Saturday, 10 April 2010

Take a long deep breath and relax

What a beautiful day it has been today.
The Lambs are out playing Sandy and Craigy the two rams have made friends and are out in the park at the back of the shed.
The sheep are lying back in the sunshine and relaxing and we are taking a long deep breath and relaxing also today.
It is not often we get time to just take in the air and have great quiet day.
Usually we are running here there and everywhere.
My husband drove up to the black isle last night to deliver a trailer, he got back late on in the night, I had to drive to Fort William to collect some things from the feed store.
So we could have the rest o f the day to ourselves.
Dolly one of the older cows, had a calf last weekend, not the brightest tool in the box, I do not know what it is but some of these calves seem to be a lot harder work than they used to be, we seem to have to do everything for them.
Dolly's calf was born out on the Mointeach Mhor common grazing, she is a beautiful red Limousin heifer.
But the first night she just would not suck the teat, we had to stomach tube her just so she would get the colostrum from her mother, that was a battle as well.
Anyway Dolly has a large udder as she is half Frisian cow, so there is plenty of milk there.
Well the next day my husband had to take milk from Dolly to feed the calf again, this carried on for a couple of days, stomach tubing as she just would not suck, although yesterday she showed signs of having a go her self, even though it was a little suck with a tongue hanging out it make it hard for her to make a seal, if she would learn that the tongue is meant to stay in your head she might get on a bit quicker.
Last night my husband took some more milk of Dolly, I put it in a calf bottle, she struggled and struggled not to have the teat in her mouth.
I remember my father telling me that the best way to teach a calf to suck is to cover it's eyes with a blindfold, because when a calf sucks from mother it is in darkness under her belly.
But also when you put the teat in it's mouth make a seal around it's mouth with your fingers, A. to hold it's tongue inside it's mouth, and B. to make the tongue half moon to cause the calf to suck.
Well she started to get the hang of it, slowly but surely she sucked half the calf bottle.
So I let her out of the blindfold and guided her towards Dolly's udder, no she decided she was going to have none of it.
I decided to go and feed the sheep and leave her with mum for a while to decide what she wanted to do.
I came back around half an hour later and peeped in the door of the shed, there she was having a go herself.
Even though it was a little go at least she seems to have got the gist of what she is supposed to do to get her fed.
We will have to make sure she gets a good feed from the bottle of expressed milk until she gets the idea.
But as I said hard work when you have a lazy calf.
Molly's calf has come on in leaps and bounds, she is a really smart calf and knows how to get into the shed between the cows when they all come in, she then plonks herself down on a nice bed and that's her for the night.
Myran and Katy are still hanging on to their lambs, they have decided to be awkward and make me wait, they will chose the worst night and the earliest hour to have their lambs, I can garentee that.
Myran is the queen of sheba's granny, as I said before they have an air about them as though they are royalty and as such should be treated as though they are royalty.
Hopefully they should have lambs before the next weekend.

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