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M on June 1st, 2012

This week has been extremely busy, but thankfully uneventful.  I have continued to milk Holly twice per day and so far the iv canula has remained bandaged on her teat and continues to drain nicely when I milk the other three quarters.  Well it can actually drain all the time and does drip milk as it it open at the end, but when I milk and she lets down, the milk streams out for pretty much the whole time that I am milking the other three quarters.

I gave Holly the second penicilan IM injection without any problems while the vet was here Saturday night.  Sunday I have no idea what happened, but the first go at getting the needle in failed (after going in a little bit) so I had to sting the poor girl a second time – she moved around a bit (obviously in pain from it) but I got the antibiotics in without too much drama.  Monday, I tried and failed twice before giving up and calling G to come and get the needle in and Tuesday night for her last injection I just got him to do it straight up.  Boy, am I relieved to have that over and done with – and no doubt Holly is too, poor girl:(

Unfortunately the only use for the milk is pasture fertilizer as it contains too much residual antibiotic.  The witholding period for milk is 14 days which will be Tuesday June 12 – fingers, toes and everything crossed that nothing else goes wrong and we will be able to resume drinking her milk the next day.  Well, at least the milk from the other three quarters, I don’t know at this stage when the injured quarter will be able to be milked.  If everything goes to plan, the vet will visit again next Thursday and we will hopefully have a better idea as to what the prognosis is then.

In the meantime, Holly’s production is slowly increasing, although it appears she was in heat Wednesday/Thursday and the slight drop in production supports that. Apart from some goopy blood tinged strings, the only sign was that she refused to follow me and the bucket of food up to the yards like she has been doing and actually tried to walk away and took a few steps in the opposite direction.  That was the extent of her naughty behaviour – no kicking the bucket or pooping, peeing or otherwise being a hormonal monster like cows in heat are known for.  Have I mentioned how much I love this cow?

Holly’s milk productuction for the week 29 May-1 June:

Tuesday (Day 4):  3lts am, 1.25lts pm

Wednesday (Day 5): 2.5lts am,  1.25lts pm

Thursday (Day 6):  2.5lt am, .75lts pm

Friday (Day 7):  3lts  am, 1.3lts p

Something very interesting happened Monday morning (as per the title of this post).  After I milked Holly I left the bucket in the yard when I let her out of the crush – she walked straight to it and started slurping it down and was quite upset when I took it off her.  I figured the amount of antibiotics in it couldn’t be any worse than the actual injections she is getting, but didn’t let her finish it anyway as the bucket wasn’t particularly clean. This milk is completely unusable for anything other than pasture fertilizer at least for two more days, then the chooks or dogs could technically have it for the next two weeks, so other than the residual antibiotics left in the milk (which she already has in her system from the injections anyway), I figured that it probably wouldn’t hurt her and given the health benefits of raw milk it was probably good for her.

Just to make sure, I decided to ask around and do some research.  I have been told by other house cow owners that it is a great natural medicine for cows recovering from illness or injury, and in the past was highly recommended as a treatment for mastitis and any digestive upset the cow may have.  Natural yogurt with live cultures is actually one of the treatments allowed for digestive disorders that does not affect the certified orgnaic status of certified organic dairies.  I know how good fresh milk from a healthy pasture fed cow is for G and B2 (and the consequences they have for drinking plastic store bought milk) and how my sinus problems and ‘smoke’ smell that I have suffered for the past three months have cleared up in the last two weeks of drinking Holly’s milk, but Holly’s greediness for her own milk made me wonder what exactly she was craving in it.  It is common practice to allow livestock free choice access to loose minerals and vitamins as they will self medicate as per their body’s needs, so it stands to reason the same can be applied to fresh raw milk.  Looking at the following list of health benefits from fresh raw milk, I think Holly knows more about the goodness of her milk than I do!

