I allowed the two new calves to nurse Penny last night. She fought it tooth and toenail, but with the kicker in place she couldn't kick them hard enough to discourage them. I noticed she had not lost her afterbirth yet at that time. Part of it was still hanging out of her. No big deal, at that point.
This morning I went out prepared to deal with two cows and four nursing calves, but not a cow was in sight. Gracie is ALWAYS somewhere close by, waiting, at milking time. I called a few times, and after about five minutes, here came Gracie out of the dark pasture. Alone. That isn't normal. Gracie is the leader of the three, and usually Penny and the bull follow where she goes.
I went ahead with Gracie, letting the two older calves in with her to nurse. By then it was light enough outside to see, so I figured I would follow Gracie back to the pasture. I had no doubt she would lead me straight to the others, and she did. Whew. Penny was just fine, although she still had retained afterbirth. That's usually not a major problem. If she doesn't get rid of it in a few days, the vet can take care of it. So why didn't she come to the barn when I called?
Well, the bull has decided that since she has a different odor coming from her vagina, she must be coming into heat, and he is ready, willing, and able to take care of that. Of course he's wrong, but the poor runt hasn't had a lot of experience. One bull, two cows.
A cow isn't likely to come in heat until at least three weeks after calving, and usually it's longer than that.
I picked up a dead tree limb and started to drive Penny toward the barn, but every time I tried, the bull would head her off. He intended to keep her right there. I've seen border collies that didn't do any better at herding than this bull did. I did finally get her to the barn and the new calves got to eat; not that Penny cooperated in any way.
All's well that ends well, and the critters and I all lived through this segment of bovine adventures.
Once Homer-the-bull gets Penny bred, he is off to the butcher shop to become hamburger for the grandson. I won't be sorry to see him go, although he's really never done anything terrible. But Jersey bulls have a bad reputation, and even though he's a runt, and still young, I always have one eye on him, wondering if this will be the day he turns mean. One thing about it, we shouldn't have any problems with calves being too big next year, with puny little Homer as the sire.