Sussex cattle released for spring grazing

Every year the end of April our pedigree Sussex beef herd are released onto the sweet Spring grass.

Benjamin and Mikayla March 2012 068 Benjamin and Mikayla March 2012 069 Benjamin and Mikayla March 2012 070 Benjamin and Mikayla March 2012 072 Benjamin and Mikayla March 2012 073

It’s also at this time we sort out our animals into A and B group. The A group are our breeding animals and are normally with calf at foot. This year we are adding some new stock into the herd. This will be their first calving in Spring 2017. The B group are our fatteners or yearlings who cannot go against the bull because they are too young. These animals are taken off site to another farm holding to ensure extra fattening.

We also give our A team a vitamin tablet known as a bolus. This is completely organic and ensures our animals have all the vitamins and minerals for healthy beef production. These bolus slow release over 6 months the necessary minerals such as cooper, selenium, cobalt and magnesium.

But the real pleasure is seeing the cows dance their way onto the Spring grass. The animals are genuinely pleased to be outside (just as they are to come in during winter) and race up the field mooing away. It is therefore a great pleasure to share this with our readers so you can see how happy they are.

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Young calf saved from death

The Coopers Farm team is relieved and pleased to announce that the final calf of the season has survived after a difficult birth whereby the calf was stuck in Mum.

The heifer in question had been in labour for a number of hours and it was noticed that she was not progressing the birth of the calf. Once it was noticed that the Mum was exhausted and unable to continue Michael stepped in with help from Chris and Freddie to pull out the calf with the help of calving ropes. At first glance it look dead then suddenly the calf took its first breath.

It was then a race to get the calf dry and warm. Unfortunately, the Mum was also exhausted and was unable to help the calf as they normally do. The calf also had fluid on the lungs and between Freddie and Michael the calf was held upside down and the calf massaged to release the fluid. Thankfully, the calf reacted and coughed up a load of fluid. This gave it a fighting chance but it was extremely weak. We moved it to a calving pen along with Mum who was shaking from the trauma. The Mum had shown no interest in the calf. It was therefore decided  by the team to dry the calf off and get some emergency colostrum into it to give the calf a fighting chance. The calf reacted positively but was still too weak to get up on its feet. It was then down to a rotation of checks through the night to check on both Mum and calf.

At the midnight feed the calf had 1.5 litres of colostrum and Mum had calmed down but was still not interested in the calf. At 5.30am the calf was hungry and had become strong enough to get on its feet. This allowed Michael to direct the calf onto Mum’s teats and take its first drink of natural colostrum. Thankfully the Mum had calmed down and the calf fed naturally for about 30 minutes. Michael left Mum and calf alone. At the 8.30am check the calf appeared to not be hungry and Mum was having food.

As you can see from the video if was not for the quick intervention then there is a very real chance that the Mum and the calf would have died.

Thankfully, that was not the case and we can report that Mum and calf are doing fine. But the calf is massive!!