Amy Eggleston: Calving brings joy amid the world’s chaos

After what feels like months of preparing, tidying, building and organising, the time is here – calving season 2021 is happening.

It’s the busiest three months of the year and, no doubt, will have highs and lows, but I am still excited to be welcoming new lives on to our farm.

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Coming into my third calving season on the farm, I know – now more than ever – that we are never fully prepared. Despite having the pens set up, protocols ready and pairs of hands to help out, you’re never really ready until it begins.

Our calving season officially started on 1 February. At the time of writing we are nine days and 150 calves in (we had a few January early arrivals).

Remember the positives

We have 400 due to arrive in February alone, and are all feeling the effects already. The tiredness, the achy legs and the mental push is all very real but, as always, I am trying to remind myself of the positives – even if it’s harder than normal on so little sleep.

I start work at 4.30am and new life has arrived overnight – is there anything better than seeing an animal take those wobbly first steps?

Before long, the daylight is making an appearance – a true reminder that things are going to get better. A healthy calf coming into the world after a difficult calving, a laugh with my family about the morning at work and a big breakfast – I like to think I can always find a little something to smile about.

I might have my moments and moan a little when I’ve not had enough sleep (I’m not very good when I’m tired or hungry), but it’s important for me to keep finding small wins throughout this hectic spell.

It’s easy to let things carry you away, with up to 20 calves arriving each day and no time to step back and think. But when this is all over, I want to remember the good bits, and how we pulled together in our busiest calving season ever.