My quilting thoughts and inspirations sprinkled with a glimpse of life down on the farm

Friday, December 1, 2023

There's been a lack of.... spam lately.
In the last few posts I haven't talked about being knee deep in calves, as was the case July through to September.
Yes things have eased a bit on the farm - for me.
I raised 129 calves, I think that may be the most that I have done in my 42 odd years of calf rearing (!!) I can usually count on having somewhere between 115-120.
We weaned the first mob at the beginning of October. When we do this we take them back to the shed (luring them with a feeder of milk, of course). We draft out any that aren't big/old enough. Then the weaning mob all get drenched, vaccinated and are given a copper supplement (vital on our soils). 
About 5 days later, after reducing their milk daily, we lure them out the back to the runoff. They follow the feeder partway out the track, have their final milk feed —
And then we follow them out to their new home —
This mob was weaned last week. You can see how content they are - they didn't come running looking for a milk feed when they heard the bike - a good sign!!!
I'm still feeding 16 - the end of calving is a pain as the calves are spread out - there may be a week without a calf, etc etc, which means the age range within the last mob is quite wide. I probably have 5 I can wean, but it's barely worth it for that number, so they're still on milk until a few more reach the right age/weight. These are the youngest mob, after yesterday's feed —
These are all by an Angus dad crossed with dairy (milking) cows. I love the range of 'black'  we get.

There is a saying, "where there are Livestock, there has to be Dead Stock." Fortunately I didn't usually have many troubles with my calf rearing. Some calves we bring in straight away if Mum appears to have forgotten about them and not fed them. Or if it's been horribly wet and cold. Usually with the freshest colostrum possible, a good rub down, a survival blanket and an old horse neck cover or saddle blanket they are up on their feet in no time, with no ill effects.

I did lose two calves though. One picked up a bug (pneumonia?). I nursed her back to health and she was seemingly well. Out with the big calves on the farm, but I found her dead one morning - about 3 weeks after she had been sick. Another calf got himself stuck under the railings in the calf shed (I didn't know that was possible) and suffered a brain injury. I thought he was coming right, but I also found him dead one morning. But thankfully, those incidents were isolated. I had no cases of scours/diarrhoea, which can devastate calf sheds, so that was pleasing.
One calf that took a lot of nursing turned up on our doorstep (!) one day, when a neighbour found him in one of his paddocks. He was a day or more old and rejected by his mum. He'd not had a feed at all. It was a day of cold and horizontal rain and he had a fever. The neighbour has a small beef herd and isn't set up for hand rearing calves so I took him on.
He was a good strong calf, once we got his temperature down.
His eyes looked really strange and it was soon obvious that he was completely blind. We had a long winded explanation from the vet about how high temperature/fevers can change the proteins in eyes and create problems.
After a few weeks of walking around the outer edge of the pens - guiding himself by bumping into the walls, and having to be taken to the milk feeder, the his eyes started to look more normal and he gradually gained some sight.
I was like a mother hen the day I let him out into the paddock. Again walking around the edges, but seeing enough to get around.
He's doing great now. Here he is having a cuddle with the MOML.

I've decided to try and write a post a day in try and catch up on all the posts I haven't written all year before the new one starts.  So I'll leave this post here and stop scrolling through 100s of calf photos trying to find the cutest one ever.
So, 'til next time, hopefully tomorrow,
Happy stitches, 


  1. love this post about the other part of your life....makes it more amazing that you accomplish as much quilting as you do....

  2. wow the ups and downs of raising cattle - sometimes it is a wonder you have a little free time for quilting. Hope things will settle down a bit for you now

  3. wow. A post a day. I did that a couple of times in Decembers past. Now I hardly get a post a month. I do not miss the baby calf rearing in our retirement. Looing forward to seeing what other things go on in your daily life.

  4. Calves are a lot of work!
    A couple of organic dairies near us are selling Cow with Calf milk, where humans and calves both get a is good stuff!!

  5. Love your "farm spam" messages most of all.


  6. Gosh your post brought back many memories Raewyn - but the most I ever reared was 82 so your numbers are amazing! Well done! I know the physical toll it can take on us.
    That sick calf that found its way to you ... his eyes remind me of Little One. He came to us totally blind in just one eye but as he has gotten healthier & improved - I notice the cloudiness that covered his eye is much better. I still think he's blind but he is definately looking much healthier. His eye was totally like your calfs eye when he first came in from the wild. Enjoy your weekend Raewyn xx

  7. I do enjoy your calf posts and appreciate that you keep it real with the ups and downs. It’s good to hear that the little calf is regaining sight.

  8. I think all your calk photos are the cutest! I guess the claves show us the ups and downs of life, sad to see some have dies but wow you have raised so many! I hope that little calf regains lots more sight, I am sure he knows he is in the right place to be loved.

  9. Always love your farm posts and seeing the hard work you do to raise the calves. Sadly losing a few is part of it.
    Hope the little calf regains some more of its sight.
    Maria lifeontheblock.

  10. I love reading about your life on the farm, thank you. xx

  11. I always enjoy your farm stories and photos. It sound like a lovely and thriving life.

  12. Love seeing you farm photos, takes me back in time

  13. just rereading this post and how wonderful that you were able to save a few sick ones..........makes the work worth while...........always bad luck with something. You did so well to only lose 2 with the huge number of calves. and no scours OMG heaven..........


Thank you for visiting and taking the time to leave a comment. I read and appreciate them all and try my best to reply. Have a great day!!
(If you are a no-reply or anonymous blogger and would like a response, please leave an email address.)