Saturday, 14 April 2012

Calving time 12 April 2012

Calving time for the Suckler Cows12 April 2012

This is a last years photograph, and the calf about three weeks old, on good grass and plenty of milk a small birth weight calf will soon grow and catch up on the high birth weight calves, and you get less calving problems. 

I was reading just recently on someone’s blog that, if you feed the incalf cows late afternoon or evening they are more likely to calve during the day. Well I started doing this three weeks ago, and now had ten days into calving, and about half of them have calved.

It has turned out that the majority have calved during the day, but yesterday we had an incalf heifer looking as if she was ready to start to calve and she was looking around where to calve, just in the late evening.

Two hours later and just going dark, her water had broken and she had got two calves with her, but they looked remarkably dry and well licked from the distance. She had if fact taken to two other young calves that were only a day or so old and keeping them close to her. The danger here was that when she eventually had her own calf she may follow one or both of the calves she had “adopted” and forsake her own calf.

Try as I may, I could not persuade those two calves to go back to their respective mothers, but for the mothers, they were close by, and the one that’s yet to calve was following and getting between the calf and that calf’s own mother, and by this time it was going dark.

I went back to the house for couple of hours and left them to it, then went down again to see what the outcome was. Sure enough she had calved and was licking her own calf, and the other two matrons were close by and had claimed their calves back.

At first light this morning everything was okay, they had all separated and the right calves were following the right mothers.

Alls well that ends well, but it was building up into a situation where if she had claimed another cows calf, the cow that had lost her calf would not very likely take to the newly dropped calf, and that means problems all round. Also her newly dropped calf could have been abandoned, just after dark and got chilled and possibly died by morning. There was no end if situations that were building up, but common sense prevailed on the part of the new young cow that had just had her first calf.

Fingers crossed for the next two weeks, and we should have almost finished calving, all the calves so far have been remarkably small, this I put down to not over feeding them in the last three months with too good a silage, in fact they had equal quantities  in number of bales of wheat straw and meadow silage.

A few years ago we had very large calves      and almost every one had to have assistance, with losses as well, I think that a small healthy calf will grow and make up for a light birth weight in the next few months of good milk and ample new grass

 Also another blog on the Suckler Cowscows

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