Starlet queen of the shippon

Three years ago my eldest son asked for a dairy shorthorn heifer calf for Christmas.

We contacted some breeders to try and buy a calf for him and we managed to source one from a nearby herd ‘Strickley’ owned by the Robinson family. They very kindly agreed to part with her as they breed to show their cattle and they have done extremely well with them.

So we all made the journey one late December morning to the farm to bring her home. We hadn’t seen her and we didn’t know her name we only knew she was white,  all white, quite apt for a Christmas calf.

When we arrived we were shown around the farm and went to see the calf. Her name was Starlet, again such a coincidence she was coming to our farm for Christmas, her full title Strickley Starlet and she was beautiful.

Starlet came home and was raised on the farm inside and in the summer out in the fields until she was old enough to be put in calf. If a heifer is big enough to be bulled (either by natural bulling by a bull or by Artificial Insemination (AI) it is usually done around 12 months old.

By chance Starlet came a bulling on Christmas Day 2015! The AI lady was called very early that morning and she brought the Dairy Shorthorn sexed semen we had ready stored for when Starlet became fertile.

Sexed semen doesn’t 100% guarantee a female calf and often it doesnt always ‘take’ or ‘hold’ (work) and the heifer might ‘break’ (come a bulling again because she isn’t pregnant) That’s how we can tell if a cow is in calf it doesn’t come a bulling again.

*Bulling ~ when a heifer or cow becomes fertile ( their cycle is every three weeks) Their behaviour changes and they become sexually aroused and ride the other cows or will stand to be ridden. She might also release a vaginal discharge known as ‘sleet’ 

Starlet did hold, the AI worked and a little over 9 months later on the 3rd of October she gave birth to a beautiful roan calf.

Luke named her Arklid Angel. Arklid is the name of our farm so that is his pedigree prefix and her name started with an A as he has decided to go through the alphabet.

Arklid Angel Starlet’s first born calf
Angel meets Minxie

Starlet calved again on the 26th of August this year and gave birth to a healthy heifer calf. Luke named her Arklid Bel.

But Starlet is much more than a dairy cow, she has had a lot of human contact and this has definitely made her a bit of a character – a bit of a nuisance Keith would say! But she uses her brain for sure and I would go as far as to say she is an intelligent cow! That intelligence is often food related, queue related or environment related.  Of course she is a cow and she isn’t actually about to run for prime minister anytime soon, but she’s a special cow for sure.

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