Wednesday, 29 April 2009

All go on the West Coast

Once again I am behind with everything, there is a lot more than meets the eye to keeping this blog up to date, sometimes there is to much to say and other times not a lot at all.
So I will fill you all in with the going's on here on our West Coast Croft.
Are you sitting comfortably?

Since Gemma was born we have had another two additions to our herd.
Both females one is a Simmental cross we called Helen, the other is an Aberdeen Angus cross she was born on Monday, as yet we have no name for her.
Helen is the rowan cow named Effy's offspring, she is a fiery little red thing with a white face, her father is Dernean Jacob.
Effy as usual popped her out with no help from us mortals what so ever.
The thing with Effy is she likes to let you know she is the boss, for all the thrashing of her head and snorting she is a bit of a coward really , but she is not to be trusted, once she smells fear in you that's it she's got you and she will chase you down and run over you if you let her.
Anyway she was tied in her stall to give birth, for two reasons our safety and just in case anything went wrong, as we would not be able to help her with the calf if she was loose.
Effy gave birth we checked the calf over, tagged her ears and put Iodine on her umbilical cord, so she did not get any infections.
Once she was all done we put her in the birthing pen, then released Effy so she could bond with her baby, once Effy was released we retreated out of the byre and waited for her to make her way in to the pen with the calf, once she was in the pen the we rushed in to secure the gate and that was her locked in, she snorted and took a run at the spars on the pen but other than that she was quite calm, she made such a fuss of Helen how proud she was all the time licking her an moowing at her, poor Helen kept getting knocked off her feet by her mum licking her so hard.

The next thing was to make sure Helen sucked her mum if she did not suck we were in bother as it would be impossible for us to go in the pen and help her out as Effy would attack you, after all how is she supposed to know you are only trying to help, so we stood for a long while watching and waiting with baited breath for Helen to do the deed.
We were saved little Helen stood up under mummy, after a bit of sucking at Effies leg and around about she managed to get on the teat, sucking furiously that was us both happy shook hands and walked away knowing everything was going to be alright.

In the middle of all this we have had to do the Blue tongue injections.
We did the first injection in March what a nightmare, once the cows know you are up to something they start skittering everywhere.
So we gave them a bucket in the stall and started with injecting big Snowy she was not to bad, once she finished her sweets (cow cobs) she was let out of the byre, we went down the line repeating the same process each time, Angela and Effy were the worst to do, they were kicking and bucking making a load guttural noise once they were done the cows were all put out on the the Mointeach Mhor to calm down, they get so worked up over a tiny little jab, I don't know what I am talking about I get the same way, it's the anticipation of it.
Next the sheep, that was fun, they were all in the next byre, trying to catch them is the hardest part, they run between your legs and take you off your feet, like little moving battering rams, each one was turned out of the byre after they were injected, thank heavens they only have to be done once, the cows on the other hand had to be done again in four weeks.
I had to take note of missing ear tags on the cows, as this is the time of year that they tend to loose them because of the feed rings, they must pull them out when they put their heads in the ring, some are torn out which I think must be really painful, others like the small round button tags seem to pull right through the ear, on this occasion we had at least twelve tags to replace, this can be quite costly every year but it has to be done or we get penalised by the government inspection agencies people if the cattle are missing any tags, so it is something that must be kept on top of as no excuses will be excepted.
So when the cattle had the second injection we had to tag the ones that had lost theirs, we also gave them their spot-on to keep the ticks at bay and a liver fluke dose to keep the worms and slug/snail larvae out of the cows liver etc.

We lost one of our in calf cows after the first blue tongue injection, she was due to calf in three weeks, it was Wendy the Black cow which always looked like she was malnourished.
She came in on the Saturday with the others and had her feed, there was nothing coming over her, I actually remember commenting to my husband that she looked really well like she was blooming, we were looking forward to seeing her calf as she always gave us a good one, well she never came in on Sunday morning with the others, my husband thought he could see her lying out on the hill on the Mointeach Mhor, he started to shout on her whilst looking through the binoculars but she did not move, I headed out to see what was wrong, just in case she had decided to go in to labour early, all the time I shouted on her but there was no response from her, as I drew closer to her I knew there was something wrong, I started to run up the hill, there she was poor wee Wendy flat out stone dead, no sign of a struggle or calving just laid out like she was asleep.
My husband could not come down to see her, she was his favorite of all the cows, he was heart broken and inconsolable as was I.
I sent my husband away and asked a friend to come over and give a hand to bury her.
We spent the best part of the day digging the resting place for poor Wendy and her unborn baby.
Once it was done we started to push and pull her toward the hole the final push was so traumatic for me, we had seemed to struggle for so long to get her into her resting place that the energy was sapped from us, I thought I could not go on anymore then just as she was on the lip of her resting place she seemed to sit up and take a last look around before she rolled over and laid out.
That was it for me, I broke down it was so emotional watching her sit up, digging and pulling took it out of me.
We covered her over and I said a prayer for her and the baby, I hope she rests in peace in the land of green fields and plenty.

Then nature took over and Joanna one of the Heifers gave birth the a tiny and I mean tiny Black Aberdeen Angus, I am not sure what happened to her but she has what can only be described as a White lightning strike flash across her bottom and down her back leg.
Joanna is a beautiful red colour and the father is Nightingale Quinton a Black Aberdeen Angus, so where the white came from is any ones guess, maybe it is a side effect from the blue tongue who knows, all I care about is that they are both fine and healthy, as yet we have no name for the tiny wee crater.
As yet we have no lambs, the first ram we hired did not seem to work so we exchanged him for an older ram that knew what it was for, hopefully we will hear the patter of little hooves shortly, we are keeping everything crossed.
Poor Rabbie, got a urinary infection, I had to call a neighbour who had had the same thing happen to one of their rams, they came over to do a minor surgery on poor Rabbie, which entailed snipping a tiny piece of his manhood off called the worm.
I can tell you he was not the only one that was relieved that night, he is doing well and no side effects, I would like to thank my neighbours for their help that night without which I would have surely lost my wee Rabbie.

The weather has been a bit hit and miss, over Easter it was really sunny, although there was a lot of high winds from the East, we lost quite a lot of our slates from the roof of the house so that was another job that had to be taken care of sooner rather than later, an expense you could do without but when nature throws a curve ball you have to run with it.

So at the moment the weather does not know what do do, blow a gale, rain or shine, it's about time it made it's mind up.
Anyway a couple of pictures of the wee pets ; )
Helen and as yet no name.