French breed of bull has that certain je ne sais quoi as he woos Elsenham farmer Nick Herbert's herd
A French breed of bull is causing a stir among the females of a herd in Elsenham – and attracting online interest too.
The five-year-old Parthenaise on loan to farmer Nick Herbert and his 30 cows weighs in at around 750-800kg (118-126st) of solid muscle.
He arrived from his home in Canterbury, Kent, earlier in August to spend 42 days at Fullers End Farm, where it is hoped he will impregnate the herd.
Nick posted about the bull's arrival to warn villagers not to enter his field, although so far he had proved to be "a lovely quiet chap who goes from farm to farm doing what bulls do".
He added: "We have him on loan as he's a very expensive bull. Because we farm in the village, there was such a reaction when people saw him – he's a very impressive animal – and we just wanted to let people know not to walk into his field with their dogs.
"He's a nice quiet boy who doesn't chase the cows and everyone says he's one amazing chap and what a fine-looking bull, but they should be aware that they mustn't go near him as he could suddenly turn. Just him turning his head round can knock you over!"
The breed – named after the town of Parthenay in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of western France – was formerly raised for milk, meat and draught work, but is now raised mainly for beef, which is low in cholesterol.
Nick said: "Some bulls go on to weigh over a tonne, they're huge, and he's typical of the breed: very fine-boned but heavily muscled and the meat is very fine grain.
"When we turned up with the trailer to collect him, he races onto the trailer because he knows exactly what the trailer means!"
The bull doesn't have a name, Nick added, although his cows do – and Molly in particular was very interested.
The females are Dexters crossed with Simmentals or Red Polls and should produce calves early next April.
"They live outside all year round, they're true free-range cattle, so some of the cows might just be pregnant by now. I've seen him cosying up to them anyway," said Nick.
"We keep the females and sell the males for beef when they're about two-and-a-half years old." The bull will carry on with his work until he is no longer able to.
Nick also has 180 breeding sheep on his farm and has been helped out during the coronavirus crisis by his 13-year-old son Charlie. "My wife works full time so during Covid he's become a full-time farmer and is very good."