WALKING into my friend’s kitchen, I gingerly stepped over an assortment of tools. Our friend's son-in-law, a joiner, was altering the kitchen island unit. “Don’t ask why,” he said, “you will find out later.”

So, as we had arrived early, he suggested we “put the kettle on” while our friends finished some of their outside jobs. Most specifically, ensuring that the herd of red deer they farmed, was safely rehoused from field to barn.

“Can we help?” we asked, but were met with a polite but firm refusal. The question had obviously been anticipated. Red deer are a skittish lot. And as we are more used to handling cattle or sheep, moving a herd of deer presented a very different technique.

An hour later the rest of our friend's family returned. Two of the lads were eager to get off to a young farmers' ball. This keenness to rush matters, along with the deer herd, was the reason apparently that things had not gone entirely to plan. Two of the hinds and their calves were still in the run from the field to the barn, one hind narrowly missing scalping a son when it decided to jump over his head.

From field to barn there is a fenced run approximately a hundred metres long. Too long according to our friends. Most of the herd went straight from field into the shed and could be contained by a gate at the barn entrance. But this little group were having none of it. Racing back up the run to try and regain their field. It was too dangerous and too stressful for the deer to try to force them back down the run. So the plan had been abandoned for the night.

The reason for moving the deer into winter housing was because they were not thriving as well as to be expected out in their field. Two calves had been lost and as the success of the deer farming venture is dependant on rearing venison for the market, the herd was to be brought into winter housing.

Early the next morning the decision was taken to let the gang of four back into their field. And a gate to be made half-way down the race so that at the next attempt to bring them in, they did not have so much room to manoeuvre once they had entered the run.

This will be done after everything has had time to settle and the main herd has adjusted to life inside a warm shed rather than a muddy field. And hopefully by then the rebels will have realised which will be a more comfortable outcome. And the kitchen sorted too.