Liley Hall Farm
July 2014 - I have not been updating this website but would like to start over again so please look back soon for updates. Steve and I got married in 2009 and as a wedding present we were bought two cows. I have been updating www.runbg.co.uk with their progress but since one has since been culled I have been a bit quiet on that front too. I was just reading back through the news pages though yesterday and it made amusing reading which has prompted me to rethink and update!
November 2009 - as you can see I haven't updated for ages. This year the weather has been better than last year, our calving period was extended until July which is not that good and so we are working on bringing it back to spring. We have sold most of the calves but are keeping the younger ones on their mothers over winter and selling them in spring.
We have taken on quite a bit of dry stone walling to supplement the lack of income from calves.
Monday 2nd February - All the puppies have homes - Chris and Alison Barber are having two females instead of one (and have called them Kim and Tess) and Steve Ward from Woodhead Mountain Rescue has taken the male with lots of white (now called Tye) to train up as a rescue dog.
Ben - the absent father is calling round again and didn't take much persuading to come into the kitchen so I could photograph him.
Pictures of Puppies in the snow and Ben
Friday 9th January - The puppies are growing fast and are quite independant of Tango now. We are feeding them four times a day and she just does "visiting"! Darren Unwin is having the black female with white feet but the other two are still unhomed as yet.
Now after their feed they have a mad 10 minutes before falling to sleep!
Lots of pictures below - just compare the size of the 3.5 to today to see how fast they grow.
Last week - 3.5 weeks old
Today - 9th Jan!
Wednesday 31st December - I took Tilly and Tyke running on the moors and have updated the Team Page now with grown up pictures of them as they are not the "puppies" anymore. They were very well behaved and enjoyed it immensely (apart from the journey but their travel sickness is getting better).
At Two Weeks I took more pictures of the puppies and a short video! Week 2 - just learning to make noise
Male - lots of white - No home as yet. And Sue's (Steve's sisters) - temporarily called Skunk!
Female - White feet - no home as yet. And Female - mainly black apart from chest stripe - no home as yet.
Female - Chris Barber's - maybe called Kim!
Sunday 21st December
The shortest day - now its going to be getting lighter every day!
Last time I updated we hadn't realized that Tango had been served by a collie dog that roams around this valley (and his owner had told me that the dog was castrated). She was due on Tues 17th December but again was 3 days early and had 5 puppies on Saturday 13th December. We were on holiday (as per last time - but not planned this time!) but she was fine with Tom and Alison looking after her.
Three females (that's Tilly's nose!).
Friday 20th November
That was an even longer gap. To be honest I thought no-one was finding the site but have been told by four people "what's happening?".
Well - no pics tonight but..
Puppies - huge ! Well not really; in fact the two I kept are the smallest while the others are about the size of their father. Tilly is the dominant one and although still quite a lot smaller that Tyke is definately the boss. Tyke is more like his father - very easy going. Unfortunately his mother came into season and he was showing just a little too much interest so was quickly booked into the vet's for castration. He was out that afternoon and against vet's advice (sorry!) he was soon galloping about and seems to have completely forgotten that he is missing anything.
Cows and calves - they have all done well despite the rain and wet. The 9 Angus steer calves went to Honley early in November. Blacker Hall Farm shop at Bretton bought 27 Limousin heifers from us and Mr Twell from Spalding bought 24 Limousin steers. Mr Twell was last to collect his on the 19th November which meant that today we were able to bring the remaining 24 cows and calves home. There are 8 calves that we are keeping as replacements and so we have a very noisy farm tonight as we have weaned them from their mothers. The mothers only bellow for a couple of days as by now they are growing tired of feeding their calves and aren't actually producing much milk. The calves are relatively happy getting silage and some corn.
Walling - We have been walling like mad to finish the last of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme walls by the end of September. That is the end of a ten year agreement and has meant that we have now restored all the walls and hedges on the farm.
Tuesday 15th April
That was a long gap - sorry. Its all going ok I've just been very busy. Now upto 63 calves - the pictures are of the last 4 to be born which my brother Charlie and Carol actually "delivered" while I was having a weekend off!
No 25's in the pen - yellow tags for boys
No 25's having a gallop round the shed
No 62's - bit lost as it's mother has disappeared to eat silage, and before with its mother in the pen
No 38's - in the pen
No 11's in the pen - red tags for girls !
Wednesday 26th March
When I don't update - it means stuff isn't going great. I had a good week and finished all the topping which I was pleased with. Calving seemed to be slowing down until Saturday 22nd when the rush began. Unfortunately a twin was born dead and another calf was born dead which put a dampener on Easter weekend for me. Having had 2 more cows calve last night and 2 this morning the live total is 55 though so I'm getting there.
