Today was our first day at coo (Scottish for cow) school. Well….. sort of….. As we’ve never had our own cows before, we thought now is the time to learn before we have our own stomping all over the croft (and us!).Up here, as well as a great view, we also have great neighbours who have pledged to give us a hand in learning the ropes of keeping livestock. So when neighbouring crofter Heather asked if we’d like to come over to help with her cows today, we gladly took her up on her offer.
Heathers cows were having a visit from the vet. Before we arrived Heather and Hamish had done the hard job of gathering all the cows into the shed. From that point we helped to herd the first lot into a smaller pen, ready for the vet. Using a bit of blue plastic tubing to give them the occasional prod (or whack if needed!), we started to get into the swing of it.
The calves were up first and they needed to be tested for BVD (nasty cattle disease). The calves, one by one, were ushered into the crush and the vet took a small blood sample from the tail of each one. We watched the exciting stuff from the side-lines whilst filling in the paperwork, recording the ear tag number of each one and the corresponding sample the vet had taken.
Then it was time for the big girls! Just like the calves each cow was ushered into the crush but this time it was for something completely different. The vet re-appeared with a back pack and a cable attached, a strange head set with glasses and a loooooong plastic glove that was only going one place….. It was time to diagnose who was pregnant and when the new calf might be arriving! One by one the cows stood patiently as the vet did what she needed to do (exact details not required). On the end of the cable was a camera which sent images of inside the cow to the inside of the glasses she was wearing (yep, amazing…). The images were so clear that Heather even saw one of the unborn calves blink!
And at the end of the day, the outcome couldn’t have been better and come late Winter/early Spring we should start to see some new-borns emerging. We’re definitely volunteering to help with that job!