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Acorn Lodge Shropshire
 
Acorn Lodge Shropshire   Acorn Lodge Shropshire

News for August 2019

Our son, Mark and his wife Mary-Jane - who have a farm nearby – grazes some of their cattle on our smallholding.  These form part of a beef suckler herd, which is a way of raising animals with very high welfare standards and close to natural conditions.  The cows and calves stay together until the calves are growing towards maturity, and the calves take milk from the cows whenever they wish, all roaming free in a field.  Of course, they are all grass-fed, with just some supplementary food being given in winter.  Some calves mature faster, mentally and physically, than others, and it can be quite funny to see a half-grown calf “comfort-eating” at a moment of insecurity when it has grown so big that it has to crane its neck or even get down on its knees to suck from the cow.

 

The pictures show some of the slightly older calves, but Mark and Mary-Jane were busy with their cattle calving last week, and a lovely pair of twins were born.  You can see the yellow plastic ear tags clearly in the picture of the brown calf.  This is an official requirement of modern farming, all beasts have to have a unique number that is shown on the metal and plastic ear tags put in as soon as possible after they are born.  The ear tags don’t hurt the animals, any more than an ear piercing on a human, but they give traceability throughout its life.  The days of a farmer pointing out a cow and saying “That’s Buttercup, she was old Bluebell’s calf, that came with Rosie from the market,” are long gone.  Small farmers may indeed still name their animals and know them personally, but officialdom only wants to know about official numbers!

 

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