"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and for each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependant on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."
—Wendell Berry

Monday, 28 December 2015

On new calves. part 2

So a couple of weeks in to the whole forced milking and things have settled down a bit. Bonnies teats are now of a (barely) milk-able size by hand and we have taken over the milking duties twice a day. This milk is then fed to the two new calves- the Brown Swiss "Jessie the second" and the Fresian "Lilly". For this we use a calf feeder which is essentially a pair of joined buckets with rubber teats. It has been christened the "Robo-Cow" by the youngest cloud farmer. We are doing this as it is important we continue training Bonnie to be milked. The calves love it and engage in considerable pushing and shoving as they drink. To prevent one calf pushing the other off the teat we have someone position themselves between the two. We call this doing "bum duty". This job usually falls to the youngest cloud farmer as the adults have their hands full.

It is quite a wrestling match most days.
Now things take a turn for the weird. Anna, who had forcibly adopted Bonnies calf Arthur, handed him back to his mother who has accepted him and is allowing him to drink without too many kicks to the head. He also goes back to Anna for a drink as well.
So we lost a calf and have gained three. Arthur is a Brown Swiss-Dexter and will be a superb meat steer in a few years time. The two heifers will be sold as weaners and should fetch a good price. I am spraying each calf with pyrethrum daily to prevent a repeat of the original tragedy and it appears we are having a bad year for ticks- there are an awful lot about this year.
So that was our Christmas this year. Pretty standard on the Cloud farm. Cheers.

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