Marden talks about Breeding
Maes Howe, Long Meg, Hetty Pegler and I are in a field next to Pharaoh. Who’s the daddy? He’s the Daddy!
Throughout the summer I’ve watched as Maes Howe and Long Meg have had visits to Pharaoh to mate with him. Mating is such a strange thing and our emotions go haywire when we think about it. We want to mate. After all, we have an urge to have babies, but that doesn’t mean we’re particularly willing. I mean, I watched Maes Howe being led into Pharaoh’s field and though she said she wanted a fourth cria, she ran away from Pharaoh. I didn’t think she ran very fast, mind you. She spat once at Pharaoh which was a bit unpleasant for him, but soon she stopped and kushed so she and Pharaoh could mate.
Breeding is monitored by our people. Pharaoh mated with Maes Howe then she was taken back to our field. The day after, the same process was repeated by Long Meg. She could run faster than Maes Howe if she wanted. She’s fit. But again Pharaoh managed to catch her and they mated. It’s all very, very interesting. Our people get really engrossed. Hetty Pegler and I stared over the gate at the matings, gaining confidence and understanding for when it would be our time.
It was Hetty Pegler’s turn last month. We came back from the Newbury Show, and, boy, she was ready. She’d given Silbury, Brodgar and Stanton Drew a hard time on the journey to Newbury and was a right saucy little minx. A few days after our return she and Pharaoh mated and it all seemed to go well. I watched. I was earmarked for a visit to the stud next Spring. But I could stand it no longer. I wanted a baby, and when our peoples’ heads were turned I sprang over the fence straight into Pharaoh’s clutches. As I didn’t want to upset our people I then jumped back into the girls’ field. Three days later I jumped into Pharaoh’s field and we mated again. I was a bit slow getting back and our people discovered me in the ‘wrong’ paddock when they came to feed us tasty pears from the orchard. They were feeding Pharaoh and he was very happily munching away, when I couldn’t help myself and ran to the top of our ‘King-of-the-Castle’ mound and snorted loudly. I was announcing my presence – letting Pharaoh know I no longer thought much of him. We girls are quite dismissive of the stud after we’ve mated. We like to reassert our independence. No cow eyes for us.
Our people took me back to the girls and they realised I might have mated twice with Pharaoh. I’d had a ‘felted back’ you see earlier in the week, and this is a likely indicator of mating, but they’d dismissed it
I’m happy. Our people are concerned because if I do have a cria, it will be in October next year and it could be cold. There is talk of ‘cria coats’ and ‘hot water bottles’ whatever these are. So, we’ll all sit and wait and perhaps by the middle of next year we’ll know if I’m pregnant. If not, a regulated Spring mating for me.
Someone (not our dear people) said I was a Hussy, but I don’t know what this means. Not sure if it was a compliment.
More mating news from Old King Street Farm soon.