We bought our first eleven Belted Galloway yearling steers about three months ago from a local breeder (more about that later), with the idea that we would run the Belties against ten Black Angus yearling steers to see which performed best at Binalong.
Seemed like a sensible idea to us…
However, you learn quickly it pays to take your time in the country, to see what the lie of the land is before making any decisions as mistakes can be costly. Needless to say, our eleven Belted Galloway steers turned out to be not only expensive but, as they were delivered off the cattle truck, it became apparent that the yearling steers had come straight out of the bush and were, shall we say, rather agitated.
Now, the idea with cattle new to a property is to keep them in the yards for a day or two so as to calm them down and then release them to do what they do, which is to eat grass. Did we do this? Ah, no. We decided to drench and ear tag the beasts and then let them roam free. Just so you know, ear tagging involves taking a giant ear piercing tool and sticking a plastic identification tag to a steer’s ear. It looks like it would hurt a lot and, if I was a steer, after having my ear pierced, I would want to, well, kick the shit out of the cattle yards and then bolt to the deepest recesses of the farm, taking out a fence or two and hide from my new owners. And, this, in fact, is what our Belted Galloways did.
Not to be defeated, however, we pressed on with our purchase of our Black Angus steers but enlisted the help of a local, Robert Bolton, who, in addition to being a good bloke, is also an experienced cattle farmer. Robert offered to attend the local weekly cattle sales in Gloucester, with the promise of picking up some more “manageable” beasts. True to his word, Robert delivered ten beautiful, fat, Black Angus yearling steers which, in addition, to being a hell of a lot cheaper than our crazy Belted Galloways, exhibited none of their psychotic behaviour.
You live and learn I guess.