Dead calf / Milk / MuckRSS feed

Posted: Monday 30 July, 2018

by Rosemary at 12:42pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Monday 23 July

Had a good bit of rain today, which was most welcome. Dan scythed one of the poultry paddocks – he likes doing it. He also picked more blackcurrants, while I picked some beetroot. It all needs to be up now. Did some weeding – the pea bed now looks much better.

Tuesday 24 July

Very hot and windy today, drying up all yesterday’s rain. Made more blackcurrant jam and more three fruit marmalade. It's our Brexit stockpile.

stockpileOur Brexit stockpile.

Did some work on sheep costs and decided that I need to reduce costs dramatically. Basically, licky buckets are now out. They’re costing a fortune and they eat them like sweeties. Also looked at how best to keep grazing groups to a maximum of two. It means a bit of compromise – I started this year by keeping the tup and wether with the ewes from after scanning until – well, next week. Of course, this winter, I’ll have ewe hoggs, so there will have to be two groups over winter and in the six weeks to lambing, the ewe hoggs will have to go in with the ewes carrying twins, so they’ll get fed (the tup and wether will be in with single bearing ewes which aren’t fed).

Wednesday 25 July

Made more jam, some biscuits and an Oat and Treacle Soda loaf. It’s my favourite vehicle for butter.

Cleaned out the nest boxes in the henhouses and gave the houses good dust with Diatom. I plan to clean them twice a month in summer, three times a month in spring and autumn and every week in winter, but it’s been so dry that the bedding has held up exceptionally well.

Annie has a couple of sore bits on her udder, so I’ve rubbed them with Sudacrem. The calves are so hard on them.

Dan’s constructing a second new muckheap, as the first is full. And he’s been in checking the bees and feeding the new colony.

muckNew muck heap.

We’ve decided not to take pups off Gwenna. While she’s gorgeous and has a fantastic temperament, she’s very long – over long really – and not the best example of a Cardi. So we’ll get her spayed at the earliest opportunity.

dogsBryn and Gwenna, relaxing.

Thursday 26 July

This has been just an awful day. Blizzard started to calve so I brought her into one of the paddocks away from Ace. All seemed to be going well, but slowly. When I checked her, the calf was coming backwards. Phoned the vet but Dan and I delivered it, without too much difficulty really, but it was dead. We worked really hard but it was gone. Braw big bull calf. Our 20th calf and the first we’ve lost. Utterly gutted. Poor Blizz is so sad. Anyone who thinks animals aren’t sentient hasn’t seen a cow with a dead calf. We left the calf with her for several hours, but she’s not convinced he’s dead. I’ve milked her and will milk her twice daily. We did consider getting a calf for her but bringing in disease is a worry, so we’ll just let her have the stainless steel calf.

To cap it all, the bees swarmed into our neighbours’ garden, so Dan had to go off a deal with that.

Poor Blizz.

Friday 27 July

Very hot and close today but thunderstorms are forecast for tonight.

Milked Blizz; she’s not very happy about it but I took four litres last night and four this morning, bottled and froze it in case we need it next year. The rest of the colostrum will go to the pigs and we’ll start using it from Monday. She’s still bawling a bit but I let her out with the others after evening milking, so that might help. For a seventh calver, she's got a very good udder.

blizzBlizzard's udder.

Douglasbrae picked up the dead calf with their usual efficiency.

Had lunch with friends in Stirling, and then called into E.H.Thorne in Newburgh for more bee stuff. Dan assembled the box and frames when we got home and moved the swarm into their new accommodation. The aggressive colony should be dead now. Looking forward to having all nice bees.

Saturday 28 July

Well, the thunderstorms struck along with quite a lot of rain. It was tipping it down this morning and I had to chase the ponies out of the shed into the field. The dogs sat in the boot room while I did my chores. Tough Welsh dogs. Not.

Got about 5l from Blizzard. She doesn’t like the machine much and kicked it off a couple of times, but I can out-persevere her. She looks really sad; I feel really sad. It’s all a bit sad. Pigs are happy though.

pigsHappy pigs and a hopeful hen..

Dan went shopping and to Harbro then started work on the next new muck heap. These plastic pallets are just perfect for the job.

Brought the sheep in; there were a couple of ewes lame (No7 and No2), so trimmed them up and applied blue spray. No7 had what looked like a thorn stuck in her foot but when I pulled it out, it was a shard for bone, most likely from a bird. Wormed the lambs and cleaned up the three with dirty bums. Weaned the tup lambs, so they are off in a group with Urquhart and Teddy – the Bachelor Boys – and I’ve left the ewe lambs with the ewes to wean themselves. The ewes are all in pretty good condition.

We had another death today – but not an altogether unexpected one. Spike, our Faverolle x Welsummer cockerel, was found dead in the paddock this afternoon. He’s been failing for a wee while but was still chooking about with his girls and coming for his corn. He would have been five years old on 5th August, so he’s had a pretty good innings and a good life.

Picked peas and lifted beetroot. Shelled the peas while on the phone to my sister – isn’t speakerphone brilliant! Cooked the beetroot in the oven and stored it in red wine vinegar.

Milking going well – apart from my dual worries about not milking Blizz out and about over milking her.

Sunday 29 July

Applied for the calf premium today. Had to go and rootle out CPH numbers and tag numbers. I forget that Laing’s Field has a different CPH number to us, since we just open the gate to access it.

Lifted more beetroot and cooked it, but didn’t have time to jar it. Picked peas and Linda shelled them. Lifted one variety of shallots and put them to dry in the greenhouse. Picked some flowers for the house. They look fantastic; just can’t get organized to pick them.


Got about 7litres of milk tonight – last lot for the pigs. It’s for us now.

Dan finished the muck heap – what a huge improvement.

He also spent some time cleaning up frames for the hives’ supers.

framesCleaning up frames.


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