Archive for the ‘Life on the Farm’ Category

Meet one of the Girls

Monday, April 6th, 2015

One of our lovely cows just finished having her lunch

Cow at Stour Cross Farm

The Stour Cross Farm Experience

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Guests of all ages relish the opportunity to get more from their Dorset chalet holiday than they first suspect.

We are often told by guests who choose to stay with us at Stour Cross Farm for their holiday, that the experience of meeting the farm animals is one of the highlights of their entire visit to Dorset.

Visitors of all ages can and often do take advantage of the opportunity to get very hands-on with the daily routines of the dairy farm that Dorset Chalet Holidays call home.  Plenty of people have swopped their summer sandals for wellies and their lie-in for a dawn wake-up call – to experience for themselves what is involved in looking after a heard of dairy cows on a daily basis.  Not only have they taken the opportunity to watch the herd being milked but have helped out with hand-rearing the calves. This is quite a noisy, hectic routine where the newly-born calves blare impatiently for their afternoon feed.  The calves are fed by bottle from a day old and after a few days begin drinking milk from a bucket – like all hungry babies they can’t get enough of mother’s milk!

No one has yet managed to resist this charming experience of giving a helping hand to a new born calf.

Latest on Kittens at Stour Cross Farm

Monday, May 6th, 2013
Two week old kittens

Two week old kittens

 

Here is the latest photo of the five black kittens born two weeks ago. They now have their eyes open and are a bit doddery on their legs but they are certainly growing well. Mother was taking a break for a while – she is still very posessive and doesn’t leave them for long.

New Life to Stour Cross Farm

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
New mother feeding her kittens

New mother feeding her kittens

It was quite a surprise to see three black cats appear at the farm a few months ago.  We guessed they had come  from the farm down the road – the farmer had sold his cows so their supply of milk had stopped.

How they knew where to come was a mystery, their instincts must have lead them here. One was quite friendly from the start and after a while I was able to pick her up. They would hang around at milking time waiting patiently for the dish to be filled with fresh warm milk.

A few weeks ago I noticed the friendly one was starting to show signs of pregnancy so I kept a eye on her. Sure enough as the weeks went on she got bigger and bigger until she looked as though she’d swallowed a child’s football. Then last week she produced five black kittens.

 

.Five one week old kittens

 

She had given birth amongst some large straw bales and it wasn’t the ideal place to leave them so I borrowed a dog cage and promptly moved them where they would be safe from predators and farm machinery.

Mother and babies now have my undivided attention and I’ll keep you posted on their progress.

Feathered Life

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

I couldn’t resist photographing various birds around the farm

Nest full of young Swallows patiently waiting for feeding time

So many mouths to feed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeding Time

A rare glimpse of mother feeding her young Swallows

Baby Wagtail waiting for his feed

Baby Wagtail waiting for his feed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A young Wagtail, one of two left from five eggs. Sadly not all survive. I stumbled upon this hen Pheasant sitting on her eggs.

Hen Pheasant sitting on eggs

Preparing the fields at Stour Cross Farm

Friday, May 18th, 2012
Well, I'm sure it's here somewhere

Well, I'm sure it's here somewhere

The final preparation before the maize seed is drilled into the ground.

Trouble is – do these two know what they’re doing??

Double Rainbow

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Double Rainbow at Stour Cross FarmAnother beautiful rainbow with a second one beside it.

Taken in April 2012

Maize Silaging at Stour Cross Farm

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010
Robert, aged 8, standing amongst the maize before it is harvested

Robert, aged 8, standing amongst the maize before it is harvested

October 5th 2010

Having been advised by a maize specialist that the maize needed another week before cutting, our attentions turned to the weather forecast for the next few days.  No rain……please!!   Sadly it did rain but thankfully brightened up just a day or two before the contractor were due to arrive. It was a poor crop this year because there was little moisture for the maize to grow. Martin had to buy in more maize to compensate for the inadequate quantity this year. The last two years have produced some excellent maize forage but that was all down to the wet summers we had. This year, completely different, but from my point of view I was so pleased for my holiday guests that they could enjoy their weeks full of sunshine. Unfortunately one industry suffers whilst another gains.                                         

The maize should be twice the height of my 8 year old son Robert seen in the photo.                           

 
The contractor came with no less than six tractor drivers and trailers as the maize needed to be hauled from several miles away. 
One of the tractor drivers following the forage harvester around the headland

One of the tractor drivers following the forage harvester around the headland

Tractors and trailers ready and waiting

Tractors and trailers ready and waiting

       Click on the youtube link below to view some of the maize silaging.

The video lasts approx 8 mins.  There are a few wobbly bits but Martin was driving at the time!!

Cow Calving at Stour Cross Farm

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to video one of our mature cows calving her second twin calf. The first one was born only minutes before but unfortunately I missed the delivery. The calf was up on its feet shortly afterwards and I was mistaken to think that the calf belonged to the white cow you see in the video as the calf is of similar markings but it was later made obvious that it was the first of the twins. These are our fourth set of twins this year and all of them are doing fine. 

Click on the video link below and watch the wonders of nature. The video is about 8 mins long.

The second twin calf being born

The second twin calf being born

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLgeMcDoKNU

Twins Born

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Martin decided to bring a cow, who was close to calving, into an empty barn as he thought she was having problems. We left her for an hour and then intervened with the help of a calving aid. Two male calves were born, our third set of twins this year.

Calf # 1 Aug 8th 2010

Calf # 1 Aug 8th 2010

Calf # 2

Calf # 2 The mother immediately licks one calf at a time

The mother immediately licks one calf at a time

The mother immediately licks one calf at a time

Introducing the calves to the bottle

Introducing the calves to the bottle

An empty wine bottle always comes in handy!

An empty wine bottle always comes in handy!

The mother has been taken away to be milked and her milk is saved in a separate vessel. It is vital all calves drink their mothers first milk called colostrum which contains all its nutrients in a very concentrated low-volume form. This is where I come in!!!

It doesn’t take long before the calves are up on their feet and gurzling the milk. I find a empty wine bottle with a rubber calf teat on the end does the trick. Tomorrow they will be moved in another barn where some other calves are being hand reared.

 

 

 

 

 

The smallest of the twins born taking her afternoon milk.

The smallest of the twins born taking her afternoon milk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 26th and the twins are growing. The photo above shows the smallest of the two taking her afternoon milk along with her brother and three other calves. She is still quite small but stands her ground when it comes to feeding time.