We’re now plunging headlong into autumn and the bull has been to visit recently so I thought I’d post a quick cattle-based update with some great pictures I’ve managed to take. Before long they’ll be starting on the winter feed – hay and silage – so it’s nice to have some pictures of them while there’s still some grass around!
This time we stuck with the same bull that we had hired last year – officially he’s known as Baranduin Delta – since we were pleased with this years calves when they turned up in June.
Also we had to consider that this year Primrose would be served as well but as she is a heifer from the first bull we borrowed – Rosewood Glenkinchie – we cannot use him again if we have any of his offspring.
There’s no easy way to be sure exactly when each female gets served by the bull as we can’t spend every moment watching them but at different periods during his stay he will tend to hang around one of them for a few couple of days. By watching out for this behaviour we can make a note of the general date when she may well have been served and then count ahead about 9 months to predict the calving date.
Not an exact science by any means but when this years calves arrived I was only out by roughly 2 days which was quite pleasing.
At just over 4 months old now, the 2 calves from this year are filling out nicely and doing really well. Of course, Frank is a year older and as a result he obviously considers himself to be in charge.
This year also saw us experiment with leaving Quinn to grow his horns rather than do any dehorning. This is normally done to prevent risk of injury to us while handling and to them in their occasional (but normal) disagreements, However the work to do this is always a traumatic experience for both us and the calf so this year we decided to leave Quinn alone and take any good or bad consequences in due course.
Although I’m not supposed to have favourites, I do have a soft spot for Daisy since she has always given us naturally polled bull calves (i.e. no horns at all) so this has never been an issue for her offspring.
For the moment we’re back to a nice looking herd with the 3 cows and 3 bull calves but eventually we will need to face the fact that we cannot keep that quantity on the amount of land we have for them. Eventually it looks likely that we will have to sell Primrose because when they all calve next year there will definitely be too many for our available grazing land.
It’s better to face up to this rather than overgrazing the land which would is just not a sustainable approach.