We know the time has come to wean the calves off as the cows march off determinedly when they start trying to feed,! This is usually when they are around 9 months old, the calves seem to spend most of their time away from their mums anyway.  Perfect timing as the cows should have a ‘drying off’ period , giving them time to prepare for the next calving in March/April

As the calves seemed extremely independent and the mums not bothered, we dispensed with using the Quiet Weaners (see previous post January 2018) and just made sure the calves were at the top of the farm and the cows at the bottom (out of sight and we thought out of mind).  What a mistake…..

For the first time we had both calves and cows spend 2 or 3 days escaping from their fields despite our best efforts, very few photos of this time as we were too busy running around trying to sort them out.

Both cows and calves were scaling walls you would have thought was impossible….the calves managed to climb over a field wall into the small gap between the wall and the next field fence.  They then careered up and down going backwards and forwards over the wall back into the field – unfortunately we had planted over 200 small trees in this gap to create a shelter belt – over half of which were ruined!  As fast as we blocked one area of escape they found another.

Meanwhile the cows were climbing over a six foot wall next to a gate on the road into the farm, we eventually managed to stop them at 10pm one night (in the dark) by fixing an old gate over the weak areas – stones had been misplaced as they tried to get over.  They then discovered that part of the electric fence wasn’t working and as fast as David mended one bit they destroyed another whilst I tried to stand guard and look fierce (and big) to stop them getting through.

We learnt a few things from these few days.

  • Never assume that what works one year will work the next!
  • We need to get on with fencing all the fields rather than relying on the electric fence.
  • Never underestimate that maternal urge.
  • Use the Quiet Weaners.

This learning curve never stops…….!