"Improving Our Lot" - Planned Holistic Grazing, for starters..

Karliboy

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Yorkshire
Can I suggest that you find out what spanners fit the bolts on the adjustable/ removable side of the yoke and hang them up on the beam above the yoke along with a hammer. If a cow goes down you might need them in a hurry. Probably 2 x 17mm but some of those yokes use 16mm headed bolts.
cheers
Noted that I’ll find a couple of old spanner’s out just for that.
image.jpg

this yoke has a quick removable pin to at the bottom for such instances.
if you look at the floor there’s a small kerb/step which was causing a little concern as it is, but then I remembered I have a load of stable floor matting which I can lay on the floor over the kerb. Should make for a better job no sharp corners softer landing calf etc.
 
Ended up deciding to cut another 3 acres of free 2nd cut grass in that silly steep field that I get on Monday night baled it Tuesday very green before rain. last cut 19th July I normally only take 1 cut off it and leave it at that to grow back in over winter as I can’t get stock to it but there was loads on it this time so I’ve robbed it but will put some muck on this year and give it 9 months to recover View attachment 909906View attachment 909908
10 bales in total
There was a bit off a crappy 3/4 bale of the steep bit with a bit of soil from moles so put that out to cows on a steep mossy patch and spread out to rummage through see what happens.
Will probably feed these bales straight out outside as cows will crap thin off it so better off outside rather than inside when trying to keep things dry.View attachment 909909
In the holistic context of things of making things easier the new geared reels arrived. Seem decent enough View attachment 909907
And bought a calving gate to go in another shed where I don’t have any yokes.
Had to many near misses with cows moving around with calving aid out the back.
Safety comes first now. View attachment 909905

I need to have a proper study now around the farm to make things as easy and quick as possible for a one man band.
Main reason being is that pops (my main help) is going to have isolate a lot more now as my kid brother has just been informed his brain cancer has returned for the 3rd time so is going through some more chemo treatment over winter and he’s his main carer so need to keep him away from as many bugs as possible.
Plus I’ve got a young family now so even the misses can’t help right much as she has the little one to look after.
Main problem is the weekly muck out of the cow shed which is a 2 man job.
I've been working on my own for years, thankfully usually with a good dog. Necessity is the mother of invention. I used to use a temporary electric wire inside the shed to hold cattle back while I accessed other pens. Worth thinking if it can work for you. Best of luck with everything.
 

Sharpy

Member
Livestock Farmer
cheers
Noted that I’ll find a couple of old spanner’s out just for that.
View attachment 909953
this yoke has a quick removable pin to at the bottom for such instances.
if you look at the floor there’s a small kerb/step which was causing a little concern as it is, but then I remembered I have a load of stable floor matting which I can lay on the floor over the kerb. Should make for a better job no sharp corners softer landing calf etc.
If a cow goes down and you can't get that pin out the brackets on the other side fall off if you get the nut off and hit the tube with a hammer. Undoing one end is sufficient to manage to remove the tube. We have self locking feed yokes here by the same manufacturer, but although they open at the bottom as well as the top I have once had to undo the tube in a hurry. Running looking for spanners is a stress that I could have done without.
 

Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
20180121_141746.jpg
20180121_142138.jpg
20180121_143744.jpg

The bar you can see above the cows head holds the head gate from swinging about the other end is attached to the top bar of the barrier between the two sheds with a bolt so it can swivel in out the way, just take the pin out and the whole lot folds in out the way.
the gate the other side of the cow will open back across the next shed and the little side gate will swing round so the cow can effectively be left in the middle of the shed with her head caught.
these are old photos when I was trying it out and I have since done away with the string holding the side gate and made it so it is held with a long pin but it still slides up and down so it sits on the ground no matter how high the dung is and it tends to stay where it is put just cos its sat on the dung/straw.
the little side gate was one I had kicking around and is just right to open to let a calf suck but sill keep the cow a bit under control,
we have used this for AI as well and have found the cows stand better as they are stood on the straw rather than a rattily crush
 

Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
Can I suggest that you find out what spanners fit the bolts on the adjustable/ removable side of the yoke and hang them up on the beam above the yoke along with a hammer. If a cow goes down you might need them in a hurry. Probably 2 x 17mm but some of those yokes use 16mm headed bolts.
before we had the yoke we had an old crush in the same place we had cut the bottom bars out anyway for letting calves suck, had a cow go down in there once and had to get the hacksaw and cut the side of the crush out, afterwards I made it so could knock a couple pins out and the side would come out,
pays to keep a hacksaw handy
 

Crofter64

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Quebec, Canada
Yesterday I had a 6 month (one of the four I bought in the spring) bottle-fed calf down on his side all bloated. pear on the left side, apple on the right, when seen from behind.It was abig pork delivery day, I couldn’t get him back to the barn for numerous reasons, so I just walked him, and then my husband took over. Every 15 minutes or so. In the evening he finally put his head down and started to eat. The vet said it was frosty bloat. Today it is 23C - go figure. A group of troublemakers, including the 4 had gotten between two electric wires, set up for the next few days rations, away from the hay, and stuffed themselves with frosted grass. I will keep an eye on him, add some ACV to the water.Any other tips?
 

Crofter64

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Quebec, Canada
Are the bottle calves more troublesome? Everyone pushes them around, they’re kind of scrawny, all four have funny shaped middles, and they don’t seem to thrive like the mother-fed calves. No surprise there. . However, I have seen photos of @Kiwi Pete ‘sbottle fed calves and they grow like gangbusters. What’s the trick?
 

Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
One other good thing about making the head gate so it will swing easy both ways is if a cow goes down in it you can simply swing it forward leaving her sat on the straw in the shed where she should be, hopefully making it easy for her to get up again
 

Blaithin

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Alberta, Canada
Are the bottle calves more troublesome? Everyone pushes them around, they’re kind of scrawny, all four have funny shaped middles, and they don’t seem to thrive like the mother-fed calves. No surprise there. . However, I have seen photos of @Kiwi Pete ‘sbottle fed calves and they grow like gangbusters. What’s the trick?
Calves on replacer don’t thrive the same. They need extra protein, usually either in grain or starter and grower. Especially as replacer calves are generally weaned early.

Calves on real milk, or nurse cows, won’t have the same issue.

The main hallmark of a bottle calf is the hay belly. That’s from the lack of protein.
 

Poorbuthappy

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
Calves on replacer don’t thrive the same. They need extra protein, usually either in grain or starter and grower. Especially as replacer calves are generally weaned early.

Calves on real milk, or nurse cows, won’t have the same issue.

The main hallmark of a bottle calf is the hay belly. That’s from the lack of protein.
Yes, interesting you mention this. It's the biggest thing that puts me off the pasture for life idea.
Anyone on here signed up to it and like to explain the approach for orphan calves, or lambs?
 

Sharpy

Member
Livestock Farmer
Calves on replacer don’t thrive the same. They need extra protein, usually either in grain or starter and grower. Especially as replacer calves are generally weaned early.

Calves on real milk, or nurse cows, won’t have the same issue.

The main hallmark of a bottle calf is the hay belly. That’s from the lack of protein.
Its the same as comparing the size of the heads on suckled versus bucket fed calves. The bucket fed cattle tend to have a proportionally bigger head, mainly due to the fact that the head has to grow to a certain size for a particular age, but the rest of the body can be stunted. Big heads are always the mark of a poor doer .
 

Rob Garrett

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Derbyshire UK
Calves on replacer don’t thrive the same. They need extra protein, usually either in grain or starter and grower. Especially as replacer calves are generally weaned early.

Calves on real milk, or nurse cows, won’t have the same issue.

