Strike me down with a wad of wet cardboard – 40k Farm’s first calf was born yesterday 11/12/13 !!
On a day when mega coal export terminals on the Great Barrier Reef where approved, and same-sex marriages legally performed for the first time in Australian history were over-turned in the High Court – we had a little dose of sanity on the farm.
Being new to the whole thing, I thought being a young heifer of small frame, the birth would be difficult. Well, we got lucky and Millie popped out her calf in 45min flat – perfect calf position, cool calm & collected labour, all long before I could call the vet. 20min later ‘calfie’ (interim name..) was on her feet and looking for a teat (and so was I).
Some pics below and some video clips soon after, once I can edit out my hysterical audio, nearly doing a brain-gasket with excitement :)
Due any day
Labour in progress: two front feet followed by head is what you want
Very proud mum and Calfie on wobbly legs – attempting to stand for the first time
On feet & bee-line for teats
Day 2 and bouncing around
Good stuff that!
And of course with a calf, comes not only MILK! ahem.. but also Colostrum – the only way in which the new calf receives immune-activating antibodies to protect it from harsh conditions, pathogens etc during the first critical days of life. With the calf having gorged and now asleep on the ground, and with this golden nectar not only dripping but squirting from the teats onto the ground, who was I to refuse?
Colostrum: short term super food resembling syrupy custard yellow goo. Get amongst it!
Now we slowly get into the rhythm of daily milking; sharing with the calf so it can stay with mum to grow big, strong and happy. Generally cows can support more than one, sometimes several, calves. The industry practice is to remove calves immediately, and thus milk two to three times per day. Not so cool for the small farmer with an emphasis on animal happiness, well-being and moderate workload. With a cultural emphasis over the years on breeding cows (and everything else) for production, unless the udder is frequently (ie, daily) emptied, pain and inflammation can ensure. Not wanting our prize cow to suffer Mastitis, we’re happy to milk once a day, sharing with the calf, and generally lavishing lots of good tucker and TLC as our end of the bargain. It’s so exciting I can almost bottle my own joy. You really should try it. I hope we get to share some together soon :)
Clean, healthy, beautiful, delicious out-of-this-world raw milk from a happy cow in a mini herd moving in grassland supporting grazing patterns. RAW MILK people!!