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No. 36 (September 1961)
– 57 –

FARM WORK IN SPRING

By now once again all your cows should be calved down and you will have saved all your heifer calves from your best milkers. It is about these calves that I want to talk to you this month. So often do I see poorly reared calves on our Maori farms that I wonder why they do not send them all off in the bobby calf lorry and not bother to take the trouble to try and rear them at all. These heifer calves which you saved are to be your future herd, so that is why it is so necessary to give them the best possible treatment. Firstly, in selecting calves for your herd replacements, they should be daughters of your high producing cows. Providing of course that they are sturdy when born, the calves from old cows which have produced consistently should always be kept, but there is no reason why the calves of well bred and well grown heifers should not be kept also. Care should be taken not to keep the heifer twin of a bull calf, but twin heifers can be kept with safety, provided of course that they are not too small and also providing that they are born early in the season. Now you have brought these calves through their infant stage and they should be starting to eat grass, so this is the critical period. The best feed for young calves is nice fresh pasture, and this can be provided by grazing them ahead of the cows in the cow paddocks. A little good quality hay placed in easily accessible places may be necessary to supplement the sappy spring growth. At the first sign of unthriftiness, calves should be drenched with phenothiazine. Give them a full dose as recommended on the label. Unthriftiness is soon detected by the dullness of the eyes and roughness of the coats, but it is useless to drench calves that are not receiving sufficient good feed. Calves sucking each other is a bad habit that should be broken off as soon as it is detected. To part the suckers may not always be possible so, as an alternative, a good plan is to buy a bull ring and insert it in the nose of the sucking calf. It is simple to pierce a hole in the thin skin between the nostrils. Ringworm in calves is sometimes troublesome, especially if the calves have not been well cared for. Before any remedy is applied, the roughness of the ringworm should be removed by rubbing a mixture of soap and lard on the bare parts. The scabs can then be easily removed on the following day by scraping of the scaly parts. The bare patches can then be treated with an ointment prepared for this purpose usually obtainable from most stock firms. As ringworm can be transmitted from the animals to human beings it is a wise precaution to wear rubber gloves when treating an animal with this disease. If gloves are not available, the hands and arms should be thoroughly washed in disinfectant immediately after attending to animals.By now once again all your cows should be calved down and you will have saved all your heifer calves from your best milkers. It is about these calves that I want to talk to you this month. So often do I see poorly reared calves on our Maori farms that I wonder why they do not send them all off in the bobby calf lorry and not bother to take the trouble to try and rear them at all. These heifer calves which you saved are to be your future herd, so that is why it is so necessary to give them the best possible treatment. Firstly, in selecting calves for your herd replacements, they should be daughters of your high producing cows. Providing of course that they are sturdy when born, the calves from old cows which have produced consistently should always be kept, but there is no reason why the calves of well bred and well grown heifers should not be kept also. Care should be taken not to keep the heifer twin of a bull calf, but twin heifers can be kept with safety, provided of course that they are not too small and also providing that they are born early in the season. Now you have brought these calves through their infant stage and they should be starting to eat grass, so this is the critical period. The best feed for young calves is nice fresh pasture, and this can be provided by grazing them ahead of the cows in the cow paddocks. A little good quality hay placed in easily accessible places may be necessary to supplement the sappy spring growth. At the first sign of unthriftiness, calves should be drenched with phenothiazine. Give them a full dose as recommended on the label. Unthriftiness is soon detected by the dullness of the eyes and roughness of the coats, but it is useless to drench calves that are not receiving sufficient good feed. Calves sucking each other is a bad habit that should be broken off as soon as it is detected. To part the suckers may not always be possible so, as an alternative, a good plan is to buy a bull ring and insert it in the nose of the sucking calf. It is simple to pierce a hole in the thin skin between the nostrils. Ringworm in calves is sometimes troublesome, especially if the calves have not been well cared for. Before any remedy is applied, the roughness of the ringworm should be removed by rubbing a mixture of soap and lard on the bare parts. The scabs can then be easily removed on the following day by scraping of the scaly parts. The bare patches can then be treated with an ointment prepared for this purpose usually obtainable from most stock firms. As ringworm can be transmitted from the animals to human beings it is a wise precaution to wear rubber gloves when treating an animal with this disease. If gloves are not available, the hands and arms should be thoroughly washed in disinfectant immediately after attending to animals.

ON THE SHEEP FARM

Sheep farmers will have now passed through the busy time of lambing and only the late lambs have yet to come along. Just how hard this busy time has been for the farmer depends on the manner in which he had prepared for this important period. The early lambs will now have been docked and just what care had been taken in this very important operation will have an effect on the number of lambs which have been lost through insufficient care. It has been calculated that some 10 to 15 per cent. of all lambs born, die before weaning time and with care half of this number could be saved. Rough treatment at docking time accounts for many deaths and it does not seem to matter whether the rubber rings or the knife are used during this operation. Milk fever in the ewes brought about by sudden changes in feed often renders lambs motherless and the orphans either die or grow up into what we call culls.

Scabby mouth is a disease which often attacks a new crop of lambs, so if there is any fear of this, all lambs should be vaccinated. This is done most conveniently at docking time when the lambs are being marked. This vaccine is obtainable from most stock firms and it gives very good protection if used correctly. Ewes should also be vaccinated at the same time as their lambs, but only if there is good reason for the farmer to suspect that this disease may attack them too.

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One of the best known Maoris in the Wanganui district, Mr Tenga Takarangi, has retired from the Department of Maori Affairs. He is 63 years of age.

Mr Takarangi joined the staff of the Maori Affairs Department in 1942.

He has had a colourful sporting career. He was a crack rugby and tennis player, a skilled rower and a proficient athlete.

Mr Takarangi is chairman of the Putiki County Town Committee and is assistant secretary of the N.Z. Maori Golf Association.