September has come to an end and the nights are once again drawing in, winter is just around the corner !
This time of year is always difficult for dairy farmers, the grass growth is slowing down and there isn't as much goodness in the grass for Daisy to turn into milk.
We are reluctant to start using our winter feed to early as spring is a long long way off.
But this September has been a fantastic month for crops to grow, it has stayed warm and with some nice rain the grass has just kept growing.
The scene below looks more like May or June as Daisy and her pals tuck into some lovely lush grass, not nearly the end of September !
The warm weather has also kept Daisy Made busy so the cows can't relax just yet ;)
TTFN Farmer Dave
ps, Daisy Made will have a limited number of home grown pumpkins on sale for Halloween this year so don't miss out .
There are some new special calf pens on Daisy Made farm.
The pens, with the green hutch attached can be sited anywhere around the farm yard.
The blue trough on the gate has a teat on the bottom for the calf to drink its milk from (Shown above) and the white box is for dry food, it has a flap which the calf can push open with its nose but keeps the rain out.
The calves are out of the calf house in the fresh air but still have warmth and shelter from the covered hutch.
We like to have each calf in its own pen, just for a few weeks after being born so that we can be sure it is drinking the correct amount of milk and is fit and well.
They will only spend a few weeks in the hutch before being put in a large yard or paddock with other calves.
We have two small calves in the Daisy Made paddock sharing one of these hutches, these are twins , Ellie and Angus named by a customers children.
They are both getting about 2 litres (3 1/2 pints) of milk twice a day as well as dry calf nuts and meal.
As they start to eat more dry food we will decrease the milk to 1 feed a day and then wean them in a few weeks time. At this point they will be allowed out into the whole paddock to make friends with the goats.
Please go and say hello to them but do remember to wash your hands as you leave the animal feeding area.
Their afternoon feed is usually about 5 pm if you would like to see how fast they can drink a bucket of fresh warm milk.
Ellie & Angus having a frolic after their tea .
A few customers have mentioned that the icecream tastes 'just a little different' at the moment, the pure daisy in particular.
This is because the cows have changed from their winter diet of grass silage and maize to fresh spring grass out in the fields.
This change of diet does have a slight affect on the taste of the milk and the icecream, this being more noticeable in the less flavoured ice creams, especially pure daisy with no added flavour.
The other affect the new lush grass has is to boost daisy's milk yield and with a lot of recently calved cows the result is this....
This is the farm bulk milk tank this morning. Full to overflowing.
We take milk from this tank to make the ice cream each day but still the tank is near to overflowing. Daisy would be very disappointed to know any of her fantastic milk was going to waste !
How can you help ? Well we have to make 'even' more ice cream to keep Daisy and her chums happy so if you could all stop by this week and have a cornet or two Daisy would be very grateful . ;) (and of course so would we ! )
Bye for now Farmer Dave :)
Many of you who have visited Daisy Made this spring will have noticed the cows in the field on the left of the farm lane. This is the nursery field where we keep our cows that are due to calve, and some of you will have been lucky enough to witness cows giving birth.
Because it is close to the farmyard and houses it is easy to keep an eye on things and be on hand if assistance is required.
On Tues we had no less than 3 cows calve, all successfully on their own, just how I like it !
Another cow looked like she was going to calve that tues night when I looked around, so I went to bed half expecting to be out again shortly , but all remained quiet.
Early Wed morning I checked on the cow, nothing seemed to be happening except for a trail of slime . She allowed me to get close to her and a quick inspection revealed the slime was infact a tail !Just a tail, no feet .. this was bad news, a breach calf (being born backwards instead of head and front feet first) is bad enough but with both legs back inside the cow it is a very bad situation for both the calf and indeed the cow.
Breach births are more difficult because the shape of the calf backwards first is less streamlined to slide out and of course the last part out is the nose and mouth so it cant breath until fully out .
A calves feet and legs must be presented first , otherwise the cow wont be able to give birth, either forwards or backwards.
So off came my coat and jumper but for the sake of modesty I sacrificed my Daisy Tshirt and kept that on.
Basically my task is to push the calf back into the cow , find the calf's rear legs and try to manipulate the leg and hoof towards me, without damaging the cows uterus lining. All the while the cow is having contractions, pushing the calf back against me crushing my arm and hand between the calf and her pelvis, nice ! .
And as if that isn't bad enough loads of gunk (you know what I mean !) is gushing out .
It seemed a hopeless task but eventually after nearly an hour and with Dan assisting we managed to get the legs into position and at last help pull the calf out backwards.
