Monday, January 9, 2012

It's a good day

Lucy was quite a bit of trouble after freshening.  She couldn't nurse her calf because her udder hung too low for the calf to get to a teat.  So it meant bringing her into the barn to milk her and then taking the milk back out to the calf in a nipple pail.  Of course, Lucy was frantic the whole time she was being milked, not understanding that she would get to be back with her calf in a few minutes.  I had to milk her with the water hose in hand, because nervous cows make lots of manure.

I got splattered with manure more than once, including in the face.  One always nose breathes when milking newly fresh cows!

After the first week, the calf caught on, but she was not drinking from two of the quarters, so I still had to bring Lucy in every day or so to get her milked out.  Leaving milk sit in the udder is a good way to get mastitis, so we didn't want to go there.

Mike realized that Lucy would behave better with other cows in the barn.  Rosie was always so good about going in the barn, and so we brought her in.  But then Rosie left us.  In anticipation of her departure, I had starting bringing in her daughter Lucky (now Lucky Rose) every two or three milkings.  Of course, that was a change, and cows don't like change.  So Lucy bolted a few times, broke down some fencing, and took to pooping in the barn again.

Things seem to be under control again.  Androo did a great job of repairing the fencing that Lucy had destroyed.  He also put up a bit of fence to keep Lucky Rose from jumping over the machinery to get to the clover hay bales on the other side.  BIG help.

The cows seem to have adjusted to losing Rosie, and I don't have to wander all over the paddock to find Lucy and Lucky Rose at milking time.  They came in docilely this morning, and nobody bolted or leaped over machinery or broke anything.  I came in from milking unscathed, and not needing a shower.  And Lucy milked so well!  Best milking ever.  With only one cow milking, the shareholders are not getting much, but everyone is so thankful that we have milk again, after the herd went dry in late October.

So the cow situation couldn't be better.  I think about finding them a new home, and then a morning like this one makes me want to hold on to them until I absolutely can no longer physically take care of them.  Bovines are beautiful animals.  I am bonded to them, and can't imagine this farm without them.

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