Raw milk contains:

All 8 essential amino acids which for the most part are easy to digest;
Key enzymes;
Proteins with anti-microbial activity;
Immunoglobulins that provide resistance to many viruses, bacteria and bacterial toxins;
CLA(conjugated linoleic acid) which among many other beneficial things strengthens the immune system;
Every known fat and water soluble vitamin;
Large range of minerals and trace elements;
Cholesterol – a protective/repair substance;
Beneficial bacteria (to repopulate the balance of internal flora upset by antibiotics)

So I am quite happy to continue letting Holly have her milk for the time being seeing as we can’t drink it anyway, and the concensus is that she will refuse the milk when her body no longer needs it.

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M on May 29th, 2012

When the vets left last night, Holly’s teat canal was able to be opened and was functional when open (well functional in that there were now two holes instead of one which will most likely be permanent).  Talk about dedicated individuals – they were here fro nearly two hours and it was well after 8pm on a Friday night with three more farm calls in the district before they could head home an hours travel from here – and I’m already thinking I need to sell a kidney to pay for it all.

It did close up very tightly after about ten minutes on Friday night, but re-opened again when the vet did it, but by Saturday morning the tube prolapse was swollen, split on two sides and totally impossible to push back inside with the tube that we had.

Another after hours vet call out and I’m thinking I need to sell both kidneys and maybe a lung, while being eternally greatful that this brilliant vet was still willing to come out on his rostered Saturday off to fix my poor broken cow.

I did forget to mention in the previous post that there is a 14 day withholding period on the milk and Bangers has to be weaned as of his last meal before the injury (so last Thursday afternoon).  I can continue to milk her and there is no reason to dry her off – which is great because we also had her preg tested and she is definitely not due with a Murray Grey calf in Spetember.  Considering all this I think I am probably relieved about that, but still gutted that this injury has happened to her highest producing quarter and the mastitis risk we are going to have to fight every lactation.

The vet was unable to insert a regular cow teat canula into the teat, so had to make do with inserting a horse neck IV canula to open the canal and drain the teat.  It is hopefully securely bandaged on and stitched around the teat and the best case scenario is that the bandage and canula will remain in place for two weeks, at which time a regular cow teat canula should be able to be inserted and bandaged on.  If it comes off before then it may be necessary to actually stitch it too the teat – something that we really, really want to avoid having to do.

We also seperated Bangers and put him in with the Dexters down in the second paddock – I also put a weaning nose ring on him in the unlikely event that he or Holly decided to go through fences to get back together, because if he does nurse from the injured teat it will destroy that quarter permanently.  Of course he and Holly are both mooing forlornly at each other fairly constantly.  This is likely to go on for 3-4 days and I am really hoping the stress does not make Holly lose any more weight as she has lost the weight she has gained since being here and is looking terribly thin.

All through this, Holly has been so good, not once has she tried to hurt me or the vets even though this is clearly very painful – she has lifted her leg and half kicked  few times, but only kicked in the direction of her udder not the people causing the pain.  If she wasn’t so good, treating this injury would not be possible.  And if she was in a commercial herd it wouldn’t be possible either – a cow with this type of injury would normally be sent to slaughter.  We are doing everything possible to save the quarter, but there are so many things that could go wrong.  Given the minimal amount of milk from the other three quarters combined, the consequences of losing this quarter is something that I can’t bear thinking about.

The vet also checked Raj again, he has not passed the oil, but the sand is moving in his gut, so things are progressing as they should.

Milk production from remaining three quarters post injury (estimated volumes):

Saturday (day 2): 1.75lts am, .5lts pm.

Sunday (day 3): 2lts am, 1 lt pm.

Monday (day 4): 2.5lts am, 1lt pm

I have a list of vitamins, minerals and supplements that I am trying to track down to start giving Holly as soon as possible to build her immune system and help her gain weight – I’m also hoping that weaning her heffalump sized calf will help with the weight gain.  In addition to the free choice hay, I’m gradually increasing the speedibeet, oats and lupins that she is getting twice a day and planning on adding in black sunflower seeds, kelp, apple cider vinegar, garlic granules, brewers yeast and a loose mineral mix (as well as free choice hay).  Its taken two weeks, but Holly is finally enjoying the dollop of molassas in her feed, but still insists that chopped up apple, carrot and beetroot are some kind of foreign poison.  Yesterday when I was moving her food bucket around she proceeded to give my face and hair cow kisses with her raspy tongue, so I think she is starting to appreciate being a spoilt house cow (even if we can’t drink her milk for the next few weeks).

