Tag Archives: Turnbull

Turnbull

Living on the farm we have many animals (mainly calves and lambs) to rescue and raise. Most times we are successful other times we are not. There are reasons why some animals do not mother with their children, they must know they are born unable to survive. If we find them we take them into the animals Nursery.

No such problem with the bull “turn”as he was named came in September and took to drinking from the bottle quickly and confidently, he was soon joined by Johnny and Coco the merino lambs from the city. They bonded together and became a clan. Turnbull drinking in August, joined with the lambs in September watched by our Goldie.

The lambs have moved into a mob of sheep and I couldn’t cope with the constant pooh at the door and the flies they were bringing into the house every time a back door opened so they are living well together in the shearing shed in the next paddock behind the house.

Turnbull is a very quiet Angus calf, except when he hears the shower turn on so he comes to the window and bellows for his food (milk) and boy has he grown. He waits for me at the end of the carport and comes up for a face rub with or without a bucket of milk. I am still wary of him – he will grow to be approx 1000 kilos or more and he is now at underarm height and I laugh as he walks besides me on the way to his milk feeder. I think how ridiculous it must look to strangers to see this middle aged woman carrying a silver bucket of milk in one hand with a Golden retriever walking along and on the other side Turnbull is trotting and pushing into me, so I have to direct him with my hand.

I still don’t trust him enough to walk behind him I am now at good knee capping height as that will be where he would kick back, straight into my knee cap. No thanks. Having the sunshine back has been great for everyone, including the farmer and animals.

 

 

Animals in real life

My day starts and ends with feeding 3 orphaned animals and I watch them and pat them as I do it (as best I can holding two bottles)  We currently have Coco, Johnny the merino lambs and Turnbull the Angus bull and they live in our now animal nursery and I watch them for signs of disease, growth and any other conditions that may affect them.I noted this morning Turnbull is without his identifiable red collar, we know who he is and he isn’t likely to get out of the nursery for sometime, he is thriving and doing better since the lambs have arrived.

Coco is still in her coat as she is little and Johnny has taken to finishing his bottle and pushing Coco away to get more milk. This is farming in real life Turnbull will also push his way past both lambs if he finishes drinking first to get more milk, it’s a game of balance and quick sucking by the lambs now, other than this they have become good friends. Even the Golden Retriever makes friends with baby animals, the lambs think he is their mum, I can hear when he heads up to the chicken coup as the lambs run up the fence calling him.

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Giving Johnny a lick whilst turnbull and Coco look on.

I know we see the pictures from the Royal Shows where all the animals look clean and are beautifully kept, they are for shows, that is what they are bred for. They are cared for, washed and in some cases blow driers are used to fluff up or down hair, so that you will find them attractive and see the breeder and either buy it or look for the progeny.

They are the show case of that farmers annual work, so you will buy the semen to impregnate your females with or the animal itself. They are also the show case of agriculture teachers who work with students and animals in schools to get them to understand farming, animal husbandry and farming enterprises. They pick the best of the best ways to show these animals and understand how upset students can be when it is taken off to have it’s carcass scored.

Animals in real life though, are always well cared for on most farms are not like that in real life, they live in grass so on some days the sheep can look green in the colour of their wool, they live on red dirt in other districts and throughout Australia so their wool can take on a red look. If it’s muddy they take on the colour of that dirt and mud, that is why wool is a widely sort after textile, as it’s washable, absorbs dyes and is easily cleaned.

I know who knew farmers were not roaming around paddocks making sure that animals were washed, dried and groomed? We are out in the farm (mostly the farmer is) checking on mis-mothering of animals, helping to birth animals and in the worst of cases having to euthanase them. He will sit with binoculars watching the rears of cows checking for size of birthing, to make sure that it happens as well as it should. He can tell the difference between a front or rear foot presentation and knows instinctively whether or not he will be required to pull. He is mostly successful with live births but sometimes stillborns are delivered.

We also have chooks with a rooster, which I don’t like, they become protective of the hens and can fly at you. The one we have currently jumps on a tin as soon as he sees me and I have gone into the pen waving a shovel at it, on one occasion I threw the scrap bucket at it as he flew at me and attacked me. I was lucky I was wearing jeans that day or he would have scratched my legs, stupidly I had to then walk back into the coup and collect the bucket, now I keep the shovel handy, my Melbourne niece and nephew were a bit horrified at this.

This is farming, this is animals and we are all part of the kingdom that needs to share and get along, be it with or without a shovel in my case with the rooster or shoving past 2 little lambs to get more milk. Life is not always about looking the best, thinnest or being the smartest, it is about existing with each other to enjoy the opportunities in front of you with others.

 

 

 

 

 

Coco, Johnny & Turnbull

I collected these two very cared for lambs on Saturday and drove them back to the farm with me, they had been very much looked after. They were twins and their mothers rejected them so the place that was breeding them took them in and gave them to families that didn’t want to see them die. Three feeds a day and warmth and company is what they got until it became too much and the beauty of caring for things is also knowing that you have reached a point where someone else needs take over and they get to move to a farm.

They have settled in well with Turnbull, so we are happy to announce the arrival of Johnny and Coco (in the coat). Turnbull would be 4 weeks old the same as Johnny but Coco (originally named chops) is only about 2 weeks old and as it’s cold, I noticed her shivering the other day so she gets to wear a designer old dog coat, till she gets bigger.

This is the animal nursery yard – which was my vegetable garden and they have a shelter which was built by the farmer which they curl up together and sleep in at night and can get out of the rain during the day. Coco baas a lot and I can imagine it would have driven neighbours mad, any sound of human means food, they are far enough away from the house that it isn’t a bothering noise, but close enough to assist should they be in danger. They will be living together for always now and they will be bottle fed till they are about 3 months old, I have changed them from 3 feeds a day to 2, which is easier to manage whilst doing everything else.

When an animal dies or mis-mothered, like in a twin birth, the mother may only accept one,the farmer will bring me the baby calf or lamb to hand rear, most people find this fun. Tt is not fun when they are hungry and they kick you, cattle are known to kick behind when scared. I have had some good leg bruises and the farmer probably has more than he could count. They get scared and kick out. Teaching a young calf to suckle can start with getting them to suck your fingers and them introducing a bottle then moving them onto a fixed feeding bin so that you can limit touch so they can be re-introduced to the mob once they are over 3 months old.

Lambs are a bit more difficult, they are beautiful when they are a couple of days old, much like puppies where they will bond immediately with you, but after about a week, they then baa whenever they see you, not only because they think they are hungry but because they like company. Rearing lambs in the city is difficult, they make a lot of noise and they are smelly (they wee and pooh a lot). Dogs will also eat their droppings and it’s awful, but mostly it’s a commitment that many are prepared for but are unable to commit to due to work and home pressures.

We welcome Johnny & Coco to the every growing, changing and challenging Caloundra Farm here in the Upper South East. You bring with you the gift of life given to you by the families that cared for you both. We thank them very much for thinking of us and asking us if we could have them. Yes, standing in the rain feeding them for me isn’t an issue, it’s called farming.

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