Teat mismatch

DSC_0073  Aah!

DSC_0073 Aah! (Photo credit: northdevonfarmer)


It has been a while since I last posted; it has been busy…


The main herd has finished calving.  Barring a caesarean for a deformed calf, whose dimensions precluded it coming out the normal way, all went well, including a set of healthy boy twins. Cows usually give birth to a single, which is generally preferable, especially as a boy/girl combo can result in a freemartin. This is the infertile female twin to a male: the male’s hormones switch off her reproductive side while they are together in the womb.


Sheep however can quite normally have multiples, especially if the ewes are ‘flushed’ prior to running with a ram. This is the process of turning them onto plenty of good grass, which convinces their bodies that it is a good time for fecundity and leads them to produce several eggs. I have even helped a ewe deliver quintuplets! This is not a good thing when they are all tiny and need feeding and the mother only has two teats.


And yet a cow has four teats… Nature does not always seem to get it right.  There is a farmer breeding ewes with more nipples.  Makes some sense to me.  My husband Rob likes the idea too!


So the animals are all turned out at pasture happily grazing on grass that is finally flourishing after the coldest spring in 50 years. But the finale music is not yet playing. There is plenty of livestock management to be done.


To be continued…



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