The fours calves are still tied in the shed, calm and very much used to me stroking and handling them. I have had a few escapes, they manage to wiggle their way out of the halters, or the halters come loose for the hook. It is part of the learning process for all of us. I will start walking them out into the yard this week on the halter, setting their food buckets outside.
On Wednesday I did have a terrible fright. I check the calves several times a day, and when I went in late afternoon for their second feed, Breena was down, with her head twisted around under her body, shoved right up against the wall. I thought she was dead. Complete panic, tried calling for help, no one answered. I had to shift her, but calves are heavy. I was able to inch her head around by holding on to the little horns. She was still breathing, but only the whites of her eyes were showing. I was crying and swearing, always a good combination, and realised I needed to get her body pulled away so she could use her legs to push out against the wall and stand up. Plenty of huffing and puffing, finally I dragged her out away, mostly by pulling her by the tail. She laid there for a few minutes, just exhausted (so was I!) then suddenly full of movement, she got herself back up. She shook her head, I gave her a bucket of water and the silly calf went straight for the hay. My farmer friend, Ed reminded me that cows are pretty tough, adding that she might have been died. Always learning on the job.
We had moved eight lambs, now nine months old, to another field. Next day, on my daily rounds I only counted seven. My usual panic, and I spent several minutes looking in a field next door, on the next farm, thinking she had managed to get under the gate. A further look around and I spotted a white blob at the bottom of my field. The poor little lamb was completely caught by brambles and she couldn’t move. Luckily I was wearing a pair of tough gloves, and was able to hold her and pull off the brambles. Dan spent the next morning cutting back the brambles which had grown through the fence. Nasty job but someone’s got to do it!
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.