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Friday, October 15, 2010

Hectic, hectic, hectic on and away from the farm...

Well, I was right. Things have ended up being so darn busy over the past month.

The month has flown past and not only because of the farm. Mum and Dad had to be placed in other accommodation. Dad has Alzheimer's and needs extra care that only professional nursing staff can manage, and Mum had to find a new life without him. She has found (or rather we, the daughters, have found Mum a lovely Apartment in an aged care facility).

In the meantime, the dear husband, has been managing to run his trucking business, run the farm and feed the animals and himself for three weeks. On my arrival back to the farm the gardens were all overrun with weeds from drenching spring rain. The potatoes have shown their heads in a most miraculous way and last season's spring onions and tomatoes have re-shown their little heads too. I should go away more often.

This little guy just one hour old
 when I came back to the farm.
What a fantastic way to be greeted!
The real joy came from five new calves, three of which were more or less unexpected. Unfortunately our best cow lost her calf this year - the first she's ever lost and we had to get a couple of poddy calves to place on her as she had way too much milk. That worked well then we slowly weaned the calves off her and onto bucket feed.

Purchased a product we hadn't tried before. Only need 300 grams to 2 litres of warm water. Easy to mix and easy to train the calves to feed. There is an option to feed once or twice per day but I felt better about giving the calves a "warm in their belly" feeling for both morning and night. One calf is, sluggish, and the other is a, guts! The larger of the two calves likes to drink it all up in about seven seconds but the other calf takes its time and this morning didn't want any at all. The weather is cold, wet and windy so the calves are inside the horses stable (see pic). I am very cautious about the slow drinking calf as this is often a sign that scours is on its way. However, his eyes are bright and his ears are perky which is a good sign of health. We shall see...

The key to keeping calves alive (and especially in this horrible weather) is keeping clean pens, clean feed, we use, Number 1, Venavite Pallets and clean straw hay for eating and afterwards the straw not eaten (and if still clean) can be used as bedding, but it's crucial to clean out the stall every couple of days, else calves can become ill.

Young calves are very susceptible to scours.

Scours is a very nasty illness and we have in the past experienced a loss of calves to this horrible disease. We had a viral scours that was particularly vicious but with changed practices around the farm we no longer have this problem. A good thing to do for young calves is to give them an injection of Vitamin B and C. We don't do this but we know of other farmers who do and they swear by it!


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