May 31st 2017 Back to latest news
Newborn Twin Baby Calves are a delight. Pat, our Cow, stuns Farmer Palmer by bearing the gift of twins on the last day of May!
The team at Farmer Palmers Farm Park are chuffed to bits to announce the birth of not one, but two, calves today! Brother and sister, Sandra and Phillip Palmer run Farmer Palmers, together with their 60+ award winning team members said “The family farm has not celebrated twins calves for over 40 years!”
“Pat is our beloved Guernsey cow, (named after our mum), has been part of our family for over 3 years. She has been an awesome mum in the past and this year nature threw her a double surprise! Having been pregnant for 9 months her “Husband”, an Aberdeen Angus called Duster, was unavailable for comment!
The team went to bring her in today (on Wednesday) morning and they were greeted with a beautiful baby boy who was only a few hours old.
As Pat was still looking very round Farmer Palmer said, “I wonder if there is another one in there,” in a very non-politically correct way! Well you know the saying, be careful what you wish for………………….
By 11.30 that morning we had the “mother” of all surprises, a second baby calf had been born. This one was also a boy and a little larger. Perhaps it was his idea to send the smaller sibling out first into the new world!
In case you were considering the big question “Do cows give milk all the time?” We can tell you they normally have 305 days in milk and 60 days on maternity leave (no milk).
We expect Pat will need most of her milk for both calves. The Animal Barn team will be monitoring her closely to ensure she gives the best start to her calves over the coming weeks. If all goes well they will remain with mum on the Farm Park site.
If mum needs rest or peace and quiet, we will consider moving her, or the calves, to a quieter location.
The right time to wean calves depends upon the condition of the cow and calves and not the age of the calf.
Just like humans, we will be monitoring mum for mastitis and any vitamin deficiencies! Calves need their Colstrum (the first milk) just like human babies. It is really important they receive it straight away, which they did! – further info below.
We will keep you updated on our facebook page with all their news.
Why does the calf need colostrum?
Apart from being a nutrient-rich first feed, containing bioactive compounds which help promote gut development, the calf needs colostrum as a source of immunoglobulins (antibodies) which offer significant protection against disease during the first few weeks of life.
The cow’s placenta does not allow the transfer of maternal immunoglobulins to the calf before birth so calves are born without adequate antibodies. As the calf’s ability to produce its own antibodies only develops slowly over the first 3-4 weeks, if it does not receive sufficient antibody-rich colostrum immediately after birth, it will have little protection against infection and consequently have an increased risk of poor health and mortality.
When should a calf receive colostrum?
In a newborn calf, large protein molecules are allowed to pass through from the intestine into the bloodstream for approximately 24 hours, after which time the gut effectively ‘closes’. The rule of thumb with regard to timing of the first colostrum feed is therefore ‘the sooner the better’ and, in all cases, within the first 6 hours.
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