Saturday, April 20, 2013

More cow tales

This isn't the picture I wanted to take.  Ten minutes earlier, every single cow in my herd was down there with Red-the-bull, the guy in the background at the gate.  They were hoping that somehow, the gate to the clover patch would magically swing open so they could graze the clover.  Three or four days ago, they managed to get the gate open and spent a whole night grazing; I imagine Red was the culprit, since he has a habit of rubbing his head on everything.  He likely rubbed on the gate a little too hard and broke the chain that held it shut.  Cliff replaced the broken chain with a stronger one.
There's only an acre or so in that patch, and if I allowed the cows full access, they would soon have it overgrazed and back to growing only weeds.  My plan is to give them two hours there each morning, then drive them out.  However, it's been so wet that their cloven hooves have already put holes all over the place.  It's going to have to dry out before they are allowed there again.

Jody is the only cow I'm milking at present.  This cow has really surprised me with how much milk she's giving, since she was only producing three gallons daily at the start.  I only milk once daily, after her calf has been away from her for twelve hours, and I now get almost a gallon and a half from two teats.  So she's giving almost three gallons total.  Which means if I were doing twice-a-day milking, she would be giving almost six gallons daily.  Good grief!  No wonder her calf, Jenny, has a diarrhea.  I'm not sure what to do about it.  I guess I could keep her at the barn and milk twice a day instead of once, to limit her intake so she'd only be getting three gallons of milk a day instead of over four.  I'll watch her closely and hope she gets better on her own, but I will intervene if need be.  Meanwhile, Jody is very skinny, because she's putting all her grazing into milk production.
There hasn't been any missing milk since that one time.  I still suspect George, because all of a sudden he is growing and looking much slicker than Gracie, with whom he was raised.  I've seen calves who will watch a cow until catch her calf nursing, and sneak up to the back of the cow and nurse along with the baby.  I once saw a full-grown herd bull do this!  The cow is blissfully unaware that there's a freeloader, conscious only of her baby.  I suppose this would work out fine for me, since Jenny is getting too much milk.  
Wouldn't you know I found a Youtube video?

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