Archive for November, 2010

Look what we have now!

November 9, 2010

We were recently asked by a farmer if we would like to have a premature bull calf to rear.  Apparently sometimes there is a reason to “needle” dairy cows to make them deliver their calves early.  We were told the calves are okay but because they are a bit premature they tend to be a bit slow to learn to drink and can just up and die despite your best efforts.  Anyway we said we would like to give it a go.  Young calves are going for a high price over here this year so it seemed like a worthwhile risk to take, costing us mostly time and a bag of calf rearing milk.

So Friday morning when I arrived at our ladies bible study I got a message to go and collect our premature calf from the farm, and I had to get there quickly as the farmer had to go soon, so off I rushed.  I was expecting 1 calf and got there to find 3!  I was just trying to work out how to fit them all on the back seat of the car when the kids arrived in the ute.  So they took 2 and I took 1 in my car.  When we got home we rushed around cleaning up our carport, covering up the shelves at the back with a tarp, and putting a barrier at the front to contain them in a pen.  We just got it done by 12 o’clock when Lydia and I had to leave to get to an appointment in Devonport.

One calf is a pure Friesian (the black and white one) which I was told we should just knock off and feed to the dog – like that is going to happen!  The others are Hereford x Friesian (black with white face) and Hereford x Ayreshire (brown with white face).  They are all so sweet and such babies, and to our surprise the Hereford x Friesian is a heifer.  I am told that hand reared calves are called Sookies in Tasmania, I hadn’t heard that term before.

Sam has taken on the care of them and they are drinking okay.  However, as I said before, we have been warned that premature little ones can just die for no visible reason, they say they forget to breathe. I know that happened to the premature lambs our neighbours had, so we are primed up to lose them, but it will be awfully sad if it happens.

Anyway they had some scours on the weekend, I think because of the change to powdered milk from the colostrum.  Also for the first day or so they seemed to go really flat between feeds, and could not be roused for any reason so we were a bit concerned, but yesterday and today they are much brighter, have mostly gotten over the scouring and are looking good.  The dog loves them too.

We let them out for a run most days.  They enjoy bounding around for a little while.

Harry, who looks like a Hereford, is the smallest and the most energetic.

Oliver had a good sniff around the flowers.  He is called Oliver because he is always asking for more, of course!

Such beautiful eyes!

Then they get escorted back to bed.  🙂

I am afraid to say that I have totally fallen in love with them, despite my best efforts to stay aloof!  I do love beef though, and I am sure they will not look so cute when they get older.  Meanwhile we have a freezer full of pork right now, so any visitors know what they are getting.

In other news Lydia has just started working casual part time at the local Guest House, expecting to work 2 days a week at first.  She will get more days as the tourist season gets into full swing in Summer.  She now has 47 chicks roaming the gardens!  Sam has been doing a farm skills course, and managing health wise despite not feeling very good.  Caleb has been pretty crook and Kim has been pretty up and down with his Chronic Fatigue.  We had a nasty flu go through the family which did not help those who are not well normally anyway, but we continue to manage by God’s grace.  🙂

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