Pregnancy testing the cows
We were a little more anxious this year as this was the first year we had used Durham and it was his first season. However, he didn’t fail to deliver and all 17 cows he covered were pregnant. So happy all round…..
Our vet uses ultrasound to give the cows an internal scan through the side of the rectal wall and views the images via a pair of connected goggles. We only get given a rough guide as to how long the pregnancy is ie 10-12 weeks but this helps to give us an idea of the overall length of time to expect the new calves. Estimated start of calving is end of March and was until the middle of May……….
However Durham had other ideas. Young female cows (heifers) should not go with the bull until they are about two thirds of their full adult weight which with our cows means they should be around 400kg. 4 of our youngest heifers were too light to go in with Durham this year, so they were kept in a separate field whilst he went in with the rest at the beginning of July.
2 days after the cows had been scanned (September), early one morning we discovered Durham was missing from the herd, no sign of broken fences or gates…..David immediately guessed where he was and yes he had found the other young heifers. We managed to work out what he had been up to during the night. He had scaled the wall of his field, walked up our farm track, attempted to climb another wall, given up there, walked back down the track, around the yard, through another field onto a small hillock which allowed him to leap over their stock fencing safely into their field!! Luckily for all involved the heifers had grown a lot in the two months since they had been weighed and he had only lost a few tail feathers on the fence – it could have been a lot worse! This does however mean that we will probably have 4 late calves arriving in July.
He was very keen as you can see!!
Our calves from this year are around 6 months old so the next step is castration for the boys (at around 8/9 months old) then once they have recovered the calves are separated from their mums to be weaned – and the cycle starts again!!