The week beginning 31 August, 2002.
Calving is due to start here from the 3rd of September, so I've moved the first seven cows due to calve in to a paddock close to home. The others are still out at the back of the farm, climbing hills and foraging for the scant grass left at this time of year. I go out to check on them every few days, to keep an eye on sudden udder development etc.
There's one 'illegal extra' in the paddock: Abigail, Isla's daughter, who entered via a swamp and some rather shakey fencing. It's good to see that she was well weaned from Isla, so no longer tries to feed from her.
Isla and Abigail
(You can find more information about both via the Virago Stud link at the top of this page.)
It occurs to me it might be fun to run another "Isla sweepstake" on her calving date. The information we have to make our 'educated guesses' is as follows:
Last year she was due to calve between 14 & 29 September and actually had Abigail on 11 September. This year she is in-calf to Sitz Traveler 8180, son of Abigail's sire, and is due between 28 September and 13 October.
Please enter via this form:
A marvellous prize will be awarded to the closest entry.
My latest needy baby. This is Lulu's granddaughter, now eight days old and finally settling down since I've sorted out her feed content and schedule.
I don't know why, but her mother rejected her soon after she was born. I tried then to foster her with another ewe who'd just had a single lamb, but was unsuccessful. The weather was nasty (so I didn't want to spend hours outside trying to get the lamb set up with a new mum) so I brought her in and fed her - after we'd given her a feed from the just-lambed ewe, to make sure she'd had some colostrum during those first few crucial hours.
She didn't do well on a mix of cows' milk with various additives, so I bought a small bag of lamb-milk replacer and she began to make progress. I will gradually re-introduce cows' milk into her diet, along with eggs, cod-liver oil and various other interesting things to round out her nutrient intake, because the manufactured powder is very expensive to continue buying and feeding.
The first two calves of the season. #24 with a tiny heifer was first, born some time early in the morning, with a strangely folded over ear. Then during the afternoon, #94 had her second calf, another bull.
Both calves are from Virago Bertrand 01, our rather huge first-born stud bull, whose calves are quite small when born.
Like last year, we've had a few lambs with folded-in lower eyelids. When they're born, I check their eyelids specifically for this problem. Most this year have been just fine, some have been easy to flip out and then stay there, but this lamb just won't come right. This is the wee boy I pulled out backwards during his birth.
This is my first attempt to rectify the problem, but I'm not sure that the tape is enough to hold onto wooly, and usually damp, eyelids well enough. It proved ineffective in the long term last year, but I wondered if a more elaborate tape system might work differently. We shall see. Hopefully he will too.
It would seem that the now-dead ram may have been genetically at fault. (He died a few weeks ago from old age and failing health.) Fortunately this is only his second crop of lambs and we will keep only one or two replacement breeding ewes from his progeny.