It does sound like alot, but getting her healthy and in better condition as quickly as is safe is important – and with illness in the family, making sure the milk she gives us is healthy is also a very important consideration.

In between all of this, we had the first frost for winter last Thursday (24th May), with not having any rains since the beginning of the month, this is starting to damage the pasture that has already germinated.  The long range forecast dosn’t indicate rain until Wednesday at the earliest – and that is supposed to be a storm, so I gues we shall see if the weatherman is right for a change. After carting numerous wheelbarrow loads of compost and manure to prepare the vegie beds for planting winter vegetables (better late than never!) I finally managed to plant a few seeds yesterday, only snowpeas and sugarsnap peas, as well as transplanting the capsicum bushes to see if I can get them to over-winter under the growcover.

The right time for planting (according to the moon cycle) is between 23rd May and 5th June, so I am trying to get everything else planted during that time.  I don’t know what it is but no matter how much I prepare to be ready for these 11 days of prolific growth, *something* always happens to delay my plans.  Those plans include planting carrots, garlic, lettuce, onion, oregano, Pak Choy, Parsley, more peas and snowpeas, silverbeet, kale, brocoli and cauliflower.  I’ve also got some spinach, a different type of silverbeet and some broad beans to plant…and if none of the humans like them, I am sure the chickens, ducks and cows will.

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M on May 27th, 2012

Our second week with Holly started off great with a gradual increase in milk production and a big increase in cream line after I switched to completely milking out the biggest producing quarter (her right rear) and partially milking the left quarters, leaving the right front full for Bangers.  Holly’s behaviour, demeanour and temperament is just brilliant, she is a pleasure to work with and to milk.  She is not an overly friendly ‘pet cow’, but she is a brilliant house cow – very easy to move into the crush and has not tried to kick once during milking (unlike Charlotte who was quiet adept at kicking me through the steel cattle panels of the crush while still locked in the head gate.

Sunday: 4 litres

Monday: 3 litres (much more cream)

Tuesday: 3.5lts

Wednesday: 4.5ltrs

Thursday: 4.5lts

And then on Thursday evening after everything going so brilliantly, disaster struck:(  I was feeding Holly in the portable wooden milk stand to get her used to being in there with G and A being close by.  Holly got a fright and tried to jump over the rail but slipped and fell down, seriously injuring the teat on her right rear quarter.  It looks like she either stepped on or pinched her rear teat slicing some skin off in two thumb nail size sections 2-3mm thick.    The lacerations themselves are not serious injuries – probably equivalent to bad calf teeth bites that should heal within a few days (as long as no infection obviously).

The problem is what looked like a small narrow hollow tube about 3mm long of…whitish-translucent thick skin/cartilage resembling soft fingernail (keratin) that was protruding from the teat oriface.  It was getting dark and hard to see properly, but what it looked like is the internal tube has been squeezed out of the teat. I was able to squirt some milk out normally so it dosn’t appear to be damage in that respect.  I cleaned it up and covered the teat with unprocessed honey (a nautral anti-biotic and healing agent), seperated Holly and Bangers for the night and set about googling the problem (if we had a vet in town I would have called but we don’t and it took most of the night to google a little bit of information on this very rare type of injury).

The inside structure of the cow teat consists of the streak canal (ductus papillaris) which is the orifice that the milk flows out of.  The streak canal is the main barrier against bacteria and infection. It is lined with a skin-like epidermis of keratin material that has antibacterial properties. This canal is normally kept closed by sphincter muscle that surrounds it – during milking the muscle relaxes opening the canal and allowing the milk to be released.  When the canal is open (for up to an hour after milking), it allows harmful bacteria to enter the teat and cause mastitis in that quarter.

