Life on the farm

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Turn out day! The best day of the year. After feeding the cows twice a day since November they finally got turned out last week.

Everyone loves this day because it is one less job to have to do on a morning and night when we are busy. Before all the cows go out we had to sort them out as we have three bulls to sort the cows out to.

We have two limousin bulls and a south devon that we have bred ourselves. The south devon is the first AI calve that we had two years ago, we decided to keep him and hopefully we will be pleased that we have done.

We put the bigger cows to the older Limi bull and then sorted the smaller ones out for the other limi bull and the South Devon bull. We did try to make life a bit easier for the bulls as I AI’d some, but I didn’t get as many done as I’d have liked because they didn’t come a bulling like they did last year.

We did get a bit worried when they weren’t coming a bulling, but we spoke to the vet about it and she said that there was no reason why they shouldn’t be a bulling. We do give the cows High phosphate minerals, which is meant to help them come a bulling. Since they have gone out they have come a bulling. My two south devon cows have gone to the limi bull as they are both related to the south devon bull, they both have had limx calves this year and they are both really good crossed calves.

When we turn the cows out we like to do it on a good dry day and when it has warmed up, as if they go out when it is raining and cool there is a chance of them getting pneumonia because of the sudden change. We are at the top of the dale, so the growing season is shorter, so the cows cannot go out as soon.

Our cows were still inside when we started mowing and picking up grass down the dale, so this shows the difference of where we are, we only just cleared our meadows last week of sheep and some of them had very little grass in.

But in just over six weeks we will be mowing them for silage.

Considering we had very little grass just over two weeks ago the bit of rain last weekend did just help the grass grow and now we seem to have lots of grass. Also since the weather seems to be feeling a bit more like summer the sheep have suddenly started getting maggeted (fly blown). Sometimes at this time of year maggeting can be very bad or it might not be that much of a problem. Sheep don’t really get maggeted on allotments and moors as there are less flies around compared to the pastures where it is warmer and there are more flies to attack the sheep.

Sometimes sheep can just get maggeted with a bit of bird muck on their backs and even just with their sweat and damp on their backs.

We treat the sheep with pour on now just to prevent it and to treat the maggeted ones. Some of the late born lambs have also got maggeted because young lambs can get mucky tails which attracts the flies.

My dad was speaking to somone and said that down the dale it was very bad. It does seem to be a never ending task as if a ewe gets a bad foot then that can get maggeted which then can cause her belly to get maggeted from its foot.~

So I am busy trying to prevent them from getting maggeted by cleaning the mucky bottoms and doing anything with a bad foot. The best way to stop the sheep maggeting is to clip them, but it is just still a bit to soon up here as a cool wet night could kill a sheep after it’s been clipped.