Crows are the chief suspects for this farmer's calves' poor appetite
All the cows and calves are settled into their winter quarters and all seem happy enough.
I just have a little concern that the calves are not eating their ration with the sort of vigour that calves in previous years did.
They are in good fettle but I notice that, even when they are eating the ration, they only seem to be picking at it. At this stage in previous years the biggest issue was to make sure they wouldn't walk on your toes when you were putting the meal in the troughs.
Also, some of their tails are not as clean as I would like and their coats not as shiny.
So we plan to get the vet to take some faeces samples this week, just to check if there is a worm burden or anything else hanging around.
One thing struck me during the week that it could, quite probably, be due to a problem I have created myself. I had been giving them slightly over 1kg/hd/day of ration and I would have expected them to eat that.
They weren't eating it all at the one time, coming back later in the day to finish it off. I wasn't concerned about that because the weather was dry so it wasn't going to get messy. But - and this may be where the problem lies - for some reason, we are absolutely overrun with crows and they had been eating some of the ration from the troughs and obviously contaminating it in the process.
In the last couple of weeks, it has been very noticeable that there is a huge amount of crows around the yard, far more than we would ever have had. In the morning, they are roosting on the roofs of the sheds, they are on gates, they are on the ground. Perhaps its only a temporary situation, and, in the words of Father Jack, I hope they soon feck off!