2008-10-01

Getting Ready for Calf Club










Calf Club in New Zealand has been a long standing tradition. The best of the calves were taken to school and shown off by their proud young owners. Calf Club in Maungaturoto sadly faded away. Ag day has become pet day but as we are a predominantly Dairy Farming area calves are still shown and judged every year. My lovely friend Anne decided a few years back to start a Calf Club for the kids that would otherwise never have a chance to experience raising a calf then showing it at the Pet day. October the 19th is the day we'll be loading up five calves into the stock trailer and taking them over to the Primary School. It's always a great day for all the kids. Anne and her husband Cameron milk a mixed herd of Ayreshire,Holstein Fresians and some Jersey and the calves the kids take are replacement heifers. The practice mostly in New Zealand is to retain the best heifer calves as replacements the bulls aren't retained. Small heifers and bulls are usually sent to the works at around five days old to slaughter. My next door neighbour has a herd of 750 mostly Fresian cows in the shed during the season. A small herd is around 120 cows in the shed. Calving takes place from around late July through to September with calving lasting sometimes up to November. Here's a few photos of the kids brushing their calves under Anne's watchful eye

4 comments:

  1. Love the ones of the calf laying down and letting your daughter brush all over! Our calves here that are shown are steere rather than heifers...then they go to slaughter, no 5 day old slaughters here, they banned veal...would love to taste it one day...funny saying that since I love the babies! We calve Feb-August sometimes, June-Aug are late calves with warm weather and dont do as well sometimes, they are bigger and too sleepy to get up and feed good. Some like Fall calves that start Late Aug - early spring though. good luck at Pet Day! And how is Sasha?

    ReplyDelete
  2. My youngest has done so well with her calf. Her elder sister keeps complaining hers is a "tart". I told her to make do since she chose that one to begin with. It's a sad fact that since most NZ Dairy farms are so large it's common place practice to send off the surplus to the works.. Recently the Government banned calf pick up pens from all state highways as they quote "Upset the tourists." Well it's part of life. My four heifers were all destined for the works but my friend Carol was determined her husband wasn't going to send the first three I have off on the truck so...I have them and they're all ready to go to the bull shortly. Pet day should be fun. I'll put some photos up of last years one as well. Sasha is making a very slow recovery but being old that's understandable. She'll improve in a few weeks with some grass growth that is. Horse feed only does so much.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Liz, I think thats a great idea taking the calves in to school like that. I've never heard of anything like that happening here which is more the pity. Bob

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Bob I guess it's unique to New Zealand but sadly with the increased pressure from urban development less and less schools are now doing it. I have an old photo from a book I was loaned of Maungaturoto Primary Calf Club. Girls in gymn frocks with their Jersey calves. I'll put it up.

    ReplyDelete