|The three curious cousins|
|A fence creeping up into the woods|
The type of vegetation varies widely from area to area but there are oaks throughout (and the acorns are an absolute cow favorite,) some eucalyptus, Acacia (another Australian introduction, which is edible for them, unlike Eucalyptus.) The underbrush is made up primarily of brambles and a small spiky bush called gorse (which was a new and very unwelcome thing for this Georgia girl.) Wild chestnut trees are also common and in the fall the nuts are a delicacy for the animals! The cattle are able to eat most of the vegetation with the expection of eucalyptus. That said, there are some things that they prefer to others and will only be eaten in moderation or after their favorite things are gone. For this reason we supplement their diet with a bale of hay daily with the exception of the first day that they are in a new area. In the first year that we were on this farm we did not provide this daily hay supplement and found that the animals would get impatient and have a stronger tendency to escape the fence even when it seemed to us that there was quite a bit left that they could eat. To compare it to a person, we are able and might enjoy eating artichokes but if you were put in a room with a few cookies and some spegetti and lots and lots of artichokes you might have a few artichokes each day but when the spaghetti and cookies were gone you wouldn't be very happy to go on eating artichokes all day, every day. By giving them a daily ration of hay they are able to spend more days in a given area and eat more of the vegetation. In the meantime, those extra days mean more walking around and lying down which diminishes the dangerous underbrush that contributes to hundreds of forest fires every year in Portugal.
|Happy family in the woods...|