Finally the cows are homeRSS feed

Posted: Wednesday 10 December, 2014

by Rosemary Champion at 5:21pm in Cattle No comments Add your own

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.

Blizzard is the most vocal of the cows because, of course, she’s been weaned. The other two still have their calves with them. So she’s probably a wee bit sore today, but I checked her udder and it wasn’t hard, so hopefully on a diet of straw, her milk will soon go off. I’ll put anti-suckling devices on the two heifer calves in a week or two.

Wee Mak is happy to have “company” even if he can only hear them. Yesterday, he was barely making a sound (compared to Rosie, who has a hell of a roar) but he’s found his voice a bit today. They’re mostly pretty quiet except when they see me and think they’re going to be fed J

The cows are being fed straw and have access to a molassed lick. They are about 4 months pregnant so can safely drop a bit of condition. If the look really scrawny at the middle of February, I’ll switch them on to hay or a straw / hay mix for a month. They regain condition really quickly at grass though.

We’ll be applying a pour-on to treat worms, fluke and external parasites this week to all the cattle, then doing them again in eight weeks. The product we use, Closamectin, is 95% effective against late immature (7 weeks) and mature (12 weeks) fluke, so two doses eight weeks apart should deal with the majority of any fluke burden they’re carrying.

And the foot trimmer is coming on the 19th to trim Breeze, Blizzard, Annie and Bonnie. They were last trimmed at the end of January. Blizzard’s feet are the longest and she carries most weight so she really needs doing. The other three aren’t too bad but I’m not getting the trimmer out for one beast.

What is clear is that our cattle housing is now at capacity. So we have three options – outwinter some next year (I’d need different and additional grazing); extend our housing or sell some cows. I think we will probably offer some for sale – but which it will be, and when, will depend on what the four in-calf cows produce in May.

I suppose ideally, I’d like to sell to someone keen to start a new herd of Shetlands so could sell a family group of cow, heifer and calves at foot. The family bonds are strong and it would be less stressful for the animals to go as a group. Very, very hard L


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