Last week Lottie calved a handsome Angus-X male. With our milk yields currently high and us not desperate for Lottie's milk, we're hoping we can keep them together for a bit longer to give the calf the best of starts. Soon it will be Precious and Darla's turn to calf and once they've re-joined the milking herd, we'll be awash with even more. And - say it quietly - Spring isn't far off either. It won't be that much longer before the girls are outside again enjoying the fresh pastures and us enjoying their ever-expanding milk returns.
The heavily-in-calf Darla's not been having the best of times of it lately though. She spent a couple of weeks not being able to use her back legs and we had to isolate her from the rest of the herd. Something was causing a lot of discomfort, whether she had picked up an injury to her legs, or another cow had knocked her over, we weren't sure. All we could do was offer pain relief, make sure she was comfortable, and bring the food and water to her as she couldn’t manage to stand up. She looked well in herself, was eating well, and was able to shuffle positions on the straw using her front legs, but she seemed to be paralyzed from the back. Just when we feared the worst that she might not walk again, and as the vet was coming for her second check-up, she miraculously stood up! A little shakily to begin with but within a few days, she was back to her normal self. We're now thinking that perhaps the calf (or calves!) inside her were causing some internal pressure and had trapped a nerve in her back legs making them incapacitated. The unborn must have shifted positions, causing the feelings in her legs to return and the rapid improvement to her wellbeing. While not wanting to jinx it, she won’t be out of the woods until she’s calved, all signs point to a full recovery.
Anika has left the dairy after working here for four years. We’d like to thank Anika for all her hard work and we wish her well in her new role at the calf at foot dairy in Northamptonshire. We’re currently on the lookout for someone to replace Anika’s work on the processing side of the business. This would be a couple of mornings a week washing bottles and learning how to pasteurise and bottle the milk and make the yoghurt.
With our milk supplies looking optimistic for the future, we’re delighted to return to East Oxford Farmers this Saturday and we hope to be there every week for the next few months.