he first stock to arrive at Spring Creek were our Belted Galloway cows. Why belties? Well, they are very cute, aren’t they? They’re also relatively small, which makes them popular with small land holders, and my sister (who is married to a dairy farmer) thought that if we were going to have beef cattle, they should certainly be of the “teddy bear cow” variety as she refers to the breed!
Belties are originally from the Scottish Highlands, and as such they are very well suited to our cold winter climate due to their double coats (one short layer of hair plus longer hair that grows on the out side making them look fluffy and cuddly). Their double coat makes them fairly hot in the Australian summers though, so it’s not unusual to see them all taking a swim in the dam together in summertime to cool off (seriously!)
We started our herd with 6 registered Belted Galloway cows from Mike and Chris Penfold at Alcheringa stud. They all came with names – TiddlyWinks, Yeranda, Yatta, Nonie, Weetbix and Turandot – and were supposed to be in calf (pregnant).
As it turned out, we ended up with only 2 calves the first year – born right in the middle of a freezing winter. There may have been an extra one that died after birth (our neighbours thought they saw it but we didn’t see any sign – probably cleaned up by the foxes and eagles before I found it).
Two years later and our breeding program hasn’t been great, but we have managed to double the herd to it’s present size of 12.
As I write this I’m about to go feed them now. They’re getting some
hay to help keep them in condition over our cold and frosty winter. I love hand feeding them too – when they see me coming they all run and start mooing as they get quite a gallop up coming from all sides of the paddock to have a treat for the day!