At this point I had very little hope in the calf still being alive but miraculously as we pulled it clear we heard a gurgling sound and the calf took its first raspy breath.
No pics of the actual birth I'm afraid but we were kind of busy, and a little bit messed up ! But heres a couple of shots just as we have pulled the calf round to meet mum.
The other cows came over to have a look as well.
Then it was time for a shower and a celebration mug of tea :) .
A great way to start the day.
Bye for now.. Farmer Dave :D
It was last spring time when we let our Hereford bull Henry out with the milking herd.
His task was to mate any cows which we had failed to get in calf over the winter.
Now Henry isn't as young as he used to be and we wondered if this may prove a little to much for him but I am pleased to say he hasn't let us down...
As you can see we have a yard full of Henry's offspring , about 15 in fact.
Most calves will suckle from their mother and indeed any cow that happens to be there. This is good for us as it means less hand feeding which can take up a lot of time.
We use a bottle with a teat on top (can be seen in the first pic) to start any difficult calves feeding and then eventually try to get them drinking from a bucket.
Cows will often calve in the middle of the night so I'm sometimes out at strange hours helping cows with difficult calvings.
Most cows have calved successfully all on their own though this time, thankfully..
Its a lovely sight in the morning to see a cow has calved, all on her own without interrupting my beauty sleep..
As reported in my last blog it has been turnout time, not only for Daisy and the other milking cows but we have also been taking some of the younger cattle out to grass fields as well .
Some of the calves, born in the autumn /winter months have never been out in a grass field before so its a whole new experience for them.
They have never seen grass and it takes time for them to realise that the green stuff under their feet is actually good to eat.
The biggest problem for us is keeping them in while they realise the electric fence will 'sting' if they get too close.
We have our 'cowboy' on hand to round them up if they try to make a break for it, mounted on a quad bike these days though, not a horse.
The electric fence is difficult to see so we hang reflective tape on the wire to help stop the calves from running through it.
Anyway we arrive at the field with ten calves in the trailer. Everyone is in position and I open the taildoor !
The calves come out tentatively at first and then gallop off across the field. Dan rides around the perimeter on the quad bike steering them away from the fence and all is going well until one daft calf runs in a different direction from all its buddies and goes straight through the fence !!
The single wire fence snaps easily and there is little risk of the calf injuring itself, (unlike barbed wire which can inflict nasty wounds on animals if they try to get through it.)
Dan chases after the calf and soon rounds it up and brings it back into the field, but the broken fence is now dead and has to be repaired fast before the other calves escape as well.
The problem we have now is that the calf which broke out won't go back to its friends, infact strangely it now seems to be afraid of them !
We try to coax it back to the group but as we get it within about 20metres it panics and runs through the fence again. The operation is repeated but once again it is afraid to go back to its friends which it has lived with for the past 5 months ???
After about two hours and 4 or 5 more failed attempts we at last manage to persuade it to rejoin the group and it immediately calms down and all is well.
The calves have discovered the grass and are happily munching away, a few have discovered the 'stinging' fence and are keeping well away from the field edges.
We now need a 'cow whisperer' to have a word with the stupid one to find out what was going on in its mind. !
Or maybe it isn't stupid at all and it was doing it on purpose so they could all have a laugh at our expense.
Bye for now, Farmer Dave :)
The sun is shining again and Daisy and her girlfriends have recently been looking longingly at the new grass growing out in the fields.
So when I decided the grass had grown enough to be grazed and headed out with my fencing stakes and wire the cows all gathered to watch me, mooing excitedly over the crewyard fence. (the cows, not me ! )
Then the big moment arrived, Danny opened the gate and 90 cows came galloping out into the field.
Out they came prancing and kicking but quickly got down to the serious business of eating !
The new grass, which was sown in the autumn is a special variety called 'Tornado' that grows quickly in the spring to give early grazing, and it has not let us down as can be seen from this pic'.
To make sure that the cows eat up each day I put a fence across the field, as can be seen here and move it up every day to give the cows fresh grass.
And this is the result. If the cows where allowed onto the whole field straight away they would waste a lot of grass and not want to eat up completely as they have done here.
It's always nice to see the cows out in the fields again, although they will still come back inside at night for a while and are still eating silage it signals the end of winter and there will soon be a lot less work bedding up, feeding, cleaning out yards etc.
