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๐—˜๐˜…๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ช๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฎ ๐—™๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ’๐˜€ ๐—๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜†!

Calving is one of the most wonderful times in a farmerโ€™s calendar! However, itโ€™s not without its challenges and involves a lot of hard work throughout the year. The herd need regular doses & vaccinations to prevent a myriad of diseases including lumpy skin, and rift valley fever.

Preparation and provision of pastures and the making of hay ensures there is enough food in the cold wet winter months, to ensure optimum conditions for conception. Two months with the bull culminates in the conception of the cows and ultimately the arrival of those precious calves.

Management of pregnant cows and their condition at calving play an important role in reducing hassles and losses. Itโ€™s a wonderful sight to see sleek pregnant cows grazing on lush pastures, but as calving time approaches, itโ€™s a worry to know that often a lot of the extra weight is added to the calf and can lead to calving difficulties.

Stockmen need to check the stock at least three times a day, to avoid any complications during the delivery of the calves. Unseasonal weather can cause an explosion of ticks and the loss of a mother or calf with redwater (Babesiosis), a devastating tick-born disease.

A good season, with rain and a flush of pasture growth often results in larger calves. Sometimes we manage to help the cow by pulling out the calf, but often have to call a vet โ€“ always a difficult call, and so often late at night when we are tired, and we know that the vet is tired too. These large animal vets are wonderful and work tirelessly, often in appalling conditions โ€“ rain, cold and mud, to extricate a calf. Cows often go down in less-than-ideal places and one is left trying to provide the vet with as much hot water, soap and light to perform a tricky delivery, if not a caesarean. Calving difficulties incur major costs and reduced fertility in the herd.

Despite all the ups and downs farmers are resilient and love the life they lead. Itโ€™s delightful to watch a โ€œMumโ€ left in charge of the โ€œnurseryโ€ โ€“ one or two cows are often left overseeing a heap of young calves sleeping in the sun! Once the calves are strong enough, they can be seen frolicking around a camp in a group. Tagging calves to keep track of them can be eventful, and many a farmer and his labourers can be seen legging it over a pasture chased by an angry Mama!