It is this internal streak canal that has been pushed outside of the teat – technically it is a teat canal prolapse, a very serious but normally rare injury.  I called the vet first thing Friday morning, but due to multiple animal emergencies in the district they were unable to get here until late evening.  Friday was an incredibly stressful day as the vet I spoke to did not seem familiar with this type of injury at all, but as luck would have it the more experienced head vet also came out and he is nothing short of brilliant – and a truly dedicated animal lover.

The vet was able to push the prolapsed canal back inside with some difficulty and let much of the milk that had been sitting there for 24 hours flow out.  The plan was for me to do the same thing as many times a day as possible, not to milk, but just to release some pressure and make sure the canal healed open.  In normal circumstances a teat canula would have been inserted and bandaged on for a couple of weeks, but the swelling in the teat canal meant a canula was too big and the lacerations further up the teat made this not the best option for healing the lacerations (with potential for further complications).

Holly was also given an IM injection of penicilin (to be continued fro five days) and an intermammary dose of antibiotics.  The verdict Friday night was that the teat canal would take several months to heal and mastitis is a very real risk (and will be an ongoing problem with this quarter), but that normal production should be possible after it is healed this lactation.

After seeing to Holly, I had the vet check Miss B’s pony Raj as he has had runny manure on and off for three weeks – first from too rich hay, he improved when we put him on a different hay, then next week it was runny again from the new green grass after the rains, again got better when we locked him up to control his intake to just hay but after letting him out on the grass again for a few hours it returned btu locking him up with just hay didn’t reduce the water content that he was passing.  A trip to the vets was planned for him after the weekend, but as it turns out, we are lucky to have had to call the vet to Holly as Raj had a belly full of sand and would not have gone much longer before he was a very sick little pony.

Raj was oil drenched (after being tranquilized because he was antsy at finally getting out of the yard which he hates) and given a painkiller to get him through the night.  I spent the night checking him frequently but thank god he didn’t colic and was his normal self.

Not the best photos as they were taken on my mobile phone, the small nobbly bit at the end is the canal prolapse.

Cow teat canal prolapse injury

Cow teat canal prolapse injury

Cow teat canal prolapse injury

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M on May 22nd, 2012

Holly says..."Eat more Chicken!"

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M on May 19th, 2012

Yes, our Jersey girl finally has a name – Holly.  She and Bangers have settled into life on our farm really well and have quickly accepted the routine I have started for milking in the morning and ‘getting to know you’ sessions during the day.

I am just so thrilled that this cow is such a good girl, easy to work with and has so far shown no signs of aggression at all, these are also qualities that she has passed on to Bangers, so I am looking forward to her having a heifer calf one day in the future that we will keep as a second milking cow.

Holly and Bangers are both learning to trust me – of course I am not above bribery so it heaps that I am always the bearer of gifts in the way of yummy cow food.  On Thursday Holly walked right up to me for the first time and stood right next to me happily munching on the oats in the bucket I was holding, and this morning scarfed down a bucket of oats, flaked lupins and lucerne chaff for the first time (up until now the only thing she would eat was the hay and plain oats the other day).  Its possible that she dosn’t like the taste of molassass, but I will try again and see if she does as it is full of vitamis and minerals and particularly good in drink form when a cow is recovering from illness or giving birth.

Jersey house cow

Holly

We’ve gone from milking just one litre on Sunday up to 4 litres yesterday and while I think settling in here and enjoying unlimited good quality hay is helping, I suspect a large part of the increase is due to improvement in my milking technique and improving dexterity of my thumbs and forefingers that are doing all the milking.  Yesterday I also tried something different and completely stripped one quarter (her rear right) which is her biggest producing quarter, and only partially milked out the two left quarters.  Within just a few hours in the fridge the cream was over an inch thick in the one litre bottles, so it will be interesting to see if todays milk is thicker and creamier in general.

