Last week, we revealed that Sooty the bull had beaten Puzzle, Squire and Prospero to win the Facebook poll to officially become South Ormsby’s favourite bull. John Crutchley, our Herd Manager, was delighted at the outcome as Sooty is a really special bull and is the great-grandson of John’s favourite bull Charlie (you can see a photo of John stroking Charlie’s forehead in this previous diary entry). John has an equally good relationship with Sooty who will also allow him to pet him – although we don’t recommend others seek to engage in this… it is definitely just John he allows this privilege!
Sooty ready for his
Admiring the view
in the Parklands
Sooty was born back in 2013 on 15th February and he weighed 34kg. This was a good weight and led John to believe that along with his shape and genealogy he would make a good bull. Sooty’s parents were Rumford Goodfellow and Rumford Lucia (or Sire and Dam as they are correctly titled). He is now 5 and a half years old and weighs in at about 1,050kg. Before the mating season, he would have been even heavier at approximately 1,200kg.
Sooty is currently in a field with 24 cows and their children: 16 heifer calves, five steer calves and four bull calves. He is worth over 5,500 guineas as he is pure bloodstock and will be expected to be ready to mate and help us expand our herd again next April. The gestation period for a cow is almost the same as that of a human, 9 months and 1 week.
Sara Bright looking
at one of our many trees
Working out a plan to
visit all the trees
Despite his size, Sooty is content on a diet of grass and silage, but he does enjoy a bit of barley in the winter. Whilst he is normally a docile creature he is not afraid to stand up for himself as he proved when Puzzle escaped from his own field and challenged Sooty! John had to separate the mighty beasts with the help of his teleporter. It is not a job for the fainthearted!
Elsewhere on the Estate, Sara Bright was out and about carrying out a tree survey for us. Sara is an arboriculturalist who had received some of her training at Riseholme College as well as the highly respected college at Pershore. She has quite a task ahead of her as we do have several thousand trees on the Estate.
One of the leaves on the the
field maple tree
The field maple tree in
all its summer glory
Of course, the Estate has been home to several keen tree planters from Drayner Massingberd-Mundy in the 1650s, right up to the Squire, Adrian Massingberd Mundy who died in 2012. We are equally keen to promote tree growth and manage the woodland in a responsible manner. Sara will report on dangerous trees as well as if any have Dutch Elm disease or Ash die back.
Sara has a few favourites that she drew our attention to including the silver pendant limes, a beautiful field maple at Driby and a giant beech tree in front of Calceby Manor. She talked to us about our veteran trees, how they developed character over the years with hollows, crevasses, bumps and growths, and reminded us that they acted as habitats for thousands of insects, fungi and animals. Some of our trees are between 200 and 300 years old!