Then Adam began coughing and wheezing and went off his food on Easter Sunday. I called the vet but she was on call and couldn't get out till 11pm so I decided that I would have to get him out and inject him with penicillin. Which is what I did but it was quite scary as he's very big. He was very good and came out, into the crush and then went back into his stable quietly. He has had 4 days of injections now and is still being very good. Jim is helping me. We think tomorrow being his last day he's going to make a bid for freedom, leap a gate and gallivant round the garden in search of cows!
On the puppy front - see Puppy News
Saturday 15th March
The last Limousin heifer calved yesterday - they are the scatty ones and so its a relief to have finished them. Now 44 calves, its slowing down a bit now with 27 or so to calve in the next 2/3 months.
I have been walling this week which is really good - its been on my list for a month now but what with calving etc I haven't had time. There are a lot of toppings to put on !
Wednesday 12th March
43 calves now - had a rush on yesterday. I have also put no 50 and her calf back in the shed. It had been 3 weeks and the calf seemed to suck whenever it wanted and she was standing. And its worked !!! She even protected it when I was trying to eartag it.
Charlie put the new gates on the cattle trailer and yesterday I loaded up No 13 and 45 and took them to Kepak (slaughter house in Wakefield). I don't like doing it but we cannot afford to keep cows that are not producing. We have a system - if a cow isn't pregnant, has a dead calf or it's calf dies then the first time it happens they can "have a year off" and basically do nothing for a whole year. If it happens again - that's it - they're off to Kepak
Thursday 6th March
Now what did I go and say that for. 7pm last night No61 (recognisable because she caught her tail somehow and has no hair on the end of it) started calving. 9pm hadn't got anywhere - no bag, no feet and stopped pushing. Called Jim as I couldn't get her into a pen - she was wobbly on her legs. I suspected milk fever. We gave her a bottle of calcium and felt for the calf. It was presented correctly so we left her 45 minutes and when we came back she was calving ok.
This morning I was out and No 82 (has got one front leg bigger than other) calved absolutely no problem. Just need one more to make 40 !!!
No 8 got an email - however it was to request photos of a puppy (and not her!) - duly taken and put on Puppies page.
Wednesday 5th March
There have only been a few of calves recently and all three calved easily so that's nice. The fertilizer was delivered today in a huge artic. I have never unloaded it before but didn't crash into anything !! There were thirty four 600kg tote bags to be lifted out of the trailer and into the shed.
I'm going to set the calf creep (an area in the shed which has a gate on which calves can get through and cows can't) so that I can put a trough in there and start creep feeding the calves some corn (cake we call it - ask No 8 why!). No 8 says she doesn't get any mail - even junk mail!!
Puppies - growing. They are on 3 feeds a day of soggy puppy biscuits and all doing well. After this weekend I think all of them have homes and I'm going to miss them although 8 would be too much. See Puppies for more pictures although they wouldn't stay still.
Saturday 1st March - Puppy news - See Puppies for details and pictures.
Cow news - loads ..... I am up to 35 calves now and had a couple of traumas. Most of the cows calve within an hour no problem but the ones that don't make up for it. By the way the heifer is feeding her calf now without trouble but I'm not sure she really loves it !
Wed 27th Feb - I have 2 cows that calve only one has Milk Fever (a calcium deficiency which affects their control over their legs so they can't get up) - in the process. To cut a long messy story short she also has a prolapsed uterus and at 11pm I call the vet out who does a marvellous job of sorting it all out, extracting the afterbirth from it, and shoving it all back in against her contracting. Two 400ml bottles of calcium later and within 15 minutes she is back on her feet licking her calf. Amazing.
Monday 25th - I think - early night - check cows at 10pm. Nope - one calving. Wait for that. Another one looks like calving too. 11pm 1st one calves and makes a right racket about it - anyone would think she's never had a calf before. I put them away in a pen as I want the 2nd one to settle down and get on with it. 1st one smudges hers up the wall (a loving thing but looks painful to me - its a good thing calves are made of rubber). 11.30pm 2nd one still wandering round looking for the "best place" to calve. Another one starts !! She spits hers out by midnight and is busy licking it only 2nd one thinks that's hers too and is licking it. So I wait till 1am when 2nd (now 3rd) one still hasn't settled and with the ropes in my pocket I put one on each of the calf's leg which have been poking out of her bottom for 2 hours now - give it a tug and she pushes and out it comes. And off to bed I go!
Sunday 24th - My brother Charlie and girlfriend were up on Sun and we were going to go out for tea. However there was a cow calving only she had been sort of calving for ages and I wasn't happy with progress. At 5pm I decided to get her out into the crush as it was still light and if there wasn't a problem we could put her back. Anyway - there was. backwards presented- ie. back feet first. So I got the ratchet and we pulled it out but it was dead and had been for a couple of days.
