My ‘lovely’ calves: Irish 10-year-old swaps cash prize for herd

image copyrightRTÉ

What would most 10-year-olds want to spend €1,000 (£860) on? Lego? Computer games? Maybe a lifetime supply of sweets?

For Irish youngster William Woods, a sudden windfall in a prize draw meant he was able to realise his dream.

So the boy, from Ballyconnell, County Cavan, spent his winnings on six calves.

"Cows are my favourite animal, so why not buy some?" he told Irish national broadcaster RTÉ.

He said rearing the small herd, which he bought after winning a draw at Christmas, had been more work than he expected, but he was enjoying the experience.

"I thought you'd just put them in a field, feed them meal and that's it, but I am pleased they've been hard work," he said.

image copyrightRTÉ

The young farmer told RTÉ he had already learned a lot from raising the calves.

"It's taught me you need to actually work for something because you can't just be sitting around on the sofa doing nothing saying: 'Oh my life's a mess'.

"You need to have something you're passionate about, I think," he added.

William is looking forward to a summer spent looking after his small herd.

"These lovely calves. I love checking them, make sure they're eating, make sure they're healthy, eating grass, all that stuff. If they're not eating, they'll get sick," he said.

"It's such a weird feeling because they're mine."

'Missed friends' over lockdown

He said home schooling and being away from his friends had been tough during the Covid-19 pandemic, with restrictions in the Republic of Ireland meaning schools were closed for much of 2020 and 2021.

"Home schooling didn't really work out in our house. It just didn't feel like school," he said.

"When I think of home I think of relaxing, playing rugby, football or looking at the calves, not school work.

"I missed my friends so much and I had no way of communicating with them."

image copyrightRTÉ

William, who wants to be a farmer like his parents, said that he doesn't intend to stop with just six calves.

"I'm proud of myself for buying them," he said.

"I will buy more next year. I'll rear these calves and sell them. Then whenever they're sold, I'll have more that will be a year old. It's all great fun."

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