Thursday 13 December 2018

Little Emma arrives in height of storm

Emma the calf was born last Friday morning
Emma the calf was born last Friday morning

Emma is just one of around 60 calves born so far this year on Chris Fox's farm in Enniskerry, with a further 30 or so expected by the end of March. What makes her different though, is that she made an appearance during the most extreme weather seen in years.

The cow calved herself and the surprise was waiting for Chris when he arrived down to check on her on Friday morning.

'We were expecting her over the next couple of days alright,' he said. The mother cow was getting special treatment in a shed of her own as the birth was imminent.'

They keep the calves on the farm themselves, so Emma will be part of the Fox herd for many years to come.

Meanwhile, while many of the residents of north Wicklow spent last week building snowmen or wondering when the supermarket might be open, Chris and his family were tackling the challenges of dairy farming in the snow.

'All the pipes are frozen up, it's been a nightmare,' said Chris on Friday afternoon. They use about 5,000 litres of water a day for things like washing milking equipment. Each morning they were thawing out the pipes with blowtorches before anything could be done. The milkery couldn't collect the milk, which had a three-day shelf life. They were making plans to take it out with the tractor and meet the truck on the N11. 'We're like Alaskans off-grid here!' said Chris. He said that those who can are going around on foot to check on their elderly neighbours and the community is pulling together.

Bray People