Monday, 23 November 2015

Mulga Bill is in Demand

                                 Blossom is thriving and is now three weeks old.

The feed bin containing the minerals for the cows is wired onto a post inside their shelter shed to keep it dry. 
Himalayan Pink Salt for the natural salts and minerals, Dolomite powder for calcium and magnesium and a commercially made mineral block without urea. Most blocks contain urea but we don't use any of that kind of artificial stuff on our organic property so we have to really hunt for a block that doesn't contain urea.


Mulga Bill is in demand, thanks to a Gumtree advert, and will be visiting another property next month to spend six weeks with a mob of heifers. The advert has been so successful that he is now booked up solid until June 2016 with a short spell back here to mate Lavendar in March.

Having our own bull has taken away the pressure of finding a person to AI our cows at the correct time when we want them to become pregnant. However, there are times when we don't want our cows or heifers to be impregnated by the bull so this is when it is time for him to go elsewhere.
Read my previous blog on Artificial Insemination here 
He loads easily onto the trailer with a little bribing, and is always happy getting off at his destination, ready for "work".

Last week he got a barley grass prickle in his eye. We moved him into the yards and into the crush where Brian searched and found the offending grass seed lodged at the back of his eye. With tweezers and a deft hand, he removed the pesky prickle and squirted the contents of a Cod Liver Oil capsule into the eye. We could have put honey in the eye instead, which is a good remedy for eye irritations, but the bottle of Cod Liver Oil capsules were close to hand and we had no time to spare once we had him in the crush.
It was another one of those situations where were mighty pleased to have made the effort to build a strong yarding system with a crush. 
If I could give one piece of advice to anyone planning on adding cattle to their property, it would be to make sure you have good yards with a crush for those times of health management. If we had not removed the prickle from his eye, nor had any means of confining him for treatment, he would have suffered many weeks of pain and discomfort and possibly have gone blind.
We use Vitamin A in the form of Cod Liver Oil capsules as a preventative measure with any irritations that may cause Pink Eye, which is more prevalent in animals that are deficient in Vitamin A and in dry dusty conditions. Generally, conventional farmed properties using artificial fertilizers that lock up the minerals in the soil will have stock that are more susceptible to Pinkeye. Here on our bio-dynamic and organically managed pastures we are not seeing any Pinkeye or eye irritation apart from those cases caused from grass seeds, which are not really Pinkeye anyway, but seem to be lumped into the same category. 
In our early days here we were taking the advice of a conventional farmer and lambing in February. Our lambs were getting Pink Eye from the dry dusty conditions. We soon realised that there is nothing logical about lambing in the late stages of Summer when feed is scarce and the paddocks were reduced to dust. Our conventional farmer friend is still lambing in February, still getting Pinkeye in his lambs, and still wondering why.
We moved to lambing in May, when the paddocks are green, and are experiencing no pinkeye at all in our healthy fat lambs with the ewes in good condition.
Our books written by Pat Coleby are invaluable to us and I can highly recommend either "Natural Farming" or "Natural Cattle Care" for gaining a wealth of information

Thanks for visiting the blog. Take a minute to leave a comment or ask any questions if I haven't explained something clearly.
Our farming life has become so ordinary and normal to us and the remedies we use are just the normal way we do things.  I forget that I should be explaining things very carefully and not take it for granted that folks already know this stuff.




  1. Hey Sally, I have some questions! Mulga Bill looks lovely, what breed is he? We have tried dexter and currently have a lowline x mini hereford for our jersey cows. I never thought it was worth the hassle of hiring him out because we are on the edge of the tick line and would have to make sure he stayed in tick-free areas, but great to hear it works for you. A bull is certainly easier than AI. And how on earth did you manage to get the seed from behind his eye?? I think that would have resulted in an expensive vet bill for me.... definitely agree that a crush is essential, no matter how tame they are. Cheers, Liz

  2. He's a small Angas breed Liz. We bought him from market as a calf and raised him to have manners, but still I say never trust a bull, no matter how quiet he is, when the testosterone is kicking in. I don't know if he will grow huge but at 2yrs old he's still quite small, however he managed to mate with some much larger cows successfully. We get lots of problems with these awful barley grass seeds and are trying to improve our pastures to eradicate the barley grass, but it lingers on in a small area as it grows so well here and is good nutritious feed. We try to keep it eaten down to prevent the seeds forming, but during the Spring we can't keep up with our paddock rotations fast enough. So constant monitoring of all our stock is necessary. The sheep have the worst of it and shearing is timed to prevent too many problems there. Brian is a wizard at removing these prickles, has much better eyesight than me and is physically stronger. At first he (Mulga) threw his head around and I wondered how we could possibly get the thing out but as soon as Brian started moving his eyelids around Mulga Bill relaxed and became still, as though he understood that we were trying to help him. We farmers all have our challenges and you guys up there in the North have other problems to deal with. I'm not sure how I could manage farming in a tick zone but you have my full admiration. Loaning him out is a bit like having our cake and eating it too. We charge only a minimum fee for the transportation with the understanding that the borrowers will take utmost care for him. Have a wonderful day and thanks for the comment/questions. :)

  3. He lives a wonderful life doesn't he, good grazing, owners that notice immediately something is wrong and help him in a natural way ..... and being chauffeured to a new set of ladies every few weeks.

    You've just made my heart warm again after reading so many horrible stories of animal abuse over the last few days, it's nice to know there are folk out there that love and appreciate their animals for what they give them, just as we do.

    I've just added your blog link to my sidebar, so you may get a few more UK and international visitors over the next few days.

  4. Dear Mulga Bill is such a character and I tell him every day just how handsome he has become. It's nice to sleep well at night knowing that all of the animals have full bellies, are warm and dry, and comfortable. Thanks for putting my blog link on your blog, which I will get to look at in more depth over the weekend. :)


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