Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New adventure

From the time we brought Jody home six weeks ago, I've had the intentions of halter-breaking her.  Bonnie isn't broke to lead with a halter and rope, and it hasn't been a big deal; but sometimes it's really nice if you can lead your cow where you'd like her to be... for instance, to a different pen.  Or maybe you'd like to let her graze the grass in the unfenced yard.  Or, if she fails to breed, it might be handy to be able to lead her up the road a mile to the local butcher shop.  
We looked for a calf halter for a long time, and finally found one at Orcheln's.  I knew it was far too big for my little heifer, but Cliff put added holes in it so it would fasten up tighter.  
Jody is afraid of strangers, and I was afraid to compromise my new knee by trying to hogtie a calf and get a halter on her, so we hadn't begun to halter-break her yet. 
Today we took Bonnie's son, Clyde, to the butcher shop.  Now, dairy cows should be allowed from six weeks to two months dry, to rest up for the next baby.  If we dried her up today, it would be two months.  
I will run out of milk replacer tomorrow, and I was going to wean Jody, since she's eating so much grain; she would be fine with that, once she forgot what the bottle was for.  
But yet, just think how much good it would do her to have some good, rich Jersey milk twice a day for two weeks.  She would probably gain weight like crazy!  And let's not even talk about how happy she would be to be sucking on real teats instead of a rubber nipple!  
So this evening, with nobody around to help me, I decided to put the too-large halter on Jody and see if I could get her to the little lot behind the barn.

Here's how it went, but believe it or not, I got her there!

I already had Bonnie in the barn eating, so I led dragged Jody into the barn and introduced her to a teat.  
That part was easy; she grabbed right on.  I think I heard her humming, "Oh, my Mama, to me you are so wonderful..."  

Bonnie kicked at her a couple of times in protest, then went back to eating.  I guess she knew that wee little thing at her side wasn't 782-pound Clyde.  (Yes, that's how much he weighed when we checked him in at the butcher shop today.)    
I went to the other side, got my bucket, and started milking "my" two teats.  
And folks, that's as eventful as it got.  
When Bonnie seemed to have no more milk, I dragged Jody out of the barn into the lot.  I drove Bonnie to the other door that lets out into the big pasture and shut the door behind her.  Then I went out and dragged Jody back to her pen.  
If the two of them bond, I may let Jody run at Bonnie's side for two weeks.  I will have to watch closely for scours (diarrhea) because Jody isn't used to that much milk, especially rich Jersey milk.  However, she's old enough that the danger isn't all that great, even if she does have a problem at first.  Besides, I do have some pills in my possession for that problem.    
Hey, this may be the best way to halter-break a baby calf:  Let them know there is MILK at the end of the journey!


  1. You are very clever! Not a bad farm outing for the first time with your new knee. Love the pictures.

  2. nerves05 ( Nancy)8:55 AM

    Aww little Clyde was such a pretty cow.. I hate to see him go.. But Jody is beautiful as well. i'm sure she will due just fine. and can't wait to hear more about her as she grows up.
    i'm glad your knee is doing so well..

  3. Lindie4:16 PM

    How much milk do you think she (Bonnie) produces a week? And how much butter would it make? Did you see what Ree went through in the way of butter in the past 2 weeks?!!


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