Five facts about the Leavesden Country Park cows
04th October 2022
Why are cattle good for the local environment? How are they looked after and how do they affect the land on which they live? Those were some of the questions which were answered when residents met the new herd of cattle which are grazing land in Leavesden Country Park.
If you missed the opportunity on Saturday 1 October to meet the cattle and question our grazier – the person who looks after them – fear not, here are our top five facts about the herd of Red Devon cattle which are bringing environmental benefits to Three Rivers district:
As the herd of Red Devon cattle move around the field grazing they trample the dropped seeds from wildflowers into the ground, increasing their chances of germinating.
Timing is everything
If the cattle were left on a piece of grassland for too long, there would be a risk of overgrazing of the vegetation or poaching of the ground. Poaching occurs when the ground is wet and muddy, the cattle’s hooves compact the soil leaving deep depressions in the ground. This compaction prevents both air and water from penetrating the soil, exposes the roots of grasses to the air allowing them to dry out and also creates trip hazards. Therefore, the timing of cattle entering and leaving a grassland is carefully timed and will depend on the weather and ground conditions.
The pitter-patter of tiny hooves
All of the cattle on the Horses' Field are female, and therefore called heifers. It is hoped that they may all be pregnant, ready to give birth in the spring by which point they will be at their home farm under the careful watch of the grazier. In the majority of cases the heifers will not need the grazier's assistance; but they will be on hand just in case.
From ear to ear
By law every cow has at least one yellow identification ear tag. On this tag are a series of numbers -some of which identify that the cow belongs to the grazier and the rest form a unique identification number to the specific cow. This allows the movements of the cattle to be recorded and also returned to the correct grazier in the event that they escape.
Therefore, if ever you are in a position where you see a loose cow out of its field, and it is safe to do so, try to read the number on the ear tag. This can then be given to the police who can contact the grazier.
The grazier checks on the cattle every single day. Sometimes this is a quick check from afar, but every few days this is an in-depth check of each cow to check that they haven’t got any injuries, issues with their feet, eyes or ears and are behaving normally.