Be aware of calving dangers
Published 29/02/2012 | 06:00
I got a phone call from a friend last week.
"I want you to do a favour for me. I feel that I'm very lucky to be alive. Maybe if you can convey my experience, it can act as a warning to other farmers at this busy time of the year."
The man on the other end of the phone was Cyril Goode, Seabank, Arklow, Co Wicklow.
Vet, farmer and former secretary of the Irish Simmental Cattle Society. He was speaking from a hospital bed in Dublin where he was nursing broken ribs on both sides of his body.
His story went like this.
"Calving of our suckler herd was in full swing. So much so that the calving pens were full and the conveyor line was starting to back up. In one shed we had 30 first-calving heifers bedded on straw and with a feeding passage along a barrier.
"Overnight two of the heifers calved, then another and then another. With four newborn calves I was afraid of a mix-up so I decided to remove them to separate mothering-up pens. As it happened two of the heifers and calves were close to the shed door when I went to get them out.
"As I guided them out one calf hung back. It was nervous about coming down off the straw bed. When I went to handle the calf the mother suddenly attacked me. I had a fork in my hand and I tried to fight her off but she knocked me and kept hitting me.