FARMING MATTERS: The suckler herd comes in for the winter

The cattle are now indoors for the winter.  Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt
The cattle are now indoors for the winter. Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt

This week the cattle came in for the winter. This is late by usual standards, but we’ve had a particularly dry season and so the land has been able to take it. And of course the cattle have received supplementary feed out in the field every day.

When the weather is good there is no place they would rather be, especially when the sun is shining.

But obviously there comes a time when they need to be indoors for the winter, and this week that time arrived.

Preparations had been going on for weeks as the buildings were cleaned and underwent routine maintenance.

Feed barriers were adjusted and hoppers restored to full strength.

When the herd first came in the cows and calves were kept together for a short while, but then they were sorted and separated into different yards.

They are still able to see one another however and most of the heifer calves will reunite with their mothers in the future when they rejoin the suckler herd as fully mature cows.

The cows and calves have been together since the calves were born in the spring, but now the cows are pregnant again, and it is important to put them into a separate yard where all their energy can go into feeding the unborn calf growing inside them.