Happy New year

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the best for 2011.

December 30th saw the birth of ‘Alfie’ a British White bull calf. The calving went well and Alfie was healthy and up on his feet quickly. Pansy is an excellent mother but despite her best efforts & moo’s Alfie wouldn’t suckle. The first milk is full of colustrum and is vital for the calf’s long term health & immune system. After a few hours of trying unsuccessfully to suckle,  a few tricks were employed to help Alfie. A bit of golden syrup dabbed on the end of my finger then dip in sugar encouraged Alfie to suckle my finger so I could ‘lure’ him closer to the teat and hopefully ‘swap’.

Think the phrase you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink is very apt (obviously for cows as well!) as it didn’t work.  It got to 10pm, eight hours after Alfie was born and still hadn’t suckled so I made the decision to place his mum, Pansy in the crush and hand milk her, then bottle feed Alfie. At the start milking was interspered with attempted kicks (as best can be done in the crush) but soon she settled down and I’m sure was a bit relieved. Six bottles later and Alfie looked very contented with a full tummy of milk so left them for the night.

I returned in the morning hoping to find him suckling but no such joy so repeated the process in the morning and evening. I did reduce the quantity of milk given each time for want that Alfie would realise he was on to a good thing and just lay there waiting for his milk to arrive!!!!  Finally this morning, New Years Day gave him one bottle, he got up and attempted to suckle and I gave him a ‘sturdy’ push, getting his head down and managed to feed the teat into his mouth. Success he was suckling and I was relieved of my milking duties.  With this new found independance Alfie was up an about exploring the yard.

Pedigree British White Pansy & calf 'Alfie'