NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: First Calf  (Read 5393 times)

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
First Calf
« on: March 09, 2015, 12:55:03 am »
Our first ever calf arrived at the weekend.
Calf seems to be doing OK.
Mother is very calm and talking it all in her stride (this is about number 10 for her).
Humans are very stressed, excitable and not very good at doing their bit ;D.
Voss Electric Fence

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: First Calf
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2015, 08:25:06 am »
Congratulations! You don't HAVE to do anything - mum and baby will manage just fine. You are only required to watch and admire.

Bull or heifer?

Given the name, I guess a bull  ::)
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 08:57:30 am by Rosemary »

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: First Calf
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2015, 08:42:31 am »
Calf looks great and Mum's clearly doing a good job.  As Rosemary says, you don't need to do anything except admire and tell Mum what a great job she's doing!   :hugcow: :love: :cow:

Congratulations!   :thumbsup:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: First Calf
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2015, 09:54:21 am »
It is indeed a bull.

The cow did everything fine, we were just a bit worried as the calf wasn't seen sucking at all during the first day.  The mum is an older dairy type Shetland with a huge udder which doesn't have a lot of clearance between it and the ground which made us think he might be struggling to get under it.
Beth milked a couple of litres from the cow and gave it to him in a bottle just to make sure he had had some colostrum.  Given that he had plenty of energy the next morning and wasn't hungry he must have worked it out for himself.

Us boys are slow learners and he is maybe just a bit shy about people watching him eat!

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: First Calf
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2015, 10:40:11 am »
I had a similar well documented panic two years ago with Charlie. I never say him suck; he was always asleep. But calves don't feed all that often - I read in Val Porter's book it can be five hourly. The calf will feed then the cow will lie it up somewhere while she goes and feeds.

We tube fed colostrum - we even had the vet out  ::) > I retrospect, it was just our inexperience; the calf was peeing like a river and pooping; neither of which he would have done if he hadn't been feeding. Felt a bit of a wally.

I've seen ours having a sleep after calving, calf and cow, then the cow gets up and makes the calf feed, pushing him around to make him move. Scares the bejesus out of me but it seems to work for them and they've been doing it as a species a lot longer than me.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: First Calf
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2015, 11:46:25 am »
Even BH, with his 50-odd years of experience, is on edge until he sees a new calf sook, especially if mum has large teats / misshapen bag / teats low to the ground. 

If he's not sure, he'll halter / tie up mum and get the calf onto the teat himself.  And/or milk mum and bottle / drench / tube the calf to make sure it has its colostrum within the first 6 hours.

A lot of his long experience was with Charolais, and they are particularly prone to being daft.  Calfie doesn't latch on properly, mum gets fed up and irritated - I'm so glad we have an Angus bull and mainly Angus X, Hereford X and Blue Grey cows now!   :D

But I'm with you oor willie - an experienced mum knows calfie has to sook, so if mum's happy it's probably going ok.  And the looking for calfie pee and poo is a top tip, Rosemary ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

trish.farm

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • hampshire
Re: First Calf
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2015, 11:49:31 am »
Congratulations!!!  I was the same last year with my first calf, total nervous wreck.  Just enjoy!!!

Brandi

  • Joined Oct 2012
Re: First Calf
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2015, 08:01:02 pm »
 :sunshine: absolutely beautiful, even the sunshine has to smile! They have such sudden bursts of energy, don't they, lovely to watch, have a lovely summer watching him grow, we always get so attached to ours

devonlady

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: First Calf
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2015, 05:44:07 am »
He looks a handsome chap! Congratulaions :thumbsup:

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: First Calf
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2015, 09:45:27 am »
It was with great sadness that I heard last night a lady from Bixter Shetland was killed while trying to help a cow calf. Please take extra care when around your cows you never know what could happen.

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: First Calf
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2015, 11:44:33 am »
Yes, I saw that as well, very sad and sobering.

Bex

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Wales
Re: First Calf
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2015, 03:36:16 pm »
I saw it too. So sad.
I immediately thought of all those here on TAS that are up in Scotland and prayed it was not one of them.
 :'(
Little bugs have lesser bugs upon their backs to bite 'em. And lesser bugs have lesser bugs and so ad infinitum!

Highlandrose

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Strathnairn
Re: First Calf
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2015, 07:29:03 pm »
Does anyone know exactly what happened to the woman in Shetland? There is not much information on the news site. I've been in and out of the pen with Fearghas and am thankful that his mother has not been an issue. She seemed to understand my stress of trying to get him to feed and was incredibly patient. She was even fine when two farmers came on Saturday to give me a hand and it took the two of them to get the calf to feed (I had wondered what I was doing wrong, a) I hadn't realise how strong a new born calf can be, & b) I didn't realise how thick bull calves could be about where to put their heads). His mother has shaken her head at me a few times but that has been it. Our next cow is due any time now and it doesn't install me with huge confidence hearing about the lady in Shetland. My condolences to her family.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: First Calf
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2015, 08:14:22 am »
Until he knows how they'll be, BH halters and ties them up if he has to help the calf latch on.  So if you've one hasn't calved with you before, take care, take nothing for granted, and if you have to intervene, get her tied up - and make sure someone knows where you are and how long you should be, or better, have someone with you who stays on the safe side so can get help if needed.

And our cows are all soppy Anguses and Herefords ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: First Calf
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2015, 08:47:05 am »
I believe the incident in Shetland was a result of the cow slipping and falling on the woman but I haven't seen that confirmed in the media.

Highlandrose, in my limited experience, bull calves are slower than heifers  ;)

 

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