The cows in the maternity shed have been busy over the last couple of weeks and today our fiftieth calf was born. The calving, so far, has gone well. The majority of births have been uncomplicated and resulted in a healthy calf. No twins yet. An interesting fact; if a cow has twins and one calf is male and the other female, the female calf will be infertile and is called a freemartin. In terms of calving ease and stress on the cow, our preference is to have single calves. Rob is checking the cows late at night, if all is quiet in the calving shed then he goes to bed, but if it looks as though a cow is in labour then he stays up until the calf is born. Only a couple of longer nights so far. Officially a heifer is not called a cow until she has experienced two calvings, however on this farm, we tend to call a heifer a cow after her first calve. We always take extra care with the heifers as they have never calved or been in the milking parlour before and are often frightened. Once a calf is born it stays with its mother to drink the colostrum before being put into the calf rearing pen and its mother into the milking herd. Shortly after birth the calf has an ear tag put into its ear, so it can be easily identified (as seen in the photo). Once the calf has an ear tag, the information about its breeding, birth date and weight is put into the computer. A passport is also created which stays with it for the rest of its life. The ear tag and passport have the unique number of the calf and our individual farm number. This allows for the UK herd to be fully traceable which is vital in disease protection and food production.