Cows …

Finally, I am realizing my dream of having a herd of Jersey cattle.  I’ve been wanting to shift my focus from the goats to Jersey cattle for some time now.  It’s been a bit of a rocky start and it’s probably going to be rocky and frustrating for some time now, but I look at it as a learning curve.  I’d much rather milk one cow and get three gallons of milk rather than six (or more) goats.  We will keep our current herd of goats and continue to breed and raise them and I will milk them, but in general, I want to milk my cows.

The goat meat has been selling very well so the plan is, sort of like the plan was this year, to keep the babies on their mothers for a longer time 24/7 rather than putting them up at night and milking the does.  We did not manage them quite as well this year and lost that ideal window to butcher the bucks when they were fat from their mothers’ milk and green grass.  Hopefully we can do better this year.  Our best hanging weights were the bucks we took in July.  Their hanging weights have gone down hill since then.  Weaning and the heat of July was hard on them.

The first morning milking my new cow, Penny, was a fiasco!  Usually when you put a halter on a cow and pull, they’ll move.  If not, putting Gel behind them helps.  Not Penny.  No amount of force was going to make her move.  She still won’t lead, but she’s figured out the milking routine and I am able to walk her into where I milk her without any mess or fuss.  I feel sure this cow has been traumatized and the trauma she suffered here didn’t help.  She’s learning to move off Gel which will help.

Force is never, ever, ever a good thing.  If I trust Gel, he can move elephants.  If I try to push him faster or harder, he will bite, but  not clean.  He’s a poor gripper.  He should bite heels or noses.  He does not. Penny suffered a puncture one on one teat due to his teeth.  Not good and COMPLETELY my fault.  Luckily cows and dogs are forgiving.

Now I need to figure out what’s wrong with Penny.  She’s not lame on the leg that has the swelling.  Odd. So far, however, she’s proven to be a very nice little cow.  She is not giving a lot of milk, but that’s okay, she’s a first time freshener.  She’ll give more next year.  Gwen is giving more than she’s ever given and is staying in really good shape doing it.  She’s on nothing but grass, hay, Chaffhaye and alfalfa pellets.

Until later …