In the end my rough calculations weren’t too far off and Daisy eventually calved at about 4pm last Saturday afternoon. We had kept a close eye on her and quite by chance went down to their field just to have a check during the afternoon.
When we got there we could just see the tips of 2 little hooves protruding so we knew that we’d timed the visit perfectly. It was just a question of waiting a few more minutes and then I got to see my first calving having missed others in previous years.
Very calmly she wandered over to a quiet corner and laid down. She was apparently oblivious to the fact that she’d picked the area with quite a few stinging nettles but maybe that was deliberate to keep me away!
The result was a healthy looking bull calf that we will be calling Garry. There’s no special reason for the name other than we wanted it to start with a “G” but after a day or so we decided he looks like a Garry so that’s settled.
The rest of the herd gathered around to take a look and to admire the newborn. However Daisy was always on hand to tell them to back off if they got too close.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that, like the two previous calves from Daisy, with any luck Garry will turn out to be naturally polled (no horns). That would certainly mean one less job for us over the coming weeks.
After all the excitement, it was great to see the newborn up on his feet in no time and suckling well on his mother
By the end of April our small herd of Dexter cattle had managed to eat all the hay that we made late last summer. Over the last couple of weeks there has been some carefully planned movements between their winter fields because we had a family wedding lined up for the main meadows.
While they may have made an interesting addition to the wedding party, they don’t mix well with wedding guests so they were kept well away until after the event. Luckily we had some wooded areas with good grazing which they could move into temporarily.
We had originally stored around 380 small square bales of hay and at the time I was sure that it would last all the way through winter. However the tough snowy period through March meant that we got through our supply more quickly than expected.
In the end, we asked a neighbour to bring us just one large round bale of silage with his tractor so we could feed them through the last week or two and that did the job nicely. Yet another example where friends and neighbours can make all the difference so we’re always very appreciative of the help.
Based on notes I made when the bull was here last summer, I believe that Daisy will be the first to calve, perhaps even later this week. After that I’m hoping that Nellie will calve about 2-3 weeks later but this is all very approximate.
We’ll just have to let nature take its course and wait until they’re ready to produce. It’s times like this when we appreciate the fact that Dexters are an easy calving breed and they can be left to sort themselves out. We shouldn’t need to interfere but we’ll be watching closely just in case.
Once the wedding party clean-up had been completed last weekend, it was a simple matter of walking the cattle down to their new home. As usual they were more than happy to follow a bucket and since it was a hot day they weren’t in the mood for any rushing about.