Scottish Highland Cattle Take 2

Reader Contribution by Hank Will and Editor-In-Chief
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<p>Now that it is dark when I get home after work, I try to do all my animal bonding and light-requiring chores in the pre-dawn glow before heading off to town. The&nbsp;<a title=”Highlands” href=”/blogs/cattle-from-the-highlands.aspx?blogid=184″ target=”_blank”>
<span style=”color: #0000ff;”>Highlands</span>
</a>&nbsp;are on their third small pasture paddock, and they still have a couple of days of good grass left before I open up the next break. These animals are pretty serious foragers and have cleaned up the brush in the pine grove very nicely. They also have made efficient use of a small creek for drinking, even though I keep a stock tank filled with fresh clean water in the corral.</p>

<p>I really enjoy working with cattle on foot using a combination of the&nbsp;<a title=”Bud Williams” href=””>
<span style=”color: #0000ff;”>Bud Williams</span>
</a>&nbsp;approach and a bit of common sense. In keeping with that low-stress approach, I like to be able to call the cattle into the corral &hellip; rather than whooping it up and driving them in. It worked with our Angus herd, so I figured it would work with the Highlands. In this case, I call once or twice (hey bos) and rattle some 100-percent-natural, 20-percent-protein cattle cake in a small plastic bucket. The stuff smells like molasses &hellip; I have been tempted to taste it myself.</p>
<p>This morning, even though I was out of town last weekend and part of last week, the cattle heard me feeding the&nbsp;<a title=”Mulefoot pigs” href=”/blogs/mulefoot-hogs-in-osage-county.aspx?blogid=184″ target=”_blank”>
<span style=”color: #0000ff;”>Mulefoot pigs</span>
</a>, headed to the corral and were waiting quietly for a couple of cake cubes apiece and a chuck on the chin. When the ritual was completed, they turned one by one and headed back out to the pasture. What fun.&nbsp;<a title=”Jack the donkey” href=”/blogs/guard-donkeys.aspx?blogid=184″ target=”_blank”>
<span style=”color: #0000ff;”>Jack the donkey</span>
</a>, who lives with the cattle, lingered to get his treat. His rank is pretty well in the basement of that little herd.&nbsp;<a title=”Valentine” href=”/blogs/guard-donkeys.aspx?blogid=184″ target=”_blank”>
<span style=”color: #0000ff;”>Valentine</span>
</a>, who lives in the adjacent paddock, waited to get her cube until Jack was finished. She also got her ears rubbed.</p>
<p>I can&rsquo;t really think of a better way to open up each day than with a glorious sunrise and some quality time with the animals whose lives so enrich ours. I cannot wait for the winter solstice to arrive &hellip; I am already anticipating longer days and more daylight on the beginning and end of the work day. I like the seasons well enough, but I thrive on daylight.</p>
<p>Highland cattle photo by Kate Will.</p>
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<a href=”” target=_self>Hank Will</a>
<em> raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper’s Farmer magazines. Connect with him on </em>
<a title=Google+ href=”” target=_blank rel=author>Google+</a>.</p>

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