HIGHLAND HAIRCUTS AND RAM CRAYONS
The calves are settled in the shed, but with the strange warm November weather they are getting quite sweaty. Highlands normally stay out all winter. They have a warm undercoat and a shaggy blanket coat on top. Although the four calves are in a very open and well ventilated shed they are a bit too warm, especially because they love to snuggle up together.
Time for a trim. The object of the exercise is to encourage evaporation, so a wide strip is taken off the back. Easy…well, the actual clipping was fine. But, being very happy in their new home, they weren’t thrilled with being loaded onto the cattle trailer. After several attempts to gently coax them, it was finally brute force that got the job done. Matt and Richard bodily shoved them, pushed them, lots of grunting and groaning, waving arms and swearing. I left them to it and stood on guard duty by the trailer ramp. Once boarded, we took them up to the cattle crush in the holding area. From then on it was a smooth operation.
I borrowed proper electric clippers from another farmer. Having the right tool always makes the job easier. Each calf took it in turn to get the hair shaved off the back. They then loaded right up into the trailer without any hesitation. It looks a bit odd, but they aren’t bothered. Next year, the calves get a clip before we put them into winter housing.
The rams had their crayons changed today. All twenty one ewes have been marked red by the rams. But sometimes, for whatever reason, the ewe isn’t pregnant. So the red crayon is replaced by a blue after seventeen days, the estrus cycle of a ewe.
Shurper is such a calm ram, that I was able to change the crayon while he stood patiently waiting. My newer ram, Bemborough, is not as easily handled. And he is too big for me to turn. So I got help with him. I hope I don’t see any blue rumps in the next seventeen days. I hope my rams have done their job first time round.
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Jo Stover has daily adventures on her small farm, together with her Highland cattle and Portland sheep, bees, a few hens, dogs, and some two-legged family and friends.