Farming Matters: First calf of spring is born

A cow and calf down on the farm.

A cow and calf down on the farm.

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March is an incredibly busy month on our farm.

The suckler herd start calving and the sheep will be lambing.

Things got off to a good start at the weekend with the birth of our first calf, a little white bull, born easily without any assistance needed.

From our calculations we weren’t actually expecting any little ones quite so soon, so the only conclusion is that Max our pedigree Charolais bull got to work the minute he was put out with the herd, and the cow in question was bulling on that first day together.

The rest of the calves will arrive in a steady stream throughout March and April with a few stragglers in May.

We calve indoors and each morning before breakfast my husband is out in the yard checking the herd.

And then off and on all day long inbetween other jobs he keeps looking in on them.

Most of them will manage to give birth themselves, but if intervention is needed, it will be given.

The early signs to look for include the udders swelling and bagging up and the cow becomes puffy around the vulva, then the vulva gets a bit sloppy and finally the bones move within the last few hours.

After the waters break, two little hooves and a wet nose start coming out , and that’s a good sign that the calf is properly presented.