Thursday 18 December, 2014
There’s a saying “Where there’s muck, there’s money” – not so sure about that but muck management is certainly taking up a good bit of time at the moment.
Summer is relatively simple – we have about a wheelbarrow full of horse droppings every day; in winter this is supplemented by the daily mucking out from the bull and the weekly mucking out of the feeding area of the cows. Mid March will see the mucking out of the laying area for the cows then the stuff from the lambing shed in late April / early May.
Wednesday 10 December, 2014
When the vet was here last week, we were chatting about the cattle and I said tat I'd like to try multisuckling but it was hard to source calves locally, since Angus doesn't have many dairy farms. And of course, I'm very keen not to introduce any disease.
She was telling me that there's a new 600 cow dairy opening the other side of Dundee fairly soon and our vets will be their vets, so there may be the possibility of getting a calf or two from them. That would be good :-)
Wednesday 10 December, 2014
Finally, after a couple of false starts, we brought the female cattle home on Tuesday – Breeze, Blizzard, Annie, Bonnie, Sunny and Rosie. They’re now settled in the barn on a deep straw bed. The two bullocks are still at our grazing; I’ve put the wheeled hayrack out today, filled with straw, and a new molassed lick but I did feel a bit sorry for them. I guess Hamish is missing his mum L We’ll move them into a fresh paddock the weekend before Christmas – it has a wee wood attached, so has really good shelter for them.
Wednesday 3 December, 2014
Pleased to report that Tedis much better this morning - not yet sound but much improved and Breeze seems to be fine too. She was happy for me to touch her udder this morning and the calf was suckling from the quarter that was sore and Breeze was fine with that. Time these calves were weaned though - they're wee chunks :-)
Tuesday 2 December, 2014
When we took the tup and wether out on Sunday and up to Astwood, Tiny Ted was lame. I checked his foot and leg; I could see and feel nothing unusual so I was pretty sure it wasn't broken. I decided to give him 24 hours in case it was just a knock but yesterday He was still very lame and I caled the vet, who came out this morning.
Ted was actually a bit better today and the vet confirmed that it was probably a knock, and gave him some Metacam and a LA antobiotic.
We were having a look at the cattle when I noticed that Breeze was kicking at her udder and swishing her tail. Of course, I didn't have a halter but the vet managed to fashion one from a ope she had in her car. So we caught Breeze, tied her to the gate and had a look. She wasn't very happy; with our rudimentary cattle handling facilities - halter, gate and me - she was examined as best we could. She seemed to be tender round her off right quarter, although I couldn't feel any heat in it when I felt it. Anyway, she's had Metacam and an antibiotic, so I'll see what she's like later.
Tuesday 25 November, 2014
Wee Mak, the bull, is safely home. Why Wee Mak? Middle letters of his name "Kingmaker" and he's wee. At some point, he'll be Big Mak and then even later, "Big Mac".
He travelled well and has settled fine; he's naturally nervous as he's been running 1000ft up in the Peak District with the herd and little human contact. However, a morning bribe of soaked sugar beet with some calf nuts on top is helping him to settle down. He'll now accept a good scratch on his neck and shoulders. TBH, he'll be lonely and he likes the company, even if it's only a human.
Friday 14 November, 2014
Dan was preparing to drive to Derbyshire next week to pick up our new stock bull, Wharncliffe Kingmaker when we got the results of his BVD test. His TB test had been fine.
His BVD test showed that he was positive for the BVD antibody but negatve for the antigen. The negative antigen result means that he is not a PI; the positive antibody means that he's been in contact with the virus - this could be through contact with the virus itself or from vaccination. In young animals, the contact can be via the dam's colostrum. The breeder confirmed that the bull had not been vaccinated.
Wednesday 29 October, 2014
I don't want to bore you with tales of Taylor's sex life but so far, he's covered five ewes since going in on Sunday afternoon - Pixie and Poppy, Penny, Lucy and a coloured gimmer with a brown face, that's one of Niamh's twins from 2013. I never know their names until they lamb :-) Five down; ten to go.
Of course, one never counts ones lambs before they're up and sucking (and even then, there's no guarantee that they'll make it to sale), but this is the start of the process. In fact, it's not the start - the start was vaccinating the ewes against abortion, checking them for fitness and checking Taylor for fitness, so the sheep year really starts, for us, in early October, before that year's lambs are away.
Monday 27 October, 2014
Since we only have a small number of ewes, it's not financially viable to buy a commercial system for recording data about our sheep but I do like to have a record of some performance data - I couldn't possibly remember everything, or even anything some days.
So since 2009, our first lambing season, I've recorded how many lambs have been born to each ewe, date of lambing, sire, tag numbers. I now also record birth weights and sometimes 30 day weights but I confess to being less rigorous about this than I might be. We don't have a weigh crate so they have to be weighed using the spring balance and by 30 days old, they are pretty heavy to lift :-)
Wednesday 22 October, 2014
Phew, vet’s office called this morning to say he’d be here at 9.30am. I expected (hoped) we’d be the last call of the day.
The cattle came in fine; the four cows were haltered and tied up with some hay; the three calves were haltered and left to throw them selves around (well, Rosie was OK as she’s been haltered before) and Charlie was put out in the field with some hay as he was being a pain in the tonsils and trying to mount the others that were tied up. Always has an eye out for the main chance, does Charlie.