Operation Jab, to vaccinate all the cows in calf against rotavirus, has been carried out successfully.
Only one cow managed to escape the cunningly laid trap of gates and crush, and she was jabbed in her rear end once she had her head into the silage and was oblivious to all else except a good feed. T
The syringes caused more problems than anything else as the needles kept breaking. We ended up using four syringes by the end of the session. No qualms here about sharing needles. What was good enough for one cow, was good enough for the next, unless they happened to snap off in the cow’s rump.
And now along with the dreary weather, the clocks have gone back and we are getting dark, dreary evenings.
John says “It is going to be a long winter”. We have finished land work as everything is too wet to continue.
Friends who have eighty acres of potatoes still to lift are starting to despair they will ever get them this year and there are still some fields that will never get their corn harvested this autumn. The knock on being very little has been sown for next year’s crops.
At home I doubt we will get any more broody hens this year, but the last broody I set with eggs has just brought off eight bantam chicks. Tiny bundles of yellow feathers.
Early evenings have made me reorganise the hens and bring in all the little poultry groups of varying age and maturity to spend some time incarcerated in the hen run. It has meant a sudden increase in the number of eggs we get.
Instead of the hens laying in inaccessible nests on the hay and straw bales, they are actually having to lay their eggs in nest boxes in the hen hut. A novel experience for most of them. I have even discovered a nest of guinea fowl eggs at a time of year I had expected them to stop laying. This year is all to pot.
Do not be lulled into a false sense of torpor and tranquillity in the countryside however.
Our bull maybe having a quieter time of it tucked up cosily with the bullocks and no cows to bother or excite him, but in the sheep fields it is all go since the tups went in.
It is amazing to see the difference in the tups now that they are having to justify their existence on the farm.
For the last few months they have lived in a paddock next to the house and seemed to spend a lot of time just lolling around.
One had a bad foot and it was touch and go as to whether he would be able to stand the pressure and pace of courtship.
But he and they are now invigorated and up for it. Time will tell.
At the end of the month they will no doubt be back crawling around on their knees.
Mrs Downs Diary