So that's disappointing. So we go and have baths ready to go out. Only another one starts at 7pm. We'll have to wait. Lets get Chinese. By the time Charlie and Carol were back from collecting it she had calved - now that's what I like - 1 hour all done and dusted! So ate Chinese and went to pub for drink!!
23rd Feb - A couple more calves - I'm nearly up to 30 now. Puppies growing and investigating. Muckspreading being a learning curve and I think I might have the knack now so I don't break the shear bolts (which happens when the spinner thing can't turn). Tractor clutch wonderful now it works. Weather gone back to being windy but not so wet so the sheds are still fresh and dry.
21st Feb - Yesterday I tried the puppies with milk. A couple got the idea while the rest just paddled in it. Today they all lapped it one way or another.
19th February - More calves born alive and well. I am up to 21 now with another on the way. The heifer is not really taking to her calf and if I do get another dead one I'm going to see if the cow will accept this calf. At least the calf is getting milk from the heifer but I don't see much bonding going on at all. Its a shame but often happens with heifers.
Below is the calf that was on its way - now about 5 minutes old.
Dan (the tractor man) came and fixed the tractor clutch which I'm really happy about as I was getting very close to destroying something apart from straw bales. He looked at the hydralics while he was here and very cleverly managed to fix them too - what a plus. They are what lift the arms at the back of the tractor and without them I couldn't pick up implements or trailers.
More puppy news on Puppies
16th February - well calving really started in earnest on the 14th with 2 calves born, then 5 calves on the 15th (with 2 of them being at midnight) and 2 born today although today hasn't been so successful with the first calf being rejected by its mother (a heifer) in favour of another cow's calf. I have put the heifer and her calf in a stable where she can't see other cows or the calf she wants. Her calf is sucking from her but is now very nervous as she has bashed it so much. I think it will work out.
Then the second cow to calve I should have watched more carefully as she had a dead calf last year. I was in the kitchen and was watching the clock as I thought she would take 30 minutes. When I went out she had finished but was licking a dead calf. This is very disappointing and upsetting.
The puppies are growing but not moving much. All their eyes are open now.
13th February - 12 noon - The heifer started to wash her calf and I have penned them up together - this just helps the bonding process although the heifers are a bit spooked by being penned up the first time.
I have made a Puppies page to put all the photos on.
10.30am - There is also a Limousin heifer calving at the moment. I can see one small foot, the right way round ie. pointing down and she is "getting on" ie. pushing etc so I'll leave her an hour. 11.30 am - She has had one heifer calf but seems restless and isn't washing the calf. I've left her again hoping she settles.
Two cows have calved to the Angus, both bull calves and one Angus heifer was calving but not "getting on" so I had to get her into the crush and "assist with the ratchet". The calf came out quite easily - I think she just stopped pushing when it began to hurt !!
I have had lots of requests for more puppy pictures. The photo is a couple of days ago and the Video today (Wed 13th).
10th February - I was in Russia from the 29th Jan to the 7th Feb. The update when I got home was 2 live calves out of heifers, 1 premature calf that died and one set of twins that were born dead out of cows. Disappointing to have dead ones already but encouraging that 6 of the 15 heifers have calved (and 4 of them being the more difficult Limousin while 2 are friendly Angus). The heifer that had the caesarean that was shown on Look North is doing really well (see below) - the vet is coming tomorrow to take her stitches out then the pair can go back in the main shed.
AND........ Tango has had puppies. Rosie coped very well as did Tango as it must have been a shock when she had 9. She is very organised and separates them into two groups each morning then feeds them in turn. So up to now they are all still alive. I have just tried to determine how many males / females there are. Its quite hard. I think there are 5 female and 4 male. I also tried weighing them but they kept climbing out the scales and on the straw the others were regrouping fast so I had to be quick. Overall they range from 400g to 650g. Quite a difference but they all look healthy and quite a few managed to wee on me !
20th Jan - No calves as yet but Tango is pregnant ! She is due on 4th Feb. This is the father; his name is Murphy and he belongs to friends of ours.
12th Jan - I was watching a programme on TV last night called Jam and Jerusalem where a group of women were walking though a field of large black plastic lumps. Dawn French (Rosie) was telling another woman how these lumps were cow cocoons and that if she came back in summer they would have hatched and the field would be full of cows.
I was telling No 8 this morning and she said that if anyone had any other farming questions or queries that they could email her and she would put the answer on a FAQ page. Her email is No8@blackcows.co.uk .
7th Jan - I have taken a video of the cows in one of the sheds this morning. Hopefully this year I will get to video a birth etc as I used my little camera and it was quite easy. Cows in shed