Keep a close eye on newborns in case of a chill
The recent snow storm has brought everything to a standstill. With the weather having been reasonably dry the week before Storm Emma, we spread another 80,000 gallons of slurry on the silage ground on the home farm at 2,000 gallons per acre. All tanks have been lowered to levels that should see out the winter comfortably even if it is prolonged with bad weather in late spring.
I like to get large amounts of slurry out at this time of year as it seems to give great results, especially when applied to bare ground, and it even works better when a small amount of fertiliser is applied once the slurry is washed in.
Calving is now in its second week with everything going to plan. Calves are healthy and lively and the cows have an adequate milk supply. The first of the calves may have looked a bit small, but have filled out well in a week.
A farmer once said to me "there was more potential in a live mouse than a dead elephant''. No cow has acquired assistance yet, the calving gate and jack can be called into action if needed. These two pieces of equipment have been worth their weight in gold for me over the years.
All the calves are observed after calving to see if they can get their own drink. If they don't, I feed some defrosted colostrum that I have frozen in reserve in case of a weak calf or a set of twins. This milk is supplied to me by a neighbouring dairy farmer and can be very handy with a late night calving. The one luxury I don't have is a calving camera.
The farm house is within walking distance of the sheds so it is easy to have a look now and again. On saying that, it would be handy to have a look at them on the iphone even during the day if I was working away from the farm yard.
The cows and calves remain in the shed on straw until the calf is about two weeks old or the weather is suitable for turnout.