The Chillingham Wild Cattle breed all year round, so calves can be born at any time of year. Some unlucky ones will be born in the depths of winter, whilst the more fortunate will emerge in a perfect spring. This spread calving pattern does mean that the calves will meet a spread of weather and so a year’s production is unlikely to be wiped out by a period of extreme weather.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the busiest time for calving is the spring and early summer when the cows should be getting fresh grass and be full of milk. With a 9 month gestation period, this means that high summer is the most likely time to witness mating, when the cows and bulls are in peak condition.
With mating, comes fighting! It is now that you are most likely to hear the bulls bellowing challenges, see the dust fly as they dirty themselves in their scrapes and hear the clack of horns as they clash. It is “winner takes all” and the loser can sometimes pay the ultimate price…….