Holly’s milk production for the week:

Sunday: 1 litre,  Monday: 1.5lts, Tuesday: 1.5lts, Wednesday: 2.25lts, Thursday: 2.5lts, Friday: 4lts, Saturday: 3.5lts (Total: 13.75lts)

Holly

Jersey house cow

Such a sweet face

Holly and Bangers

Holly and Bangers

 

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M on May 15th, 2012

Our jersey girl has settled in really well, is already gaining back some weight and is proving to be a real pleasure to work with.  When I I have gone out to milk her the past three mornings, she has already been up near the cattle yard where I lock up Bangers overnight.  I push him into the squeeze shoot, open the gates and go out and walk her straight in.  I’m currently milking her in the crush, intitially to deal with any rodeo action and to save me from being kicked (at least until she learned like Charlotte did how to get a back leg through the steel rails to kick me), but this gorgeous girl has not given any indication whatsoever that she was going to kick.  The only thing she has done is swat my head twice with her tail (once yesterday and once today) and when she has moved she’s only shuffled her front feet.

This is particularly amazing because she is not distracting herself by eating while I milk – so far she won’t even taste anything that I have put in her bucket – flaked lupins, chopped apples and lucerne chaff topped with big dollops of molassas, and today just plain oats to see if that would work as she has probably never had any ‘treat’ food, but not even oats could tempt her.  When I let her out after milking she did stop to grab some big mouthfuls of the lucerne/molassas that I had tipped on top of her hay (before running off down the hill to meet up with Bangers who had gone the long way), so I think the not eating is her way of showing that she is stressed about the new situation and where Bangers is – she is fine when he is standing so she can see him, but starts the mamma-mooing when he moves around the yard out of her sight.

Sunday morning was our first milking and I got just on one litre, there was much more to take, but my fingers had given up on the job.  I was milking one handed into the cup and tipping that into the bucket in case she kicked or pooped and I had to move in a hurry, but by the end I realised that she was going to be ok with the milking bucket under her belly.  She has tiny teats so I am strip milking with thumb and forefinger rather than being able to ‘clam and pull’ with my whole hand as I did with Charlotte.  Its been more than five months since I last hand milked so its going to take a while before a) my hands build up again and b) I can learn how to co-ordinate this new milking technique and aim correctly!  I expect the pain to start in the next few days, so probably should start massaging my hands with something now to help with the aches and pains.

Yesterdays milking gave me 1.5 litres not counting what I miss-aimed and squirted on the floor (not sure how its possible to miss the big opening in the milk bucket but it is) and today I seemed to get into the swing of it a lot quicker and got a fraction over two litres.   LOL much to Bangers disgust, he’s never been handled but that didn’t stop him from coming right up to me and stretching through the steel rails to see if he could reach the milk bar.  He even let me reach out my hand and touch his nose (probably because my hand smelt like his breakfast!)  There was still alot more in there as I wasn’t able to get a full let down, but my hands said enough before her udder did.  I am very relieved to have Bangers to milk her out fully, but can see that he is going to need halter training sooner rather than later.

I still havn’t settled on a suitable name for her yet.  Abbey, Rosie, Ellie, Poppy and Blossom, but I think she is rather graceful for a cow, so Gracie and Violet are also in the running.

Fresh raw jersey milk

 

I’m sharing this on the Barn Hop:

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M on May 13th, 2012

I love the curiosity of the other residents whenever we bring an new addition onto the farm.  The dexters, particularly T-Bone were not particularly impressed about not being able to get through the gate to meet the newcomers.

The Dexters: Matilda, Charlotte and T-Bone

T-Bone's growing up

Tazzy, Tommy and Sandy saying hello to the newcomers

I seperated Bangers and our still un-named jersey for the night so that I could milk her this morning.  Given that she hasn’t been milked since the beginning of this lactation in December and after my experience with Charlotte, I was fully expecting a rodeo and allsorts of arguements and complaints, but she was incredibly easy to get into the yard from the paddock and walked straight through the chute into the crush.  Apart from pulling her head back a couple of times when she got a fright, she stood rock still the whole time, didn’t move one hoof, swish her tail or cover me in cow poop – I didn’t need the kick stop, the glove on the stick, the tail or leg tie – what an angel of a cow!

I only milked a just over a litre off her because I didn’t want to stress her too much being the first time and I was milking one handed into a cup, but I don’t think there will be any problem tomorrow milking straight into the bucket.  She has tiny little teats compared to Charlotte, so it is going to take awhile to get into the swing of milking her in a good rhythm.  I plan to continue milking her in the crush for a week or two, then move her into the stanchion.

