Calf Crazy

5 February 2015 | Posted under Farming

How’s she cutting Primary Planet readers? Welcome to this month’s edition. It’s, the time of year for calves to be born, so this month I’ll be bringing you up to date with my preparations around the farm for ‘silly season.’

I am gearing myself up for sleepless nights. I have plenty of coffee in the press, a few new DVDs to aid my insomnia and fresh batteries in the alarm clock to ensure my sleep is interrupted. While it is going to be a busy few weeks it can be a rewarding time, and for me it signals that spring is not far away.

Last weekend I spent some time assessing the sheds and working out where I would put cattle when the calving starts. I took a trip to our local straw supplier where I purchased 40 bales of straw. Our calving pen had been cleaned out and disinfected last year so I put a deep bedding of straw down. I am hoping that this will prevent infections through the navel and provide warmth and comfort for the new arrivals.

After that I checked that the water bowl was working. This was fitted in recent years as buckets and half barrels posed a drowning risk for calves that are unsteady on their feet. I am looking at the new grants to improve the handling facilities in the calving pen, as it can be a dangerous time to handle cattle.

Next, I checked the lights in the shed and yard. It is important to have as much light as possible, especially if you need to call the vet. The heat lamp was also checked, this can be vital for helping weaker calves as they are much more sensitive temperature fluctuation. I purchased some bottles of NETTEX First Life Calf Colostrum, which can be mixed and fed to the calf when it is too weak to suck, or when time or the cow is against you.

After a bit of searching I found the calving jack and ropes. Experience has taught me that the night the cow is calving is not the best time to be looking for these. I made sure all parts were moving freely and that the ropes were in good condition and soft, to avoid hurting the calf’s feet. I have some beestings chilling in case I need it as I have a few maiden heifers to calve and I am unsure how their yield will go.

I will purchase full length arm gloves to reduce the risk of infection while handling the cow during calving.

Until next month, farm well, farm safely!



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