October 28, 2011
Yeah!! Milking again!
Louise calved last night, a precious tiny bull calf!
He weighs about 40 pounds and is the smallest calf I think we have ever had. Remember Lizzie's calf that was 85 pounds? She was a horse compared to this wee fella! He doesn't have a name yet, though it will start with "L" (for Louise).
Dave was home and caught the calf on his way to the ground (she delivered standing up), got him dried and texted me pictures until I could get home from work. The birth and post-birthing were uncomplicated.
The calf nursed before we went to bed Thursday night, and this morning he was springing around the pen when I went out to milk. He continued to flit around the pen making Louise nervous, which made her "low" to him a lot. It is such a sweet sound, her lowing and his little peeps in response. In a week or so their language will be regular moos, and the baby talk will be over.
Louise was good in the stanchion, especially good for a first milking after calving. The first two weeks after calving (due to hormones and new routine) are always a crap shoot, but she made it easy by not lifting a hoof or being obstinate! One episode of poop and one of pee (always keep the bucket handy!), and a few swipes across the face with a bloody/mucusy/wet tail, but still no fight and no kicking. I consider it a great milking.
I suppose we will offer him for sale for the next month as a potential herd sire since he can be registered; after that he will be castrated and raised for meat. (He will be fully vaccinated and disbudded, and dam raised only).
I am excited for the milk to begin flowing again! We have not milked for 3 weeks and we have been rationing our last few bottles of fresh milk to drink. The routine is welcome and the fresh milk is of course such a lifeline, it feeds so many families and so many residents of our farm! I really believe a cow on a farm is the glue that binds it all together.
We are accepting applications for our herd share program, if you are interested drop me a line here or on FB. Current members and new members are eligible for the referral program (when a friend joins, the referring member receives one month free).
Party has stayed right by Louise's side (outside the birthing pen), and I am sure she will be glad when Louise and "L" are let out to the pasture so she can lick him in earnest! We really have the sweetest, most personable cows. Maybe I am just extra attached after all the change and um, growth in the last 2 years, but these two cows are really really special to me. They also bring a new life to our farm with their genetics, testing and potential for output! We are very thankful.
Here is Party yesterday, she was trying to convince me that she really did need to lick my arms and face some more.