Thursday, July 16, 2015

My current cattle plans

I do plan to sell Penny this summer, but not yet.  She is supplying milk for three calves and one pig:  free food for them all!  I intend to keep her around so those calves, and the pig, will keep on growing and doing well.  I could feasibly wean the calves any time now, but in order for them to do well, I'd have to buy grain until they are at least five months old.  They get some grain now, but not a lot, because of the milk they're getting.  The pig doesn't require milk at all; I could buy a complete ration for him at the elevator.  But that isn't free, and the milk is.  By the way, he LOVES his milk.

I'm thinking I will put Penny up for sale sometime in September.  I advertised her before she calved last spring, but I deliberately overpriced her.  When I put her on Craigslist this fall, the price will be reasonable.  I will probably price her at $1,200 and possibly take less if I must.  If nobody buys her at that point, she will have to go to the sale barn, which would be a real shame for such a good cow.  Dairy cows mostly sell for slaughter at the sale barn.  

 As you can see, at the present time, dairy cows are in plentiful supply on Craigslist, and there isn't all that much demand for a cow you have to milk twice a day.  However, none of those listed are in this area.  I guess they advertise on Kansas City Craigslist because they can't sell the cows in their own area.  

The whole reason for this plan is that I would like to go someplace overnight at times, and I can't as long as there is a cow around that has to be milked.  Grace, my other cow, is a superb nurse cow, and accepts as many calves as I can put on her.  This means the calves can take care of the milking.  If we want to leave, we shut her in a lot with whatever calves are getting their nourishment from her, make sure she is fed and watered (Grandson will be here to make sure of that), and we're good.

There is one slightly tricky detail for this fall.  You knew there would be a catch, didn't you?  In early November our tractor club is taking a two-day trip, and I intend to go.  Grace is due to calve in late October.  If she ends up going much over her due date, we could be gone when she calves... last time we tried that, a calf died because it was too big for a heifer to birth easily.  However!!!  Grace isn't a heifer, she's already had a calf successfully.  AND she is bred to the runt Jersey bull we took to the butcher shop this week, so the calf should be small.  Another catch is this:  If she calves early or on time, she will be giving too much milk for one calf and I will have to hope and pray I can secure a couple of Holsteins from the dairy at Higginsville at that time and get them all, the mother and calves, comfortable with one another before the trip.  All these things look perfectly logical on paper, but old Murphy, with  his stupid law, is always right around the corner waiting to spring into action.  

Worst-case scenario?  We skip the trip and lose the $300 we paid for it.  

It's only a one-night, two-day trip.  Please say a prayer for us and/or send good vibes our way, and don't forget to keep Penny in mind as you do so.  I really don't want to send her to slaughter; she is gentle (doesn't move a muscle when I'm milking), young, and bred to a Jersey bull.  

But I will, if that's what it takes.


Margaret said...

Murphy's Law, you're wise to keep it in mind. However, things could come together perfectly, or close enough. That's what I'll be hoping for!


Sounds like a plan, though I am sad about Penny. But you are wise to keep old Murphy and his stupid law in mind as you move forward. Prayers for you all.

Anne Mark said...

Our first-calf jersey/devon heifer calved this spring a few hours after we left for the weekend. Bred to an angus bull. She had no problems whatsoever. When our son got home that evening mother and son were doing fine. I pray all goes as easy for you. It sounds like you really should not have any problems.