It has come to the end of the calving season. While we stocked up at the beginning of the year with essentials such as stomach tubes, calf bottles, long gloves, iodine, milk replacer, tags and every other essential for the calves not to mention the essentials for the humans such as bars and bars of chocolate, I still have quite a long list of things that need to be replaced in the house. I’m not blaming Brian. As chief calf rearer, I have to admit I removed quite a few of them myself. I did get into trouble with my daughter as I used all of the breadsoda one weekend and she had none left when she went to make brown bread. Maybe you’ll find this list handy at the beginning of the next calving season so you can be the perfect farm wife!
Yes, the ‘farm whisk’ fell apart so my old and battered favourite whisk from the kitchen had to replace it. It’s now even more battered having been used to mix up anything from 15kg to 40kg of milk replacer twice daily. I’m not sure if it will ever mix parsley sauce again! I have now purchased a cordless drill and large industrial whisk for mixing the milk replacer and guess what, I haven’t been able to find a good a whisk as this old favourite.
Yes, there are lots of buckets on the farm but my “washing the floor” bucket was nabbed one day. We had a number of calves with crypto and in trying to ensure that the milk for the newborns was put in easily identifiable buckets, my grey bucket went out and is still out there.
3. Plastic Measuring Jugs
I lose at least one a year to the farmyard but a large one was needed this year as we were feeding calves with milk replacer. A heaped jug was equal to 1500g!
4. Bread Soda
If a calf is bloated, dose it with a heaped spoon (or two) of breadsoda mixed with warm water. Kate now has two tubs for breadsoda – one is labelled with “Breadsoda – Farm” and the other with “Breadsoda – Kitchen”.
5. Vegetable Oil
In the absence of liquid paraffin, vegetable oil (sometimes mixed with warm water) can also be good for bovines with bloat.
We’re a tea drinking household so I only had one bag of coffee (expensive coffee) when the vet requested some to treat a cow who had developed a displaced abomasum after calving.
When penknives are lost, the first port of call seems to be the kitchen where scissors and sharp knives are borrowed and then left around in the damp conditions outside so they rust!
I found honey to be handy when a couple of calves refused to drink for a couple of days – both female, they seemed to like the sweetness of the honey in the warm milk and once they started drinking it then, there was no turning back. Apparently marmalade works just as well.
9. Coal Shovel
I use a large plastic scoop / shovel with a short handle to take lime from a tonne bag and put a few scoopfuls into a bucket for liming the cubicles. When the handle broke recently, I did run in to grab the coal shovel (I find a long-handled shovel to be too awkward). And no, the coal shovel hasn’t been returned yet even though I’ve replaced the scoop!
10. Washing Up Liquid
Washing up liquid can disappear at any time of the year but as it is often used as a lubricant when checking on the progress of a calving cow and when assisting her, this is the time of year to really stock up on supplies. It doesn’t help that the bottles can occasionally get lost in the straw too!
I think that’s all I stole from my kitchen for this year’s calving season. What do you nab?
And if you would like a good laugh working out what you need to do to become a perfect farmer or farm wife, look no further. This is the book for you – How to be a Perfect Farm Wife. Perfect for learning how to multi-task, proving yourself to the neighbours and above all, cheating a tiny bit so people THINK you are perfect (and that includes your mother-in-law).