We have got through the first four weeks of calving without too many mishaps. Three-hundred-and-fifty animals calved with 174 heifer calves so far.
The routine was to “tag and bag” namely ear tag and stomach tube all heifer calves with fresh colostrum tested with a colostrometer. The calves were then transferred to the new calf unit.
The shed is the same as the old calf shed but with some new trimmings. For example, we have put up sheeted gates, to act as louvres. These can then be tilted according to the way the calves are laying in the straw, ie huddling and overnight weather conditions.
They still have access to grassy paddocks, but it has been frustrating to get pneumonia in calves that have fresh air during the day, which at night would be susceptible to cold draughts. If the calves are anything to go by, they look an absolute picture .Well done to Alex, our youngstock rearer.
We have been using the spring rotation planner to allocate blades of grass for every cow each day – well you would at four cows to the hectare. We have been letting them out at night just to keep the neighbours guessing. Amazingly with two-thirds of their diet inside they just want to get out again. We are at a point where we will shortly have to split the herd to once-a-day-heifers and the rest.
Last month we didn’t receive a milk sample result despite many phone calls. It was like driving at night with no headlights. However, when the result finally came through it was so good, we are going to frame it.