Cow woes

Poor Gwen.  Her udder is a mess.  She’s the walking wounded.  This poor cow has suffered so in the past year.  She’s had some teat chapping issues and it’s only gotten worst.  Now she’s got a bruise on the back of her udder that could have only been caused by the calf hitting her with one of his horns while nursing.  Her udder looks like hell.  Yesterday morning, her teats bled while I was milking her.

The calf is four months old and while I’d love for him to nurse longer, I permanently separated him from Gwen.  If she could kick and defend herself from his rough nursing it wouldn’t be a problem, but she really can’t kick due to the injury she sustained while at the dairy.

We’ve also adjusted her diet.   We were feeding her the sweet cow grain mixture from a local grain mill, but we’ve discovered that the grain mixtures sold by this mill are really nothing more than food to sustain life, not to keep a dairy cow in good condition (even though the mill owner said that this grain mixture was what he fed his dairy cows).  Also, the owners of this feed mill recently installed three factory chicken houses.  They increased their feed prices because they say they didn’t have enough local grain to supply their customers and have been forced to buy grain elsewhere.  Hmmmmm, I wonder if that isn’t because they are feeding their locally-grown grain to their damned factory chickens?

I did some calling around to local mills to check on dairy cow rations and was absolutely appalled to find out that Bartlett’s Mill uses distillery grains in their dairy cow mixture.  Christ, haven’t they learned anything from history???

As I wrote on the raw milk page of the Spellcast Farm web site:

“There was a time when raw milk and whiskey were the primary beverages of choice. To meet the demand for these two drinks, milk cows were confined next to distilleries and fed, not grass, but the slop left over from the spirit-making process. Slop is of little value in fattening cattle; it is unnatural food for them, and makes them diseased and emaciated. But when slop was plentifully supplied, cows yielded an abundance of milk. These dairies became known as distillery or swill dairies. The milk that the cows produced was pale and bluish in color and could not be used to make butter or cheese. It also made a lot of children and adults sick and many died. This prompted the formation of a commission to oversee milk production and certification of dairies.”

Gwen’s udder chapping is likely due to a mineral imbalance or minerals missing altogether.  Instead of the sweet cow mixture we are going to feed her a mixture of whole grains similar to what I feed the dairy goats with the addition of some soaked alfalfa cubes and root vegetables.  Hopefully the combination of taking the calf off her and feeding her better will make a difference.  Luckily the calf has Spot for company and he seems none the worst for wear for being taken from his mother.  Gwen may not get the opportunity to raise another calf unless things get better for her.

It’s still brutally cold and we are now having to haul hot water out to the animals in the morning.  I hope that this isn’t going to be another abnormally cold winter.  If so, a lot of animals are going to suffer after the summer we had.

Of course this weather is putting a damper on riding.

Oh well.

Until later …