    Last year some farmers in this area had trouble with dog attacks on their sheep and most appear to have now replaced sheep with cattle in the at risk areas.

    I don't think any dog would tackle this chap though.

    But there have been cases, elsewhere, of dog owners actually being injured by cattle although people without dogs have had no problems.

  8. #8

    Re: Bullocks on the Path

    Most dairy farmers have gone to artificial insemination
    grew up on the farm and groomed many an animal
    Er actually no - I am not going to say anything - too many agricultural types to take offence - anyway whatever I said would be bullocks

  9. #9
    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Bullocks on the Path

    Artificial insemination is no bull! (And probably those bullocks are steers which is also no bull)

    By the way, Geoff, I quite like the first image of the erstwhile bullocks

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