Gormellick Dexters

Dexters on the farm

Liskeard in the distance Little Gormellick farm is close to the market town of Liskeard, Cornwall. The church tower can be seen. The viaduct carries the main railway line from London and Plymouth to Penzance. This top meadow has not been seeded for decades, and many of the older varieties of grass grow there: the cows also know this.

Find the hens The poultry have a free run over half the hay field - and they, too, know the grasses and herbs have a vintage taste.

Inspection time Whilst Denise and some relatives admire part of the herd, Mike throws sticks for Peg, and surveys the state of the land.

Change of pasture The cows see Mike walking towards the gate of the adjacent field, and they know he is going to open it, to allow them to graze on fresh grass, and so they scamper up the hill.

Another hilly field Within minutes the cows settle, to enjoy the fresh grass from the "new" meadow. It is part of a steep sided valley, but Dexters can cope well with hilly terrain. Small fields make it easy to rotate the grazing.

Mother protects The cow watches the photographer out of the side of her eye, and makes sure she is ready to protect her one-day old calf from whatever might happen. Dexter cows are invariably good mothers.

Cousin protects The six-week old calf flopped down beside his one-day-old cousin, for company, and also to protect her. Dexters bond closely, from a very young age, into a close-knit herd.

A new winter calf Dexters can give birth alone and outdoors, and it is healthiest for them to be in the open. If the weather is very cold, or a problem is suspected, then the protection of an open barn is helpful for the first few days.

Saying hello The Gormellick herd is moved into a barn and yard for the wettest months of the year. Although Dexters remain content in the fields, even in cold and rain, the ground can get churned to mud, which then prevents growth of spring grass.

Ahh! An inquisitive young red Dexter calf.

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