Monday, December 19, 2011

Plans for Bonnie-the-Jersey-cow

Since I want to move my rant down the page a bit, I'll talk about this:  Bonnie should have started her heat cycles when her calf was a month or so old.  He's past four months now, and we've seen no signs of heat.  Cows, by the way, come in heat every 21 days, give or take a day; it isn't hard to tell when they are in heat.  
Bonnie owes us nothing.  She's filled the freezer with beef twice.  She's provided most of our milk and a lot our butter since she gave birth to her first calf.  
Sometimes cows just stop cycling.  Sometimes they cycle, but fail to breed.  I'm sure there's a cause for either of these situations, but it would be expensive to delve into that cause.  So I just take what life hands me and make the best of it.  
Normally Bonnie would be bred by now.  I would wean Max, her calf, about two months before her next calf was due.  We'd butcher Max at that time, or else sell him.  We plan to sell, in this instance.  That money would go a long way toward financing a trip to Wyoming.  If Bonnie isn't bred, we'll probably go ahead and let Max nurse her a couple months longer than usual.  Then we'll sell Bonnie (and her calf, if we don't have a private buyer at that time) at the Kingsville sale, where she'll probably be bought by some big buyer and end up as ground beef in a supermarket somewhere.  That's how things go in the country.  That hamburger you grill at home was somebody's cow, steer, or bull at some time in the past.  
This gloomy picture is made brighter by the fact that Jody, who is over six months old, can be bred shortly after she becomes a yearling.  So in eighteen months or so, I should have another cow giving me milk and presenting me with a calf each year... hopefully a heifer calf or two!  Also, we plan to attend the Kingsville sale tomorrow, and you never know when a cheap, bred Jersey cow will go through that ring.  
As Rick Harrison of Pawn Stars says, "You never know WHAT is going to walk through that door!"

5 comments:

patsy said...

how old is bonnie? she still looks young. actually if you kept milking her she should still give milk but I guess you don't want to be tied at home to milk every day. i just hate to see a good jersey milk cow go for hamburger.
if I had my health I would own a milk cow today.
I read the deal about your home being a f----- double wide. who could be so mean and stupid.
do you still have your saddle horse? I haven't see her latly.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Life does go on when you are living on a farm. That is the way it goes. I learned that years ago when visiting my grandparents farm. The animals were not pets and even though you got a fondness for them you realize that those things must happen. I love your quote at the bottom of your post...you do really never know what is going to walk through the door...Have a great Monday!

Milly said...

I struggle with the "that's how it is on the farm" even though I know that I'm chowing down on the hamburger made from Bonnie and her ilk. I simply humanize my animals way too much to be able to handle this. I read with amazement about your life on the farm, having always been a city girl and really only seeing cows in movies or on TV or already ground up at the store. The hunting and killing of animals in person disquiets me, though I have no plans on becoming a vegetarian and I know that your animals lead a good life before slaughter. It's good for us to read about other life styles -- but you are a far braver woman than I could ever be at this stage in my life. M.

TARYTERRE said...

So right, "You never know WHAT is going to walk through that door!" POOR Bonnie. 'Tis a fact of life, I know... but I can't helping gasping in horror. I've grown to LOVE her, as I've read about her here in your blog. It took a while to get used to the fact Sirloin and Clyde ended up in the freezer. BUT BONNIE. Say it ain't so. I may never eat hamburger again.

Calfkeeper said...

I am sorry about Bonnie. I get too attached to our dairy cows, and then they don't cycle and we have to say good-bye to them. We try and keep ours as long as we can. Hubby just culled a couple that were at least 12 maybe. It breaks my heart, but it's a business. And for you, even with a family milk cow, though you could technically keep milking her for another year or two without her having been bred, it doesn't make sense when you have a new cow coming on.

On another note; I love going to auctions. I like to hear the auctioneer chant, and see what will come through the gates next!