Monday, May 28, 2012

Have we got milk!

After providing just barely enough milk to meet what we felt would be our average production per share for the first three years, our herd was beset by a problem caused by eating moldy hay.  My complaints to the provider fell on deaf ears, and he insisted his own animals were eating the same hay with no problems.  We had MANY problems, not the least of which was a drop by two-thirds in production.  Thank goodness for loyal shareholders who knew that there were good years to go with the bad.  They stuck with us.

This is a good year.  Our production is so good that we are leaving the calves with their mothers, letting them drink as much as they like.  No measured out gallon feedings morning and night.  Have at it, little ones!  We have more milk than we know what to do with.  In fact, we have been approved for a pet food license, and so some of the excess milk is being packaged for customers who want pet food - certified organic milk from grass fed cows, in glass jars, clearly labeled "NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION."  Whatever.

So anyway, if we have milk, we obviously have calves.  No calves, no milk.  We sold the first two, then our two heifers both lost huge bull calves that they just couldn't give birth to without help.  The vet didn't get here in time to save the calves, but both moms are doing fine.

We kept two bull calves.  One will replace Romeo as soon as he is done breeding this year's cows.  He is getting a bit cantankerous, and at a very young age.  I think Earl will be a great replacement, but we will make sure that he has viable sperm before we make our choice.  If it isn't Earl, then it will be Larry.

Essie Mae and Earl - Essie Mae is out of Quattro

Lucky and Larry - Lucky is out of Rosie
 Last week, Blackie gave birth to the most magnificent heifer calf I have ever seen!  She doesn't have a white hair on her body - sleek, black and playful.  She got lost on her first day in the big pasture.  I was frantic, looked everywhere for her.  The next morning, she was still not home.  When Luis, our morning milker, got here, he said he would start at the barn, I would go back out to the pasture from which she had disappeared, and we would work our way to the middle.  He called me on his cell phone, laughing.  She was in the barnyard, behind the old barn!  She must have been making her way back to the nursing pen.

Ebony, just born to Blackie

Ebony and Blackie in the pasture

These are such magnificent animals.  I love them all.


  1. Wonderful! You are amazing, Susan!

  2. Those calves are gorgeous! I'm so glad everything has worked out compared to last year. david/:0)