Kieran McIntyre, Farm Student

28 March 2023


As a student I joined Balcaskie last year and have been working with Cameron, our cattleman recently and have been assisting with calving this year. We had been viewing the cow pictured here on the cameras but could see she wasn’t settling down and that it was probably for the best to intervene and assist her. I have helped deliver 3 calves before however this was my first time calving a cow unassisted which was quite exciting! I could feel two feet and a head so I knew the calf was the right way but just needed a little help. As you can see in the photo I put the ropes on to help her out and the calf came out no bother. It was a great feeling knowing that I had helped bring the calf into the world and that I had managed to do it myself, I had a real sense of pride but I couldn’t have done it without the knowledge and training that Cameron has given me.


Theses heifers, which are first time mums, are a combination of bought in and Balcaskie bred heifers and will be used for our 2023 calving. In the early Summer they will be split into breeding groups and put out with the bulls. At this time of year we need to cart out the feed trailer, pictured here, with bales for them as the grass doesn’t grow as quickly but we save grass from last years harvest for this reason so we have plenty of bales to keep them all happy.


Before we weaned last years calved we pulled out a couple of bulls that we thought had a good opportunity to become show worthy or good breeding bulls for the future, making sure that we don’t already have their bloodline in our herd to prevent any interbreeding. The two bull calves we have tied up here are ones that we are currently halter training and teaching them to be calm which will ensure that we get them use to people and that they are not easily spooked. I have been walking them around on the halter to ensuring that we have good control and that they walk well with their head up nice and looking handsome. We also have some show heifers that will also go through the same training and we’re hoping to show them at this years Fife show, Royal Highland show and possibly others.


The machine pictured behind the quad here is a wrappa which is a device that we use to make dividing the fields into sections easier. As we mob graze we like to make sure that they have square based paddocks, giving them more space to move around freely with less risk of breaking out, this is another job that I help with and is quite important to ensure that the cows are rotated into fresh paddocks regularly. The wrappa is really useful and definitely makes the job easier!

On the quad is my dog Max, he’s about 4 months now and I am just beginning to train him up in the hope that he will become a great tractor or sheep dog depending on which way I take my career after my time at Balcaskie.

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