I came across a book in an old house at the weekend, documenting cows being brought to a Shorthorn bull that was resident on the farm. The book recorded the date, the name of the cow, the name of the owner and most important of all, whether they paid or not.

The dates were all in the 1940s and talking to locals, this was a regular occurrence during the first half of the 20th century. One farm would keep a good Shorthorn or Hereford bull and people in the area would bring cows to the bull and pay a service fee to use it. It may seem like torture, walking cows distances to neighbour’s bulls, but I am assured that cattle were a lot quieter back then, having been tied in byre set ups during winter and milked by hand.