In February this year I made my first trip to the abattoir.
We delivered two Highland cows in a trip I felt I had to make if I was going to rear cattle.
It didn’t sit particularly well with me but some things just have to be done and do you know what, in the end, it was fine. The cattle were calm, the abattoir was calm and it was pretty straightforward in a practical sense.
Emotionally it wasn’t too bad either, but it wasn’t easy.
Earlier this week we began to plan the next trip to the abattoir with two more Highlands.
But, after spending a further 8 months with these two on the farm since the last trip, I found myself in a bundle of emotion.
The very thought of booking them in sent me over the edge and when the time came to make the trip I couldn’t bring myself to go to the abattoir. Instead I ducked out, stayed on the farm and cleaned out he sheds.
Emotional connections to beasts you have reared for four years are bound to happen, although I’ve learnt that these need to be kept in check.
On our farm, we see the beasts every day, and this immediate connection is where, maybe, you can become too emotional about them.
I don’t mean that they start to become pets but they automatically make up a big part of life on the farm when you see them so regularly and they are with you for so many years.
It’s been a rollercoaster of a week in terms of emotion but the cows had a calm and stress-free trip to the abattoir and as the cycle of life continues they will now bring pleasure to the tables of many people.
As with the transfer of any beast off the farm their absence is felt, but I think this particular trip was made harder as these two were the last of our Highlands, we are now solely a Hereford farm.
As the change settles in you realise that this is just what life on a farm is like. I’m thankful that these wonderfully stubborn Highlands had such a glorious, organic life on the farm and in the future we may welcome the breed back.
Now it’s time to finish preparing the winter sheds for the Herefords.