Saturday, January 31, 2009

St. Brigid's Day, February 1st

St. Brigid - was born in A.D. 451 or 452 to a pagan father and a Christian slave mother. Her impoverished, enslaved mother did her best to raise her well, and a white red-eared cow is said to have provided all the food St. Brigid needed to grow, indicating that she was special indeed as white red-eared cows are rare in Ireland. While still a child she was put in charge of the dairy by her mother. One day she had given away so much milk and butter to poor people that none remained for the family. She feared her mother's displeasure and so resorted to prayer. When her mother visited the dairy she found such an abundance of milk and butter that she praised the dairy maids for their industry. Today she remains the patron saint of dairy maids and is the patroness of Ireland.

Amazing Instinct !

Stage 1 Labor

Stage 3 Labor - cervix fully dilated and pushing hard.
(if you look carefully you can see a foot in the amniotic sac)

Delivered at last. It's a girl! And there is work to be done.

Where are the towels?

Yes, I do need to wash your face too.
Getting hungry even before she can stand.

Ready to stand, only 17 minutes old!

Judy feeding antibody and nutrient rich colostrum.

Cold night fore casted, so under the heat lamp we go.
"Robin" , finally warm & dry.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


January is the beginning of calving season. We practice seasonal breeding to align calving and peak milk production to when grass is most abundant. So we like to have most of our cows calve about 100 days before the nice spring grass is in full swing. Thus, although we are a small farm, we must be able to handle as many calvings in three months as a 500 cow operation.

To illustrate the point, January 23 is the due date for 20 heifers to have their first calf. Most likely, no heifers will calve on that date. Some will be early and some will be late. Our job is to be prepared.

This week end we got the action plan in place and prepared the maternity pens and nursery. With help from Andy Moore, a junior at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis and from a farm in NY state, (Andy’s older brother Phil, worked for us in 2002 and now flies fighter jets in the Navy), Ethan Jones, from Jones Family Farm nearby and a junior at Kent County High School, and Abelardo Perez, from Vera Cruz, Mexico and a long time helper at St. Brigid’s Farm, we transformed many of the buildings into comfortable, bedded calving pens and set up the nursery.

A few pictures are to the right and soon we’ll update you on the new arrivals!