Thursday, June 06, 2013

Just one of the cows

We brought Penny home March 12, almost three months ago.  She has occupied a pen alone since then.  I guess you could call her an only child, unlike George and Gracie, who were reared side by side until it was time to turn them out with the herd.  
Yesterday I shut the other cows in the big lot with its adjoining clover patch, led Penny over there, and turned her loose.  Cows, like most animals, like to establish a pecking order with any newcomers.  Consequently, there was a lot of head-butting and mounting by the other cows, but no harm was done.  After a couple of hours I took the lead rope out, snapped it onto Penny's halter, and led her back to her pen, where she cried piteously for some time.  
This morning, once again, I shut the cows in the big lot with the horses outside.  When I turned Penny loose, there was no head-butting or domineering of any sort.  Before I headed for my daily walk (without Cliff, since he is helping his brother on some project), I went to see how things were going.  Obviously, she realizes she is one of the herd.  Notice how much larger Jenny, on the right, is, and she is only a month older than Penny.  She was considerably larger at birth, though, and gets at least three times as much milk as Penny.  (Looks like I caught Gracie in mid-chew.)

When I returned from my walk, everybody was lying down enjoying the sunshine, Jenny all snuggled up next to her mommy. 

Often there is a problem turning a bottle calf out with milking cows because they end up trying to nurse the cows.  They can be so persistant that the cow will finally give in and let them nurse.  Penny seems to have no thought of doing such a thing.  I saw her drinking out of the in-ground waterer this morning.  I'm glad she already has that figured out.  Cliff suggested I just let her run with the herd and take a bottle to her twice a day, and I may end up doing just that.  First I want her to get well acclimated with the others, and I want them to accept her.  When I turn her out into the big pasture, she will be learning about electric fences and perhaps falling into canyons.  But I have to tell you, with all the rain we've had, her little pen in our front yard is getting muddy in places, and pretty stinky.  So she may soon be with the others.  

3 comments:

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

They all look very contented and glad you have some sunshine there to enjoy! It's raining here today.

Anita said...

Mounting? Head-butting? Forgive my ignorance, but fighting each other to mount little Penny? Love the photos. Animals are so beautiful.

TARYTERRE said...

Penny looks like she's doing fine out in the thick of things.