After a six-week break, we had two calves born within hours of each other.

The first cow calved on Mother’s Day last year and I was beginning to think she had a calendar hidden under the straw in order to do the same again this year!

However, she popped out a pair of quite large feet on Friday morning and upon handling her, it felt like it was going to be a tight squeeze getting the calf out.

I’m thankful we’re so familiar with both our cows and the bulls we use, as having experience of the same bull in previous years, I knew he had a habit of bringing large shoulders on a calf.

Once those could be got through the pelvis, we were fairly confident that his rear end would follow suit and thankfully this was exactly the case.

While showing this new arrival to my cousin and his wife, who had never seen a newborn calf before, we were stranded in the shed as a torrential shower of hail, complete with thunder and lightning, passed overhead.

At the same time, a second cow decided that she was calving right there and then, which meant my visitors to the shed experienced more than they bargained for as they watched a little Limousin heifer being brought into the world.

With the letter for registering Limousin calves in 2021 being ‘S’, we couldn’t help but name her ‘Storm’ in keeping with her timely arrival.

Having got through the winter with very few foot issues in cattle, we suddenly had a number of cattle become lame one after the other.

When nothing obvious showed up with a quick examination, it left us scratching our heads, so we called in our usual hoofcare man to figure out the problem for us.

Almost as soon as he lifted the first hoof and glanced at the bale of silage in the shed, he could tell us that we had an issue with laminitis.

It’s not something we have much experience of in recent years, which would explain our puzzlement.

Silage quality

Most years we have quite dry silage, as we try to wilt the grass for 24 hours, but, in the last fortnight, we had started feeding a different batch of bales.

These had been made at the beginning of July and were wetter than what we’d normally feed, as it rained while they were being baled.

This seems to have brought on the condition, although it’s quite interesting that the affected cattle were all in one pen which had no rubber mat on the slats.

With that in mind, we’ll definitely be looking into kitting out the pen with mats of some sort once we get the shed emptied for summer.

Field conditions here are currently deplorable for mid-March and we have one eye on the weather forecast while the other is monitoring the level in our slurry tank.

While we were hoping to spread some using the umbilical system, our contractor advised against it after he drove our quad around some of our fields and left a few track marks behind him.

Hopefully, there will be a dry spell shortly and we can breathe easy with an empty tank once again.