Wednesday, 27 April 2011

.....and back to m' moo cows!

Norfolk Farmers wife has been blogging away on the Sheep so I thought I would fill you in on how the cattle are doing. Since the bleak mid-winter of the last Red Poll blog we have converted a shed in the yard to store the young stock overwinter.  We cleared an old lean too out and the area of scrub land behind. This was an uncropped area that had been a building and then over time became a scrap heap and dumping ground for thirty odd years. I pulled several old hedgecutters, cultivators and several tonnes of old plough parts. We then cleared and levelled the soil and laid a base using 'farmers mix' (digger man said it would go like concrete, and was right!!). We added a feed barrier to the front of the shed and made a pen out back with crash barriers.

The cattle were at a low density with a deep straw bed and fed hay out of ring feeders. In general the shed did what I wanted it to, store the youngstock and hold there condition or with luck improve it. On average the cattle put on 0.5kg a day on hay and minerals, i did not use any other feed what so ever.

On the fields out in all the weather the cows and heifers got on with there job and produced some cracking calves, a few of which lined up for pics this morning. After a few years of learning how to prepare cows for calving (not to fat or thin plenty of minerals available and watch from a distance!!) I only had to assist two of the cows. One cesarean on an over condition 4 year old heifer who didn't hold her calf last year and was expected and a quick tug on a calf which mummy cow could have handled, good old Red Polls!!!

Here is an example of a heifer coming through the herd. She has been with the bull since January, I will be scanning them in May to see how many are in calf.  Next job will be moving the groups to pasture new and a bit of help to keep the flies off.

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