Ramping up of hormones as spring looks to be on the way and daddy bull turns voyeur

CAN spring be just round the corner? An insistent blackbird is singing very loudly each morning and hinting that maybe it is.

Even the occasional sunny, dry day is reminding us of seasonal changes. And there is a definite ramp up of hormones in the chickens and guinea fowl with more eggs and a lot more hanky panky.

More than a few feathers will be lying when the bull goes back into the herd. Nearly all the cows have calved now.

Just a few persistently late calvers remain to surprise and confound John by dropping their calves mid summer at some far orner of a field.

Usually these are the older cows in the herd that have somehow gone out of sync, perhaps by not holding in calf when first served and then being successfully served at a later date.

Daddy Bull has turned into quite a voyeur, spending much of his day peering through a gap into the main foldyard where the herd is, and sussing out the talent.

He is even refining his mating skills on some of the young bulls who share his yard. I tell you, same sex relationships are quite the norm here.

Even in the foldyard, cows that come into season and have no bull to satisfy those urges, mount other cows and cause havoc rampaging around.

Millie, our Jack Russell has spotted that there is an increase in squirrel love life around trees in the paddock that advertise luxury dray opportunities.

She spends hours sitting at the bottom of a particularly fine des res, determined that no squirrel will sully her reputation as chief vermin terminator. When she is dozing peacefully, it only takes a mere whisper of “Cyril squirrel” or “Rats” to send her into frenzy. Simple pleasures are all we ask for.

But we have offered her another job this week, one she has completed with relish, and ease. Mouse hunting.

Mice are polyestrus and can breed all year round and certainly do in our house. I have traps set in all the rooms, usually hidden so as not to surprise and startle visitors.

The mice that located the Christmas nuts in the front sitting room have now all been caught, we hope, but scuttling in the attics and a sudden rush to my head that prompted a clear out in the attic bedrooms, revealed evidence of even more little visitors.

Johnwanted revenge. The mice have feasted on his chest waders, rod covers and fishing bag.

All of which if he had hung them up (nag, nag) would have been safe. But tossed onto the floor were fair game for Mrs Mouse and family. Millie and I went in to the first room and shut the door.

I pulled everything out, beds, boxes, bags. A scuttling alerted Millie. In she darted. Snap, snap Game on. Not as much fun for a Jack Russell as a rat or squirrel, but it’ll do, and for the moment, we are mouseless and she is have a zizz.

Mrs Downs Diary