Monday 9 February, 2015
According to when we put the bull in, our four Shetland cows are all due to calve early May - Breeze and Blizzard for the fourth time, Annie for the second and Bonnie is a first timer.
At teatime, about 5pm, I started to feed everyone - hens, sheep, ponies, cattle - looked in the barn, and Bonnie was mooing and I could see liquid coming from her back end. I jagged them with Bravoxin on Saturday, without incident I thought, but the instructions do say to use in the third trimester. Ours are JUST in the third trimester and it was playing on my mind a bit. Two plus two made a hundred and twenty two!!!
Tuesday 13 January, 2015
With the cows and heifer calves inside, it's time to halter train the heifer calves. I enjoy this - gives me an excuse to spend time with the cows :-)
I suppose the way I do it changes slightly every year, based on the calves and previous experience. First thing is to get them addicted to sugar beet. The cattle are naturally greedy, especially for anything swet - so that's not too hard. I tie up all the cows - always starting with the most dominant, Blizzard, then Breeze, Annie then Bonnie. If you tie up any BEFORE Blizzard, she'll take advantage and duff them up. I untie them in reverse order, but for the same reason.
Friday 9 January, 2015
I do love a day when I learn something new, even when I'd amazed that I didn't know it before.
I was reading the NADIS site two nights ago, as you do, and looking at the page about castrating bull calves - we don't do our lambs with rings (I *have* done it but it was years ago) and until now, I've got the vet to do the bull calves either with a Burdizzo or by cutting, when he comes to PD the cows. Some pretty horrid photos of castrations gone wrong and it was just before dinner, but I'm made of stern stuff.
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.
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 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.
Tuesday 21 October, 2014
Vet’s coming to scan the three cows and the heifer; castrate the bull calf; blood sample the calves for BVD testing and jag the heifer calves to ensure they aren’t in calf.
We’ve got new halters so there’s one for every animal, without having to use the ponies’ halters.
Thursday 2 October, 2014
We moved Storm, our bull, back to our rented grazing a couple of nights ago. He and our 2012 bullock are going for slaughter next week and we've arranged for the haulier to pick up there rather than here, as we're doing work on the barn and track next week.
He's quite canny and loaded a dream; but now he's away, I can get in and give the girls a good scratch and a cuddle :-) He was put in with the cows in August and has been running with them for nearly ten weeks. If last year's performance is anything to go by, all four should be in calf. If they are, it will be Breeze and Blizzard's fourth pregnacy, Annie's second and Bonnie's first.