Left to run wild, The Wild Cattle of Chillingham change from placid cud chewers to potential killers.
The Chillingham Wild Cattle are never handled; they can be dangerous to people. They are easily capable of killing each other. You will see how most of the bulls – and some of the cows – are scarred from fighting. Because cows can conceive all year round, the bulls must compete with each other for the chance to mate.
The cows are fiercely protective of their calves, they care tenderly for them – provided they are strong and healthy.
At the moment the herd numbers around 100, and half of these are bulls. But in the past there have been far fewer – there were only 8 cows and 5 bulls in 1947, after a bitter winter.
As no new animals have joined the herd for at least 300 years, one of the big scientific questions is how do they cope with all this inbreeding? You could argue that scientifically, they cannot exist!
Come and see for yourself that they are indeed here, in their ancestral home next to Chillingham Castle, less than 10 miles from the magical coast of North Northumberland and close to Alnwick and Berwick.