The main hallmark of a bottle calf is the hay belly. That’s from the lack of protein.
Spooky! Just reading about calf rumen development & thinking of starting with a skim based milk replacer.
IMG_20200926_204923_0.jpg
IMG_20200926_205052_3.jpg
IMG_20200926_205145_0.jpg
 

Blaithin

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Alberta, Canada
Yes. PFLA.
Pasture for life association.
As with organic, I like the principle, and there's (theoretically) a premium to be had, but I'm not sure being tied to a set of absolutes is entirely holistic, or always best practice.
Good quality forage can have higher protein than grains so that can be got around. Plus, without knowing the criteria for PFLA, there are licks/tubs that provide additional protein. With forage you’d be at the mercy of the rumen developing though.

Also If a calf requires some supplementing and can’t be part of a specific program it’s hardly the end of the world.

In any case, any bottle calf I’ve ever raised has outgrown it. At 6 months they will be visibly different from a dam raised calf but by a year they’re not much different.
 

Sharpy

Member
Livestock Farmer
Good quality forage can have higher protein than grains so that can be got around. Plus, without knowing the criteria for PFLA, there are licks/tubs that provide additional protein. With forage you’d be at the mercy of the rumen developing though.

Also If a calf requires some supplementing and can’t be part of a specific program it’s hardly the end of the world.

In any case, any bottle calf I’ve ever raised has outgrown it. At 6 months they will be visibly different from a dam raised calf but by a year they’re not much different.
That's what separates the good and the also ran calf readers.
 

Blaithin

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Alberta, Canada
Spooky! Just reading about calf rumen development & thinking of starting with a skim based milk replacer.
View attachment 910067View attachment 910068View attachment 910069
Think its Pen State University that’s got the good study in rumen development. It’s a study about grain improving rumen development early however what it’s really saying is starch boosts development. Always made me wonder if feeding something like potatoes would get similar results.

End of the day, if your calf is on milk for 6 months it doesn’t really matter if it’s rumen develops more naturally. It’s the early weaned calves that really benefit by an early functioning rumen.

I would like to see longevity studies done on these boosted rumen calves. We know grains/starches change the pH of the rumen. We know a great, quick increase can lead to acidosis and that prolonged low pH can eat away the stomach lining allowing bacteria into the blood. This is why liver abscesses are so predominant in grain finished animals. So what is the longevity of an animal pushed early with these feeds that stimulate that level of pH.
 

Sharpy

Member
Livestock Farmer
Think its Pen State University that’s got the good study in rumen development. It’s a study about grain improving rumen development early however what it’s really saying is starch boosts development. Always made me wonder if feeding something like potatoes would get similar results.

End of the day, if your calf is on milk for 6 months it doesn’t really matter if it’s rumen develops more naturally. It’s the early weaned calves that really benefit by an early functioning rumen.

I would like to see longevity studies done on these boosted rumen calves. We know grains/starches change the pH of the rumen. We know a great, quick increase can lead to acidosis and that prolonged low pH can eat away the stomach lining allowing bacteria into the blood. This is why liver abscesses are so predominant in grain finished animals. So what is the longevity of an animal pushed early with these feeds that stimulate that level of pH.
Could this be part of the reason for poor longevity in dairy cattle?
 

Blaithin

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Alberta, Canada
Could this be part of the reason for poor longevity in dairy cattle?
I always assumed it’s a factor. I don’t have lots of experience with dairy cattle however from what I’ve heard ulcers are fairly common. (We never had ulcer issues in beef cattle)

Ulcers would be a symptom of rumen pH.

No idea what the average dairy cows liver looks like.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
189,267
Messages
4,316,057
Members
47,421
Latest member
JohnAC

EU recognition for UK organics sector

  • 49
  • 0


EU recognition for UK organics sector

Written by Defra Press Office

An image of various seasonal vegetables in front of a basket

Seasonal vegetables

Recent coverage in BBC Radio 4 Farming Today, Farmers Guardian, the Grocer and...
Top