We welcomed our son Arthur into the world on February 23. Isobel was an absolute hero and after a long labour and a bit of a scare he arrived surrounded by the midwives and doctors. We were home the next day and cannot thank the NHS enough.
We started calving the following morning and within a month we’re done. We are not a big farm but it is great to see that having the cows in condition in May has paid off and the new bull we picked up last spring has done the business.
However, with new life comes death and I turned up to the shed one morning and found a large but perfectly formed calf from a 24-month-old heifer dead on the ground. It looked like it had never taken a breath and I imagine it got a bit stuck and broke the cord.
Needless to say I am absolutely gutted because it was almost certainly a case if we had been there we’d have been able to save it.
We check the cows at 6am, lunch-time, 6pm and again at 10pm and if we get up in the night with Arthur we check the camera, but we hadn’t noticed she was starting to calve. We don’t live on the farm so it is difficult to get up at 4am to go and check.
I have since read a few articles that suggest if you feed cows at night rather than the morning you reduce night time calves, so we will do this next year.
Spring continues and we have spread the first load of fertiliser down on our new block of land and have the first of our Angus-cross calves arriving at the end of the month.
Last year we put them straight out and within an hour they had cleared the fence and I rather sheepishly had to gather them off the road into a neighbour’s field with my landlord and police watching.
This year we’re going to keep them in the barn and put an older cow in with them before turning them out. I am hopeful we’ll keep them in the bounds of the field, before they head off to a finishing unit organised by Breedr in October.
The final new birth of spring is something I’ve been working on at Breedr for over a year. For the first time ever farmers can now buy and sell livestock with full weight, health and movement histories and it is incredible to see cattle buyers making data driven purchasing decisions when it comes to buying stock for their systems.