The humble calving jack

There is a Facebook group called "God bless the man who invented the calving jack".  This simple device - literally to jack a difficult calf out, was invented by a farmer and is the single greatest aid to calving in the world.  After last night, I may have to start the campaign for a knighthood.

 Two huge calves born last night. The first, calved all on her own, a Hereford heifer calf every bit as adorable as her mother was as a calf.

The other, an upside-down, back-to-front bull calf from a Psycho Daisy May of a cow.

Fortunately, with our trusty calving jack at our side, after attempts at calving in the field, in the box, in the yard, sitting down, standing up, the calf was born alive - at which point Psycho Daisy May lost the psycho element and became a fantastic mother.

Success was not down to the calving jack alone.  Without the VERY patient phone assistance of the best vet in the universe, Helen ('Supervet') and Champion Calver Stuart ('DairyStar'? - or equivalent masculine superhero name) we'd probably still be out there.  Go Team Taylor!

The farm is lucky enough to have an excellent calving record. Over the past thirty years, there have been few truly challenging calvings like this one, and we have lost only a handful of calves.  Most of this is down to luck, but the advantage of the Hereford-Angus cross are the small calves, increasing the chances of an easy calving - better for the cow and for the farmer.  Prior to calving, Dad is out at all times of the day and night checking the herd.  It's always frustrating when a calving doesn't go to plan, but worth the effort once the calf is out.  And such excitement is character building...

So, thank you inventor of the calving jack, and thank you SuperVet and DairyStar.  Massively indebted to you.   Here's hoping the calves turn out like our friendly giant 'Thistle'...