I could put the kicker on the cow and force her to allow two calves to mutilate her udder and teats, but as a female who has nursed a couple of babies, I can't in good conscience allow that. So I am reverting back to my milkmaid days and milking Gracie twice a day. On the plus side, winter is over, so I won't be freezing to death in a cold barn. As I've stated before, Gracie gives down her milk easily and the milk comes out freely and fast. She does a fairly good job of standing still while I milk, without my having to feed her half a bag of sweet feed to get her to behave. She is relatively tall, which is important, since I can't sit on a low-to-the-ground milk stool. I sit on a regular-height metal stool stolen from Cliff's shop to milk.
Years ago I milked several cows and bottle-fed calves kept in individual pens all the time. At that time I was able to tip a full bucket of milk and pour milk into a calf nursing bottle without spilling more than a few drops. Well, I found out this morning that 2 1/2 gallons of milk in a bucket has gotten a lot heavier that it was thirty years ago, and I am not as steady as I once was. Much milk was spilled onto the dirt floor of the barn, but I'm not going to cry over it.
There are two types of calf bottles.
I need four bottles because each calf gets two bottles of milk (there is still some left over I will pour on the ground), and it's really hard to try and refill a bottle when you have a hungry calf goosing you with its nose as you pour. My twice-a-day chore time has now increased from less than ten minutes twice a day to thirty minutes twice a day. But then, what else was I doing? Surfing the Internet, posting stupid status updates on Facebook, and playing Sudoku as I drank my coffee.
Because bottle calves tend to suck on one another's body parts, I am keeping the calves separate for a half-hour or so after they are done nursing, hoping they will get over the most frantic time for sucking on stuff before I turn them out together. If they were both steers it wouldn't matter much, but since Hope is a heifer, I'm doing what I can to prevent the nursing, because if her immature udder is nursed too much, it can be permanently damaged. Somebody needs to invent pacifiers for calves!
News flash!!!!! For fifteen bucks I can get a nursing bucket. Since I separate the calves I can use the same bucket for both calves, and it will be EASY to pour the milk in it.