We transported CH Tabor Thunder, the 3-year old registered Scottish Highland bull who fathered our two calves, home for a 10 week visit yesterday. Our hope is he'll rebreed both Sheila and Bridgit and sire another year's calves. If all goes well, we can expect to meet our next crop of newborns sometime between mid-November and late-January.
He's a red mahogany bull, the mahogany referring to his dark red color with blonde dossan ("bangs") and tail switch. We're hoping T-Bone might inherit this coloration.
Tabor was easy to load and haul and probably laid down for most of the 2-plus hour trip to Tenino. Once inside the paddock with the girls, he put up with Sheila's minorly aggressive behavior, standing with his head slightly down while she bumped and lightly horned him. (Bridgit stayed clear and let Sheila communicate the house rules.) Within 30 minutes, though, he lifted his head high and proceeded to check out his surroundings.
It seems Sheila is either just coming into or out of heat as she's showing definite interest in Tabor, and vice versa. In fact, until late this morning she would chase Bridgit away at the first sign of Tabor checking her out, almost as if out of jealousy. The two are sticking fairly close together, while Bridgit prefers to stay some distance away. Apparently tussling is an act of foreplay or something; we've heard the tap-tap of their horns clacking together several times.
Tabor also met the chickens this morning, possibly his first close encounter with poultry. He, like the calves, crept toward them out of curiosity, only to have the hens run. He seems to find Brewster the Rooster offensive; I saw him put his horns down and charge Brewster once this morning. Poor Brewster...trouble with ladies and cows.
T-Bone is enthralled with his father (does he know?) and has attempted to mount him several times (between animals not in heat it's often a dominance thing, while when someone in heat is often mounted by another animal (male or female) in response to her changing hormones). T-Bone has mounted his mother and attempted to mount Bridgit a few times before, but has shown a determination around his father that is quite funny, as each time Tabor wheels around a little faster and more irritated to run him off. We suspect T-Bone will learn a lesson if this behavior continues, not that he won't deserve it.
Annabel is curious about the visitor, but cautious. If Tabor is busy, say, drinking out of the trough with his back to her, she'll tiptoe up from behind to within four feet or so and sniff, but if he looks at her, or (gasp!) comes toward her, she skitters away. I wonder if she's responding to her mother's apprehension?
So far, our experience with Tabor confirms reports he's easy and gentle. However, a bull is a bull, so we will keep our eyes on him at all times when we're in the paddock with him, and be prepared for anything.