Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rosie's final journey

The average "factory farm" cow lives about 36 months.  They are bred too young, given hormones to bring them back in heat and get them bred quickly after they freshen, are milked three times a day, and then are thrown away.  Enjoy that McDonald's hamburger.

Rosie is our oldest cow - she is now 12.  She was our first cow, too.  Two of her offspring are part of our herd now.  Romeo, a bull calf, has already proven himself and the two heifers he was penned up with will freshen in March and April.  Lucky, the first calf that Rosie had once she was down here, has freshened twice, will have her third calf in March.  I am so glad that we will have these reminders of Rosie.

Rosie is getting frail, and she didn't settle (that means to get pregnant) this year.  I should have sent her to the butcher six months ago, but I kept thinking, "She will get better soon."  Talk about denial.  If she is getting a bit crippled and losing weight, why do I think that being six months older will "fix" it?

I called the hauler and the butcher.  Rosie will be gone on Monday.  My heart is heavy.  I console myself by remembering that she has had a very good life here, living in the open, well fed, shown love by every milker who handled her.  She was a favorite of every one of us. 

Lucy is the cow who just freshened on December 4.  She is not a friendly cow, never has been, has always been a bit of a loner.  But she doesn't like being in the barn alone to be milked.  So I've been bringing in Rosie to stand in front of her and Quattro to stand behind.  Then she behaves perfectly, is very easy to milk. 

This morning I looked up while milking and saw her resting her head on Rosie's neck.  Very unusual behavior.  Then the reverse happened, and Rosie was resting her head on Lucy's neck.  They both know.  Don't ask me how they know, or how I know they know, but they know - and I KNOW they know.

But I must dwell on the good things. Here is my favorite picture of Rosie, taken right after we brought her down here to my farm four years ago.  We didn't name her because of the mark on her head, I didn't even see it until a new shareholder said, "Oh, you named her Rosie because of the upside down rose on her forehead!"  Can you see it?  I can, now that Justin mentioned it.

Our bull Sam and Rosie have always been close, just like to hang out together, even when they are not making babies.  This is one of my favorite pictures of the two of them, off from the rest of the herd, grazing on the edge of the woods, just the two of them.  Sam will miss Rosie.  We will all miss Rosie.

Rosie & Sam on a date


  1. Thanks, Susan. I would not have known this without your input. Love your cows/our
    Happy New Year to all of you on the 'Seimer Farm'...Ha ha ha!

  2. So Anonymous must be a shareholder? There are a lot of us here, with cat, dogs, chickens and cows. Maybe pigs next year?

  3. this is beautiful, susan...i hope sweet rosie goes easily to the pureland....

  4. That was really beautiful, I hope Rosie is enjoying her new life in the pureland. She was a very sweet cow.