You may remember that Roger decided to expand our animal base whilst I was in the UK back in spring 2013, and bought two large Dexter calves, Buttercup and Daisy. During the summer they proceeded to grow gently, develop the start of a fine pair of horns and wonderful winter coats, they grazed quietly and were much admired by local farmers who had rarely seen such tiny cows – the local breed being the won named Blondes d’Aquitaine, and are ‘proper’ sized cows rather than short legged miniatures.
Summer passed and December came bringing with it Buttercup’s first heat. Not having any bulls in the vicinity she promptly fell in love with a chainsaw located across the valley and bellowed to it constantly for the next 24 hours, the fact that it only responded during working hours did not deter her… After that peace returned to Molles, and the family arrived for Christmas.
21 days later the heat returned on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, our first inkling that our calm was to be shattered was when our neighbour’s car sped down the drive. We went out expecting to exchange festive greetings only to be asked if we knew where the cows were. “In their field” we replied, “oh no they aren’t ” said he, “we found them half a kilometer up the lane” and have them cornered in a field”.
Action stations! Hurling on boots and coats we headed off to the rescue. Just before the end of the lane where they could have headed into Montpezat or gone north into the Lot we found our neighbour’s daughter, smartly dressed, gracefully brandishing an elegant bright yellow umbrella holding the girls at bay.
With Roger rattling a bucket of cow nuts, our neighbour’s family blocking off gateways we slowly shepherded the two escapees back to Molles, my daughter and athletic cross country runner of a son galloping over ploughed fields to get them back on the road whenever they broke for freedom – we have few hedges in these parts to keep them to the straight and narrow.. Finally, recognising home they put on a burst of speed, overtook my husband who was to lower the electric fencing and headed onwards and downwards to a field we borrow by the river for our donkeys where my son managed to stop them fording the river into the next department, where lived the chainsaw, and shut them in with two rather bemused donkeys.. Several days later two rather subdued cows followed the donkeys back Molles.
Shortly afterwards Daisy too was old enough to come on heat, and she too fell for the chainsaw….. We created our own version of Fort Knox, a paddock heavily electrified into which the cows were shut every 10 days as the heats never coincided! Finally, I persuaded Roger that it might be better to sell them to someone who could find them a husband, something I was not willing to do as our Gites are often filled with families with small children who love going into the fields to pet and feed the animals. A charming Dutch couple responded to our advert on LeBonCoin, and on a sunny March morning they left for a new life On a smallholding in the Lot, an area they’d been striving to reach on a regular basis.
So ended out experiment with bovines… Fortunately for my peace of mind, my husband has now de-registered as an ‘eleveur’ with our local Chamber of Agriculture, phew… Or as he says, until the next time!