New Heifers with New Calves
We had 10 young heifers who had calves for the first time this month settling into motherhood well and getting used to the milking parlour. Whilst a conventional dairy calf would stay with their mother for an average of 3 days, here at Gazegill we like to do things the natural way.
Our calves stay with their mothers night and day until they have had enough colostrum. The mothers (and their calves) come into the milking parlour when they are ready, as they produce too much colostrum and milk for the calf alone, so we start to take the excess off.
After a couple of weeks, some mothers prefer to spend the daytime with their friends in the herd, and return to their calf in the evening to spend the nights with them.
When we took these pictures, 6 of the new heifer mums had returned to their social group in the herd in the main sheds whilst 4 had decided to come back to the calf shed.
As well as feeding their own calves these 4 heifers were also being “Nanny Cows” feeding other calves that felt like some milk as well!
After around 8 or 10 weeks we start to train the calves to drink from a bucket and weaning goes from there when cow and calf are both ready.
Oops! First Lamb of the Season
When the weather turned a little wild last week, we trekked up Pendle Hill to bring the ewes back down into the valley where it is warmer and there is more grass for them in their pregnancy.
We were surprised when we needed to bring one ewe home quickly so that she could produce our first lamb of the season, because the rest of the flock will produce in April (or so we planned!!)
We weren’t aware that our tup had escaped early to visit his female friends last year, but we suppose that he might have taken a shine to a few more ewes whilst he was visiting, so we will be watching for a few more early lambs.
Ewe and Lamb are very happy and doing well!
Big Bertha Farrows – Before & After
We have been expecting Bertha to farrow any day for the last week, so thought we would share with you these BEFORE and AFTER pics.
The first pic shows Bertha chilling out getting some rest before the birth. The second pic shows Bertha feeding her piglets, she really has her work cut out now!
This is Bertha’s 3rd litter of piglets and for such a big lady, she is a very gentle and good natured mum.
More on Bertha’s piglets to follow. Did you know that a piglet doubles in size in the first week of its life? By the time the spring weather comes, these piglets will be racing round the farmyard causing trouble!