Latest News And Updates
Wednesday 31st Oct 2018
My first day blogging and the herd hasn’t let me down. I could see from the house at first light, a cow sitting by herself in the paddock and knew that she was either having a calf or had already given birth to it. I went out on the quad bike and was pleased to find T30 a first time Mum had given birth to a lovely dark calf. I didn’t want to disturb them too much so I took this photo from the bike. Also Mum was a bit twitchy and was lifting her head warning me to stay away. Some cows during birthing can become very different to what they are normally like, you have to be very careful. I’ve had a usually placid cow, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, turn into complete nutcases a day leading up to the event and lasting about two days after she had given birth. Both Mum and calf look really good. The little one just laid there trying to be as invisible as possible, with big eyes peering through the grass at me. I said hello to both Mum and the calf, took the photo and left them to continue to bond.
I’ve just been out and spent some time with all the bulls we weaned a few days ago and have selected our future bull for breeding. When they are weaned we put a fence between the cows and the calves so that they are still close but unable to drink. We have found this method to be the least distressing for both and the mooing for each other usually stops after a day or two. He’s looking a bit dirty and unloved, but once he’s cleaned up a bit he will look magnificent. Say hello to GRA PHANTOM P9
Monty the last bull that I selected is doing really well out with the ladies. He’s been in with them for about three months now, a herd of roughly 40 cows, heifers and a few newborn calves. He’s still looking pretty good and will come out of the herd and brought back into the house paddock soon.
Thursday 1st November 2018
Everything is pretty good here today, the calf born yesterday and T30 it’s Mum are doing well and we’ve had a couple of showers of rain which will be good for grass growth. I moved the main herd by calling them into a new paddock and being a bit warmer as we start to go into summer, a few of them went straight into the dam.
Friday 2nd November 2018
I went out this morning to check on the herd that I moved yesterday and found a dead heifer. On closer inspection I could see that her nose was swollen and all of the blood vessels were very red with two puncture marks most likely that of a snake bite.
It has only ever happened here once before, but I’d seen it with another young heifer and knew what to look for. After checking on all of the others in the herd I went and got the tractor. It’s not very nice but the only way to pick a dead cow up and move them without the carcass falling off the front end loader is to stab them with the forks. Because she’d had time to swell up, she went pop and a bunch of stinking gas exploded out of the holes. I carried her out of the paddock while the rest of the herd went on about their business and took her to a place to be burned once the rain stops.
N18 was a lovely girl and I am really sad that a damn snake had done that to her. What is even sadder is that she was almost due to calve. Yet another part of farming that isn’t very nice but there is very little that can be done to avoid it. Snakes are always going to be out this time of year full of venom, roaming in the long grass and hanging around places of water. They’ll be a hole somewhere near the dam where the snake lives. She could have been curious enough to sniff it when it decided to strike her on the nose. The last heifer that we lost here years ago was found next to a dam as well. I was unfortunate enough to find her still alive and our vet came out straight away, but he couldn’t do anything to save her as she was too far gone. Having to stand there and watch her writhe around having horrific spasms before dying is something which I have never forgotten and never care to see again. She too had similar puncture holes on her nose, with the same appearance of trauma to her vascular system on her nose and in her mouth and tongue.
Monday 5th November 2018
Another calf was born overnight and both cow and calf were found resting right down the bottom of a steep gully which was pretty difficult to get too on the quad bike. Good looking calf, nice and dark and a good size.
The downside of having calm unstressed cattle is they won’t move when you want to go through the gate. I managed to get a few of them out of the way enough to get the quad bike past, but J34 and her calf just sat there.
Friday 9th November 2018
I received a message via text today from a gentleman who bought a herd of pregnant heifers from us two years ago. Being new to farming he wanted to thank me for providing him with a wonderful first herd of easy to handle, well mannered cattle. He also proudly sent me a photo he took of one of the calves that was born 2 years ago. I don’t know which cow gave birth to her but I do know that she would be a GRA J16 Jesus calf.
Monday 12th November
Sadly I found another dead animal next to the creek. I had been keeping an eye on her very closely for weeks as she had lost a bit of weight. We had drenched her for worms a fortnight ago and I had noticed that she was putting condition back on when I checked the herd the previous day and was happy that worms had been the cause of her looking thinner. I suspect that she too was bitten by a snake as there were signs of bleeding on her front leg and hoof. In the past sixteen years I have only ever seen three snakes on this farm, but I have already seen three this season already. We have long grass everywhere and reports on the media are saying that snake catchers are being overrun with calls from people with snakes in their yard. Thankfully my son Alan with the help of our friend Lachlan, who was wonderful enough to give up his time on the day, gave me a hand to recover her body. A huge fire was built and both her and the heifer from a few days before were burned. It took the boys a full day of cutting and gathering tons of firewood out of our bush, which was a mammoth job. It takes a great deal to burn one cow let alone two at the same time. Let’s hope that’s our quota of deaths around here for a while, because it’s not very nice and it’s also very sad.
It’s getting hotter here going into summer and the cows have turned into hippos 😆
Friday 16th November 2018
Today we have regrettably made the decision that we will not be doing any silage or hay this year. Ears is up north working and the job won’t be completed until late December, which will not enable him to get back in time. The grass has already gone to seed and will be no good if cut that late. So it looks like I’ll have to try and manage as best as I can which will make things very interesting. I moved the herd today into one of the paddocks which was reseeded back in the autumn and badly needs eating. I had them in there a couple of weeks ago but the lower parts of the paddock didn’t get eaten very well. I’m guessing that they’ll be in there for a while because there is grass everywhere that has gone to seed so I will make them stay there until it is properly eaten. A good problem to have but I would have preferred for it to have been baled instead.