Once again our family farm was a hive of activity over the past week –the weather and ground conditions proved favourable to allow for the application of fertiliser on the silage ground (the first-cut is better late than never); more suckler pairings embraced the outdoors and the bovine maternity unit continued to welcome new arrivals.
With a mart trip planned on Thursday and a special family event earmarked for Saturday, I had my fingers crossed extra tightly that the oldest resident of the farm would welcome new life into the world on Friday, May,12th (her expected due date) although knowing my luck I knew that she would calf any day BUT Friday. Much to my surprise and luck, in the early-to-mid hours of Friday morning, a pedigree heifer calf was born unassisted, although my Dad and I kept a careful and watchful eye on the dam to ensure that the calving was progressing at a satisfactory rate. This promising calf bursting with potential is the latest to join the herd and we are waiting for the last calf of the spring season to hit the ground – believe me it really is a waiting game over the past few weeks!
Calving is the busiest and a stressful time for all on the farm and one can forget to look after themselves amidst all the madness. Although I enjoy all aspects of animal husbandry, calving is the most enjoyable aspect for me – assisting with the delivering of new life in the bovine world and the post-calving care can be physically and mentally demanding, but you can reap the rewards. With irregular hours; a number of flus combined with burn-out; a reduced number of social outings and a minimum amount of sleep over the past few weeks, a short period of repair and restoration will be required before autumn calving gets into gear, but first, the final calf of the season has yet to arrive. For us, as both suckler and drystock farmers, calving only paints part of the picture and we are ready to start writing the next chapter of 2018.