Farmyard excitement here at Sunnyside

Monday, September 9, 2013

We are a typical Australian family and love our beef (possibly a little too much at times :).  Because of the rising prices of beef (or maybe our rising consumption rate as the kiddos continue to grow & grow...) and because I like to know exactly where our meat has come from & how it's been treated (and because we are currently blessed enough to live on a farm) we have a plan for keeping our family in our own, home grown beef.

Sweet Bessy with a beautiful wintery sunset behind!

When I purchased  Chocco, our half Jersey, half Murray Gray cow, it was with the intention that she would be able to provide us with not just milk (being half Jersey), but also with good quality beef calves.  We planned to do this by crossing her with a local Murray Gray bull thus producing 3/4 Murray Gray offspring (which are much more palatable than the skinny jersey genetics, but are not a large type of beef cow that could well cause birthing problems for such a small mother).  It was with great anticipation that Chocco arrived at Sunnyside early this year straight from her liason with the bull and noticeably pregnant.  Chocco is such a sweet, placid cow and just like all mothers those pregnancy hormones made her so adaptable that she immediately became a second mother to the already spoilt Beefy who was more than happy to follow her around all the time! 

Beefy is now the size of his adopted mother....and growing...

As the months rolled along we watched over the calendar, counting down to August which marked the first month she could possibly give birth to her calf ( she was at the bull for four months so we had rather a large window of options).  Finally August was upon us & we watched Chocco's girth get larger and larger & her waddle became more prominent ( & yes, pregnant cows waddle).  Eventually her milk bag began to fill and we knew the time for calving was drawing closer.  I will admit thought that although I checked her daily it wasn't like Bessy who I spent far too much time watching.  Chocco just kept doing her thing and I would briefly monitor the differences in her body on my quick, daily inspection.

One fine, springish day in late August the children and I had some errands that could only be completed in the city an hour from us.  That morning I noted that Chocco's milk bag was exceptionally large, but she wasn't leaking as Bessy had been the day of her birth and so we went merrily off to town with the expectation of a new calf nearer, but not imminent.

Upon our return that evening Dave and I were feeding the poddy lambs when I decided to once again check on Chocco.  Imagine my surprise when standing next to Chocco was a beautiful little calf that looks exactly like her mama.  We had previously decided to name all Chocco's calves with chocolate related names (which helps when you intend to eat them) and thus she was promptly dubbed 'Cadbury'.

A funny story:  
We are so used to sheep  & we completely forgot/didn't know how very different cows are to ewes.  You see a ewe will stay with it's lamb the first 24 hours after birth generally away from the herd. If for some reason it leaves the lamb in that time it's because it has rejected it. A cow will make sure her baby is alright & then  tuck it away hidden & safe.  This difference was magnified the evening after Cadbury's birth.  The children had taken our dinner visitor down to show off Cadbury in all her cuteness & we (I may have gone along ;)  finally found her hidden away among the grass in the paddock alone.   Chocco seemed quite oblivious quite a distance away near the dam.  When I returned for a final check late in the evening I was horrified to find Cadbury in the same position & Chocco still seemingly uncaring by the dam.  A ewe would never have been so careless & I was desperately concerned that Chocco had rejected her calf (after all this is the first successful calf birth here at Sunnyside).  I promptly ran back to the house & called Dave & our friend to come & help as I couldn't possibly carry Cadbury alone. They came & picked up this silly calf & began to carry her back to the sheds near the house.  Well Chocco seemed to wake up all in that instant.  The second these two men began to lug their burden across the dark, green pasture, Chocco ran (yes, ran) as fast as a newly-given-birth Mama cow can run, jumping a fence that was in the way (albeit a rather low one) & arrived as fast as she could to Cadbury's side.  Immediately the calf was deposited with her Mama and together they promptly walked off indignantly!   Obviously cows are different from sheep... 
(And if you happen to come here for dinner you never know what crazy things you may end up doing...)

We are so thankful for a drama free birth for little Cadbury. She is thriving and we spend much too much of our time watching her sweet antics.  At the moment our farmyard is teeming with babies-lambs, piglets and now a calf and all of that cuteness combined with perfect spring weather beckons us outside any spare moment we may have ( thus the lack of blog posts :).  

Our intention is that Cadbury will be our 2015 beef -Lord willing.  

At the moment though we are trying to not get too attached...

What a wonderful blessing from the Lord sweet Cadbury is!
Have a wonderful day friends!

Linking up : 
Monday’s Homestead Barn Hop #126reversiblecookingapronyellow copy & homesteadersbanner

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