Friday, 19 September 2014


I am a die hard Gerts lover. Watch this video on how to get maximum performance level from the breed.



Saturday, 13 September 2014


This article is about closure.  How does one know its time to let go.  How does one let go of a beloved cow.  I have a very unproductive cow which I know I need to sell or replace.


Meet 'Otjikaendu'.  Which means fat woman in Otjiherero.  She is probably three or four years old.  She has had two full term pregnancies and two stillbirth occurrences during this period.  Since than, Otjikaendu has not been able to fall pregnant. 

This is clearly an unproductive cow.  The first calf stayed alive for a few hours.  The second calf had more strength compared to first, but could not suck from mother's tits. I had to bottle feed him. Seriously, this calf never had colostrum (I should have found a way to give him colostrum).

A stillbirth is refers to the production of a dead calf after a 272 gestation period. The calf dies at 24 to 48 hours after birth.  The causes of still birth are as follows:
  • Infectious diseases
BVD is a condition in which the brain of the calf is under developed during the pregnancy. As a result, calf cannot survive and dies shortly after birth.

Leptospirosis and Neospora are infections contracted at any point during pregnancy.  These infections are caused by organisms that can cause abortion.  
  • Trace element deficiency
During reproduction cows need elements such as iodine, selenium and vitamin E. If the right elements are not provided, the calf will have weak sucking reflexes and will eventually die.
  • Management
Slow Calving Syndrome is found in cows that are overly fat prior to calving.  This causes problems with utilizing calcium during calving. Calcium is essential for contraction of the uterus. 

Big calves or wrongly presented calves can suffer from stress and lack of oxygen during calving which can result in stillbirth.  This condition is known as Dystocia.

So what is the way forward?  
I think at this point the best decision is to auction this baby. Since shes a fat cow, I can get a good amount of cash.  I can get two or three heifers from her worth.  Or, I could get a state VET to examine her and run pregnancy tests.  If shes pregnant (which I doubt), I keep her and see if miracles will happen.

My next exercise is to get in touch with a VET and investigate ways to prevent and mitigate stillbirth occurrences, although it is not a common problem in my herd.