Suckler milk surplus only glitch in dream calving season
A friend of mine has a great saying, that, too far east is west and I just wonder if we have gone too far in one direction with our suckler cows. Or maybe it is just down to the good grass year.
Why I say this is because some of our cows, especially our first and second calvers , just have too much milk.
Their diet for the weeks pre-calving would be similar to other years but we have had some cows and heifers in the days pre- and post- calving that were hardly able to walk because they were so flagged with milk.
I was always of the opinion that a cow needed enough milk just to rear a calf well and that too much milk is as bad, if not worse, than not having enough.
The irony is that, so far, touch wood, we have had a dream calving season.
Close to 70pc of the herd has calved in a month and I think we might push close to having 90pc calved in six weeks.
Our routine of night-time feeding has worked exceptionally well. Most nights, I get to bed at 10pm and see them again at 6am. We have had no more than half a dozen calves born under cover of darkness.
We had to do one section, for a big calf. About six cows needed minor intervention and the remainder all calved unassisted. All calves were born alive except for a set of twins that were stillborn. We subsequently lost two calves; one about five days old, that I found dead in the field, the other was three days old that succumbed to some congenital problem.