I had the most wonderful day with a class of children from the Vale of Evesham School. We made the most of the gorgeous weather and spent much of the morning down by the pond. We found lots of creatures in our pond dipping nets and had the excitement of spotting newly emerged dragonflies and damselflies. We also popped to the cow shed to see the calves and the meadow to see the impressive display of buttercups. The boys were very happy to be in the wood after lunch.
Once a new born calf has had its ear tag put into its ear, it is measured with a weight tape. The tape has measurements on it which link the size of the calf to its assumed weight. The measurement is taken a few hours after birth, then at four weeks and then again at eight weeks.
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.
The 2017 calving has begun, only 249 more cows to go! A jersey cross calf was born a few days before it was expected. At Greystone Farm we use Artificial Insemination (AI) for three cycles. If the cow is still not pregnant after the three rounds of AI then we put her in a field with an Aberdeen Angus beef bull for ‘natural service’. The bulls are known as ‘sweeper bulls’ as they sweep up the cows that aren’t pregnant.