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Intensive stocking


She walks along a road across a dry plain, turns off on the farm track leading to her cousin’s place. Battered races and pens crowd about in yards. A small sign carved with the family name belies their wealth. Her cousin walks toward her, driving calves: if one bolts, should she jump out of the way or steer it to a race on the right? He signals right, and she helps guide them there. Kittens follow, litter after litter of grey and white fur-balls. Her cousin grabs their scruffs, throws them along the race toward the pen. Babies crawl next: many fat-haunched intent babies, one with a tattoo on its thigh. She says, ‘The odd one will work out how to climb the fence.’ Straightaway the tattooed infant climbs onto the wires, over-tipping to the far side. A huntaway is on it – some cocky’s dog. The baby’s head is hidden by a fencepost, but the body goes still. Her cousin says, ‘It’s tucker.’




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