Tuesday, May 12, 2015

More Calf Sorting

More cattle sorting, more small calfs to see. I have come in just the right season to get to see calfs as they are all about at the moment. Lamb season starts soon, so there will be heaps of small sheep about soon, too. The first thing we did in the morning was sort the cows that have already had calfs from the ones that haven't had any yet, so the sorting is a lot easier later. One of the cows had calfed in the night, so there was a new calf in the pen. Unfortunately the cows seem to be on edge just after calfing and the cow of the newly born got spooked and took of. Her calf tried to follow, but got entangled in an electric fence and whilst trying to get it out the fence gave me a jab, too. I managed to half pull, half kick the calf out so it wasn't getting electrocuted anymore. The cow, after a few more minutes, got entangled in the electric fence and was shocked every two seconds. The main fuse for the fence is in the wool shed, so I had a sprint there and switched the main fuse off. James cut her free and she raced of to who knows where. We later, after leaving the calf in a hay bail, saw that she had run of about two kilometres away, through three paddocks and over the creek. We left her there, as going near her would just make the situation worse. After we had gotten that disaster we got two mobs from the paddocks “Landslide” and “ Bellow the House” in to the pens. One was a mob of cows and calfs, the other was one of steers (castrated bulls). We ran them through, vaccinated and checked the cows and steers and tagged the calfs, all the same as yesterday. The steers where a bit difficult to handle. They seem to be frightened of everything and getting on the wrong end of those hoofed is painful. Once that had been sorted we had to get them back to the paddocks. First to go was the mob of
 mothers with calfs. Using the “carrot” tactic, we lured and herded them to the “Landslide” paddock, all with calfs in tow. The carrot tactic is put a bail of hay on the back of a ute and drive along with the cows behind. They want food so they follow. It mostly works, exception is the rule, but for this mob it did. The wind had picked up by that time and when we got them to the paddock a small stretch of windy rain hit us, just to pass by in a few minutes to clear the sky for sunshine. After the cows it was the steers turn and they came in to the paddock “Above the Landslide”. Them being a rowdy bunch they more or less ignored the hay bail on the back of the ute until we dropped it in the pen. I went of to get another hay bail and meet James over in paddock “Edwards” to lure the spooked cow to the hay bail. We then went back to retrieve the calf and by the time we returned to the dropped bail the cow was close by. We left the two alone and hopped that she would look after the little guy. Going back was a challenge, as the resent rain has made a lot of the ways slick and muddy. I didn't get up one hill, so James took over the ute and zoomed up the slippery bit with a lot of speed. I would have probably managed too, but it is his car. Once back at the farm house I feed April (an abandoned twin calf, about a month old) and then went for some dinner that Catherine had prepared. An early night was due, as we had worked pretty hard.

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