Thursday, May 07, 2015

Calves, calves, calves


Here are Hope, Henry, and Lazarus. I bought Hope and Henry February 27 after selling Grace's calf and the two foster calves she had raised to the age of five months; I needed them to milk her for me twice a day. When they were a month old, I realized Grace was still giving plenty of milk for three calves and purchased Lazarus, on the right, March 31. He is a month younger, but the largest of the group (because that's how Holsteins are).  In this picture Grace appears larger than she is because she is on higher ground (and closer to the camera than Henry).













I weaned Henry, on the right, at six weeks of age.  That's the youngest I've ever weaned a calf, but he has an underbite and was absolutely tearing up Grace's udder with those bottom teeth.  He eats five pounds of calf starter daily and is about the same size as Hope, on the left, who is the same age and of the same breeding but still nursing on Grace.  Henry has a little tendency toward a pot-gut, and isn't as "slick" as Grace, but he will outgrow all that and be just fine.  



My first-calf-heifer, Penny, calved on the morning of April 25.  Her calf was dead when he was born, so the same day we went to Holden and bought two brown Jersey-cross bull calves, because it was obvious that Penny was going to give even more milk than Grace.  After ten days of them nursing Penny twice a day, I could see it was going to be quite a while before they would be able to take all that milk.  So yesterday we went to Higginsville and bought another Holstein bull calf.  I haven't named these guys, and probably won't.  Even if I gave them all names, I would likely forget the names.  None of them will be around more than five months anyhow, especially if we don't get any rain to grow the pasture grass.  

The new Holstein calf didn't know what a cow was when I put him in with Penny.  It took about ten minutes for me to get him to grab hold of a teat last night, and even then he kept losing it.  Dairies remove the calves from their moms immediately after birth, so he had no way of knowing what was going on; he was looking for a bottle.  This morning, though, I only had to show him once and he understood.  I'll give him a head start on the other two for a few days, since he is slower at nursing than they are.  

It was very comical when we introduced him to the pen with the other two calves.  He was scared to death of them and they were afraid of him.  

Penny had me worried for the first few days after the vet came and removed the afterbirth.  She just didn't bounce back the way I would have liked.  I kept her in the lot, close to the barn.  She has finally started acting like her old self.  She gives the kind of rich Jersey milk I love, with cream that stands up in the spoon.  I haven't churned any butter yet, but I will before long.  Grace, although she is probably half Jersey, gives Holstein milk, with cream that is no better than the half-and-half you buy in the store.  I like thick cream in my coffee!  (Hmmm, wonder why my cholesterol was high last visit to the doctor?)
Now THAT'S what I call cream!

5 comments:

Sister--Three said...

Wow, that cream is so thick. It looks whipped!

Cindi said...

they look so cute..and the cream yummy!
thanks for sharing

TARYTERRE said...

WOW your herd is growing by leaps and bounds. They are a sweet looking bunch, no doubt about it. Great story about your latest addition. It is nice to have a hobby you love so much. And look at the benefits. That cream looks thick and delicious.

Margaret said...

When you say cream, you mean it! It does look whipped and delicious.

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

First, I love the flowers on your header!

Second, your calves are beautiful!

Third, something is gonna kill you so why not enjoy yourself?

Stopping in from Life & Faith in Caneyhead.