Sunday, August 21, 2011

I'm a cattle baroness.

Jody, on the left, is almost four months old.  She's been weaned awhile and is eating lots of grain.  The halter is on her because I am teaching her to lead.  Actually, she seems to have been born knowing how to lead.  Most calves, when you start trying to get them to follow you, will balk and refuse to move; some will even "sull up" as Cliff calls it, and fall on the ground with their eyes rolled back in their heads looking dead as a doornail.  (Strange expression, that.)
But Jody only put up a struggle the first time I had a rope on her; since then, she has followed me anywhere I lead her.  She does think it's fun to butt me, but I smack her with the end of the rope when she does that; she'll learn.  Once the fly season is over, we'll have the vet out to remove her horns, vaccinate her for whatever he thinks is wise, and remove an extra teat.  Yes, she has five.  It likely wouldn't produce anything, but I want it gone.  
I bought Jody because Bonnie, the cow in the background, refuses to give me a heifer calf.  
Bonnie was perfect when we bought her, but at this point she is battle-scarred:  Last year she got mastitis in two quarters, and one of those quarters quit producing entirely.  This year the other quarter with mastitis is, for now, giving good milk.  But once a cow has had mastitis in a quarter, you can bet it will show up again at some point.  Bonnie also has a displaced hip, which causes her to limp somewhat.  This problem was caused either by giving birth to those gigantic calves she always has, or else by one of those huge bulls she has to support when she's being bred.  Anyhow, she's had this slight limp for at least two years.  Cliff hadn't noticed it until I called his attention to it this year.   
Because so many things can go wrong with a milk cow, I wanted a backup, so I bought Jody.  She isn't pure Jersey, but she'll do in a pinch.  
Right now Bonnie is keeping us tied down at home because her calf still isn't able to take all her milk.  So I'm milking every morning.  Hope is in sight, though; today I got less milk than I have been bringing in (or pouring out).  Max's appetite must be increasing.

8 comments:

Hyperblogal said...

Dear Baroness Von Wood, The cattle seem to be triangulating around the fence post which could indicate the presence of valuable minerals or nothing at all.

Donna said...

David, the cow and calf spend the night in that spot to be near Jody. If you look closely, you'll see electric fence separating her from the others. That's because if she got the chance, she would nurse the cow when the calf is nursing, and since she's older, the little guy wouldn't get enough milk. Right now I wish I could allow her to nurse the cow, as I'm tired of milking every day; but I'm afraid if I allowed that, I'd never get her weaned.

Midlife Mom said...

I love that, Baroness Von Wood! Very fitting! :o) Do you ever make butter out of the milk?

Donna said...

First of all, you make butter from the cream that rises to the top... not from milk. Yes, sometimes I do. But butter made from raw cream doesn't keep very well, and Cliff and I can only use so much butter. So I don't make it often. Home-churned butter is GREAT for baking! But of course, I shouldn't be baking the kind of things that require butter now, should I?

TARYTERRE said...

I LOVE it. You are a cattle baroness. What a fitting title. Your herd is looking good. Keep up the good work.

darev2005 said...

Now you just have to keep a guard against rustlers and have a watchful eye up for those nasty sheep herders. You don't want their kind around your spread!

Michaele said...

I was your neighbor and could buy some of that milk from you - for cheese and butter making.

patsy said...

i wish i was able to milk a cow.