Saturday, March 30, 2013
She is starting to trust me
I have mentioned before that Jody's calf, Jenny, is somewhat shy of humans because she runs with her mom during the daytime. When she grows up, someone will likely need to milk her, and you can't milk a wild cow. Oh, you could probably rope her and hogtie her somehow, but she would never let her milk down for anybody in such a situation. A milk cow needs to trust people.
So every morning after I turn her out of the stall to be with her mom, I have been petting her. At that time she is so deliriously happy to be nursing that I can do almost anything to her, as long as I don't hurt her. So I rub her and pet her all about her head and body. Then I go feed Penny her bottle and return. By this time Jody's milk is gone, but Jenny is still nursing, just for the comfort of it. So at this point she is paying a little more attention to her surroundings, and when I start petting her she will pause and look and perhaps run to the other side of Mommy. I follow her and keep petting.
I wasn't sure how much progress I was making until this evening when I drove her, all by herself, toward the lot where the door to her stall is. She kept looking behind us for her mother; when she stopped, I petted and rubbed her back. She allowed it. This was repeated several times.
So yes, we are making progress with Jenny Long-legs. She is a beautiful heifer, although I think some of the Holstein breed in her mother's background has put some size on her. Once she learns to really love the calf starter (a feed mixed especially for small calves) that I put in her stall each night, I will use the feed to gentle her down more. When you are dealing with animals, food speaks volumes to them.
It sometimes helps with husbands, too.