Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Who needs an alarm clock?

Most of the time, Bonnie's calf runs free with her and takes all her milk. When I want some milk, I go out in the evening and put Little Sir in the barn; next morning Bonnie has a gallon of milk for me in the right two teats, and a gallon for Little Sir in the left two. This all works out very well: I don't have to ever milk the cow if I don't want to, but when I need milk, I can get it from her.

Except... I had better be ready to wake up pretty early the next morning after I've separated her from her calf. Along about six A.M., she starts bawling, and doesn't stop until I go out and remedy the situation.

She is not mooing for me to milk her; all she's concerned with is her calf. Although if her calf weren't around, she'd soon learn to bawl at me at milking time, simply because she knows she gets some sweet feed when I milk her.

One thing that has always irritated me is the way movies and TV shows depict horses and cows that are sick or in pain as being very vocal. Actually, a sick animal is usually a quiet animal. Cows moo because they want to be with their cow friends, or because they've lost track of their calves. Horses nicker and whinny if they're away from friends, or if they see a new horse friend they'd like to greet, or possibly because they think their human is going to feed them something.

When I was in junior high school, I recall reading a paperback book written by a veterinarian who had worked for Barnum and Bailey circus. He told about a fire that injured many of the animals; he said one thing that struck him was how quiet it was; the animals hardly made a sound.


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

I hear cows moooing when I'm camping as there is a farm close by. I've seen calves there too. It could be it's milking time for them, but I usually hear them at different times of the day - not early morning. Maybe they have different milking times.

Donna. W said...

"Ma", I imagine the cows you hear are not dairy cows at all, but beef cows whose babies stay at their sides day and night. Often a calf will lie down and while he's asleep, the herd will drift away from him. When Mama cow loses touch with her baby, she will bawl loudly until he hears her and comes to her side.

Helen said...

I would also think that big sack of milk would be hurting her and she wanted it out LOL. Helen

Anne said...

You have read WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, haven't you? Anne