Week beginning 27 April 2002
Up and away to the yards first thing this morning, to feed the orphan boy. We used the same method as last night, with the cow up the race and him getting in behind. We'll probably do that for the next couple of feeds and then give them a go together in the race pen. Hopefully by then the cow might have become used to a new feeder and used to the fact that she no longer has a six-month-old heifer by her side, so more prepared to let the small calf feed. If not, then we go back to the other plan and select one of the autumn cows, and #34 will go off on a truck. This way she buys herself another six months of life.
Here's the wee boy after his feed.
I took these pictures during a walk today....
which was part of this....
The air has been so full of moisture (and lightly falling rain) which had collected in droplets on a spider web, attached to a fence along my way.
Monday to Wednesday
Cow #34 has not taken to adoptive calf feeding. Into her seventh month of milking, she doesn't have enough milk, nor is she willing to mother the new calf. I decided against trying to get one of the other autumn-calved cows to take the orphan calf, since they have a hard few months ahead of them just feeding their own. So I am now bottle feeding the calf and, having never done this before, I'll have to do a bit of research on how best to proceed. There is much written on raising calves on milk powder, but generally by commercial bull-beef rearers, who need to be as economically efficient as they can, which means rearing the calves to independence as quickly as possible. Those calves, though, are weaned at around 100kg at six weeks or so and their growth rates are quite different from those we get with our calves here. I'd like to try and mimic, as closely as is practicable, the growth path this calf would have followed, had his mum raised him. After a couple of weeks of feeding, I might change my mind again too.
We weighed the calf on Monday morning, before commencing bottle feeding, and he'd actually lost a little weight since last Thursday. We will weigh him again in a few days to check if he's getting enough feed, and adjust as necessary. After all, this boy is a stud bull, with the potential to be a great animal, so I'd like to give him the best possible start.
I took these photos on Monday night.... this is a weta. I presume it's a cave weta, which doesn't particularly explain why it was on the wall in our house. This one was actually quite small, its body less than a centimeter long.
We find them in the house occasionally, usually in the bathroom, after they come in through the open window. They are very interesting. I found another website for further quick reference: here.
And now, to choose a name for the orphan child....