The grass in these pictures, taken on Monday will have been converted into milk by the cows, the cows will have been milked and some of the milk already made into Daisy Made icecream ! (Even chocolate I'm told....at last :D )
So if your icecream seems especially good and creamy this weekend, now you know why.
Bye for now
Farmer Dave :)
GUEST BLOGGER: Farmer Dave’s daughter-in-law Debbie
This is Henry. He is Daisy Made's bull, and in May he will be celebrating his 8th birthday. He’s lived on Daisy Made farm for the past seven years after travelling from Derbyshire at the ripe old age of one.
Some may consider Henry a lucky man as he has between 10 and 20 girlfriends at any one time. And before he gets bored of his current harem, they’re regularly rotated. This is because it’s Henry’s duty to impregnate the female cows on the farm, and so far, he hasn’t done a bad job. He is father to approximately 30 calves a year, which makes his running total about 210! Fortunately for Henry, social services haven’t caught up with him yet. Can you imagine the child maintenance? It’d be astronomical! It wouldn’t be that difficult for social services to spot his children either, as he passes his white face onto each of his offspring. On some days you should be able to spot Henry grazing in the field beside Daisy Made. Another one of Henry’s favourite spots is the field which you can see from the ‘Poppies, Poppies, Poppies’ sign on the sustrans.
Henry is a pedigree Hereford. He is just one of five million pedigree Hereford cattle that now exist in over 50 countries. Amazingly, they originated from our little island in Herefordshire, England, UK. Henry’s a big fella who weighs approximately one metric tonne – astonishing really since his diet consists of grass, hay, silage and meal. Despite Henry’s beastly appearance and the fact he weighs the same as a small car, he is a gentle giant. Some may say that fatherhood mellowed Henry, but no, he’s been happy since the day he landed on Daisy Made farm.
It was time just recently for Daisy and friends to have their health check done, with particular regard to tuberculosis (TB).
This is always a slightly worrying time, for me that is! Daisy is oblivious to such things.
Our vet, Archie, has the job of measuring the thickness of the skin on each of our cows' necks, this is recorded and then each cow is injected with a fake TB solution at the same place on her neck . If the cow has ever been exposed to real TB her immune system will react and the injection site will swell. If her body doesn't recognise the fake TB jab there will be no reaction.
Archie then returns 2 days later to recheck each cows' skin thickness.
The whole thing is quite a lengthy process but I am delighted to say that all our cows passed with flying colours :) and we can now wait 4 years before our next test. Lincolnshire is historically TB free, hence the long period between testing. Farms in other counties which have recorded TB cases have to test every year or every 6 months in some parts.
TB has been in the news a lot recently, with badgers being blamed for spreading the disease. This has led to a badger cull in some parts of the country which has caused a lot of anger amongst nature lovers.
Fortunately Lincolnshire remains TB free and so both badgers and cows can sleep easily at night... (err, well not badgers actually as they are nocturnal and sleep in the daytime but you know what I mean ;) )
So it gives me great pleasure to state that NO BADGERS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF DAISY MADE ICECREAM. Perhaps I should make some 'badger friendly' stickers to put up!!
Look forward to seeing you all soon.
P.S. Don't forget we are open all week during half term hols.
Its hard to believe that the clocks have gone back and it is now officially winter time, the summer has flown by and I have been reminded that I have neglected my blogs !
So much has happened since my last post but one of the most important jobs that affect Daisy and friends is the baling of straw and carting it back to the farmyard.
This will be used as bedding for the long cold winter months so we must be sure to bale the straw when it is dry, otherwise it can go mouldy and start to rot.
This is Danny's job, so while the combine is munching its way through the harvest he has to chase after it with the baler and then cart the round bales back to the farm and make neat stacks.
As the nights draw in and the first frosts start to threaten we have to begin rounding up all the younger cattle that have spent the summer out in the fields, usually by now the grass has all but stopped growing and the cows are ready to be loaded into the trailer and be taxied back to the farmyard.
It still feels warm though and it seems a shame to bring them in, but we know that winter is just around the corner so over the next few weeks all the cattle will be brought back.
Picture below of Henry, our Hereford bull with some of his girl friends ! (He is good friends with my German Shepherd)
Some of you will have seen him either in the field at Skellingthorpe off the old railway track or now in the field next to Daisy Made.
This picture was taken a few weeks ago when we moved him back.
I hope you have all enjoyed your summer and a big thankyou for coming to visit us at Daisy Made this year.
Remember we are now open all year (except Mondays in winter) The icecream is just as good but with out having to queue ;)