I seem to be on the mend now. I still have cold symptoms, but the fever is gone; for that I am thankful. Just a couple degrees of fever had me feeling weak as a kitten and headachy. I never have headaches.
Some have suggested I caught a cold from spending time in the 17-degree temperatures when Bonnie gave birth a week ago, but wiser people than I say that isn't how you catch a cold. The timing, however, couldn't have been much worse.
Why? Because I have to milk Bonnie once a day to keep her udder in good health. Within two or three weeks, little Crystal will be able to take all that milk. Right now, four gallons a day is way to much for her little tummy to hold. For now, I have to relieve Bonnie of some of the excess once a day.
Cliff offered to help, but he is not good at milking a cow. His hands are too big to wrap around a cow's teat, and his thumbs have arthritis from years of pushing a knife, as a butcher; so he can't even use the forefinger-and-thumb method.
Right now it's a little tricky getting Bonnie and Crystal up to the barn, because Crystal playfully runs around in circles (very hard to drive in a particular direction) and Bonnie worries about her baby any time she is over three feet away from her. It will get easier as time goes on, but it was no fun dealing with this while I was feeling like one of the living dead.
Once in the barn, Bonnie stands still with her head locked in the stanchion while she has sweet feed to eat, but when she runs out of feed she starts stomping and moving around. I am willing to give her two coffee cans of feed, but she could easily put away four cans or more while I am milking. That cow is a chow hound!
Because of an incident that took place over a year ago (read about it HERE), I have been afraid to try and put the anti-kick device on her. However, I had Cliff go with me to the barn and put it on her the other day... at least he doesn't have an artificial knee to worry about. When he put it on, she was a little upset about it. I know this because when a cow is upset, she pees and poops. We decided it was set a little too tight for her and Cliff let it out one notch. Next day I put it on her myself as soon as she was fastened in the stanchion. She was so busy gulping down her sweet feed, she scarcely noticed. I will use it routinely from now on, and I won't have to worry about getting kicked or knocked over.
As for Bonnie's calf, you would never know it was only 17 degrees when she was born. She is the most energetic, playful creature you will ever see. The next baby calf that's due around here will be Jody's first baby, due in February. That one may have to be brought in the house until it's dried off, because it could be really cold then. Or maybe we will buy a heat lamp to have on hand, just in case. Jody is a Jersey-Holstein cross with Jersey coloring but Holstein body characteristics. She's bigger than most Jerseys and doesn't have the pretty dished-face. We are hoping for a heifer from her, because her baby is likely to look a lot more like a Jersey than she does. This will be our last chance for a Jersey baby; from now on, Red-the-bull will be the daddy of all calves born here, at least until any of his daughters are old enough to be bred. That will be two years from now, so he has a home for quite a while, as long as he is a good boy and doesn't get mean.