We have seven calves on the ground so far. The first one was a fortnight ago. Most of the cows have had at least one calf previously,so we expected it to go fairly smoothly. But surprise, surprise, the very first calf had us a bit worried. I had been watching the cow all morning and could tell she was starting to go into labour. Knowing this particular cow was about to have her third calf, I expected it to be born after just a couple of hours, but after three hours I began to get suspicious. Sure enough when I had a closer look I noticed the calves hooves were coming out upside down. So either the calf was head first, but rotated, or it was the back legs. Either way, I thought we should have a closer look. We walked her carefully to the cattle yards, and after scrubbing up, I was able to determine that it was the back legs.
This is the second most common presentation of calves before birth, so I wasn’t overly concerned after all. We left her in the yards, to keep a close watch on her, ready to call the vet if the calf wasn’t born within the next couple of hours. Sure enough, after ducking inside to have some lunch, and when I came out to check on her afterwards, there was a gorgeous little black calf on the ground.
As soon as possible after the calves are born we ear tag them, with their regulation disk that is required when they’re sold as well as a tag that links them to our farm, and has a number of the year, and then a chronological number that matches the order in which they were born. So the first calf’s tag number is 401 (4 for 2014, and 01 because he’s the first one).
This is another one, just about to be tagged.
The majority of our cows are poll Herefords, however we have one jersey angus cross, and she has the daintiest little calves, very petite compared to the Hereford calves. Being a dairy cross she has an amazing bag of milk so her calves do catch up very quickly. This is this year’s calf.