Animal stories, Highland cattle

Running on empty

O dear, I’m not popular. Before setting Ali loose on the animals at the weekend, I dropped a new bale in two ring feeders – at the calving paddock and the hard standing.They are both due for a refill – well, almost.
Normally I would wait for the inaccessible fodder to collect in the centre of the ring like a termite mound, then pull it and heel it against the metal sides. Here even the horned animals can reach easily through the gaps in the tombstone feeders to catch the last of the bale. With the floor clear I am ready to tip in the next precious 4×4 roundbale.

Now, because I topped up at the weekend, there is still the residue from the previous bale to finish.
I grew up with small square bales (long before the big round bales took over I remember thinking- how on earth do you stack them? – a bit like seeing the new diesel locomotives lined up alongside the steam trains – Nah, they’ll never catch on)- and I still measure my wealth in hay by the small bale standard – I reckon I have two such clogging the base of the feeder. Too much to waste.
But it’s acid and rank, parts of it mildewed and heating up- not good for stomach or lungs. The animals pick at it, and stand looking at me expectantly, waiting for me to crack.
But these are hardy animals – bred for thin fare on bare winter hills.
Toughen up guys, you’re highlanders after all – what do you expect? – horse hay?

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