Does my bum look fat in this? Absolutely, sorry Honey

Cow rear

“Does my bum look fat in this?”

Yes, 1108, I’m afraid it does.

How do you know when a cow is fat? It’s not the size of her belly that counts – it is the hollows around her tail and 1108 barely has any. Come to that, she barely has any milk either, which is why she’s got a red stripe painted on her rear. 1108 should be in calf but my suspicion is that she’s not.

We have her and another five cows booked in for pregnancy tests on Tuesday and if she’s in calf, we’ll treat her with a mastitis preventative and send her on holiday to a paddock across the road. If there’s no calf, she will have to be sold.

While many of our cows do not fall pregnant every year, most of them milk well until they are blessed by the bull the next season. In fact, joining cows only every 18 months (“extended lactation“) is now considered a viable strategy for Victorian farmers.

It’s something that we have adopted here for cows that don’t conceive quickly and it works for almost the entire herd.

Fingers crossed, 1108.

Pregnancy a man’s job today

Wayne, Clarkie and vet Pete are down there at the dairy right now with half of our cows for the second day in a row. I suspect none of them are having fun.

It’s preg test and vaccination time. This is not a job for someone carrying a baby on her stomach because it is intense and there’s the risk of being hit by a kicking cow but it’s a must.

The “7 in 1” vaccinations protect the cows from a multitude of diseases. According to the supplier:

Blackleg, tetanus, malignant oedema, pulpy kidney and black disease are all clostridial diseases and are amongst the most common causes of death of cattle around Australia.

In all cases unvaccinated stock contracting these five diseases have very little chance of recovery. In fact often the first clinical signs seen by producers are dead cattle.

It also protects anyone working with our animals from a very nasty cow-borne disease called leptospirosis that can leave people ill for months – even hospitalised.

The preg tests let us know when to send each cow on her annual two-month holiday before calving. This rest helps her through late pregnancy and sets her up for a whole new season in great health.