Storms Ciara and Dennis came knocking in February and, my goodness, did the weather take a turn for the worst!
Temperatures plummeted, gale force winds battered sheds and houses, power came and went, and heavy rain changed to sleet and snow. Our neighbour’s rain gauge recorded almost 36mm in one 12-hour period in the middle of the month! There was a week in February where we struggled to open the main door of the shed to put in bales such was the ferocity of the wind.
While the weather curtailed a lot of outside work, it did allow me to catch up on some other jobs which had built up.
We had a number of calves born and they needed to be vaccinated, tagged and registered. Each one was given a 2cc injection of Triblovax T into their shoulder. This protects them from ‘blackleg’, an infectious (and fatal) disease common in our area.
Next, each calf was tagged with two bright yellow identity tags. The numbers on the tags correspond to their passports (blue cards). One of these tags also takes a small tissue sample of the calf. It is then sealed in a plastic bag and posted to a department-approved lab for testing. These samples are tested for a disease known as bovine viral diarrhoea or B.V.D. This is compulsory for Irish farmers. The lab then sends a text with a positive or negative result to the farmer.
Finally, a white card is ﬁlled out with the calf’s date of birth, breed and mother’s tag number. This must be completed and posted within one week of the calf’s birth. Once this card is processed, the blue passport is issued for the animal.
As our calving jack and ropes had seen a lot of work in the last few weeks, I decided to disinfect the jack overnight and lightly greased the sliding mechanism. The calving ropes were also disinfected with bleach. I am always very careful to clean these as dirty ropes can lead to an infection and no farmer wants a sick animal.
Hopefully the weather will soon settle down, as fertiliser and slurry need to be spread. Will keep you posted.