She is so terribly skinny, I am worried about the weight she has dropped, and the possibility of her going into ketosis (she hasn’t been starved or anything, but the high water content and lack of nutrition in the fresh grass she has been on the past two weeks combined with feeding her big steer calf has drained all her reserves.  She is alert, happy, has bright eyes, poop has normalized, she’s drinking and her appetitie is good, she ate about half of the bale of hay I left her last night, but has not eaten much of the molassas soaked lucerne chaff/flaked lupins – she most likely has not had anything but hay and only grains when she was being milked previously and I remember that Charlotte was very fussy (and still is) about any new food that she gets introduced to.  I’ve given the new cow a huge pile of our hay which she seems to be enjoying more than the bale that I got from her previous owner.  I’ll be putting her onto speedibeet as soon as it comes in and either oats, barley, cow muesli or a senior horse feed (depending what I can get hold of tomorrow), and will get a weaning nose poker for Bangers so that he can only get milk from her once a day when I take it off – being close to 150 days into this lactation (when lactating cows drop the most condition) it will be nearly impossible to get weight on her with such a big calf still accessing the milk bar.  If she is in calf and due in Spetember, getting weight on her is essential well before then, and even if she is not, she will need more condition before she can be bred (and before I can graft a foster calf on her, which I would like to do if she is not in calf).

More photos this morning with the old camera so not as good as normal, but better than yesterdays effort in the dark!

Bangers

Pretty girl

Way too skinny:(

Investigating their new home

Shows how big he is for just one five months of age

Such a sweet face!

Bangers and mum

And some more photos from this evening, I’m hoping its not just wishful thinking on my part, but to me her rumen dosn’t look as sucken and tucked up as she did this morning.  And she still dosn’t have a name.

What choo lookin’ at?

Enjoying her dinner

Jersey

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M on May 12th, 2012

After what seems like forever waiting to find one, we went and picked up our new house cow today.  She is purebred Jersey, will be four years old in October and has a five month old steer calf at foot – he has tentatively been named “Bangers” as in ‘bangers and mash’ to go with the food name theme for the boys, but she dosn’t have a name yet.  I want a name that is sweet and gentle, so something long the lines of Rosie, Annie, Abbey, Bonnie, Violet, Blossom or similar.

She has lost some condition since we first saw her ten days ago – I can see her ribs 🙁 (possibly because of her having the squirts from the huge quantity of green grass that has sprung up where she was after the opening rains), so I will be pumping the hay into her to get her back to a bit better condition asap, especially as she may be in calf – she was running with a Murray Grey bull and would be due to calf in September, so I will do a blood draw and have her preg tested at the end of next month so I can wean bangers and dry her off before she freshens.

I’ve got him seperated in the yard tonight and plan to attempt milking her for the first time in the morning.  I am fully expecting a rodeo for the first month or two until she settles down and learns to trust me, but I figure nothing can be as bad as hand milking Charlotte aka devil-cow!

It was nearly dark by the time I got them seperated for the night and fed so the photos from my old camera are not the best – I will get better ones from my good camera tomorrow.

Jersey Cow

Jersey Cow

Jersey Cow

Jersey Cow

Jersey Cow

Jersey Beef cross steer

Jersey beef cross steer calf

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M on May 9th, 2012

It seems to have been a long haul of dust and red dirt this summer, but we have finally had some rain over the last 10 days and the pasture is germinating everywhere.  Because it has not been too cold and we have also had some days of sun, the growth has been quite rapid, to the point that over a five day period the horses stopped eating all the hay we were putting out, and the sheep stopped coming up for their hay.  By the end of the month pasture growth will stop until the eather warms up again, but it sure is nice to see the greenery and know that the rain water tanks are going the right way for a change.

The farmers have been busy the last few weeks raking and burning the left over stubble and fertilizing their paddocks before seeding.  Our paddocks have been fertilized the natural way (with semi rotational grazing and horse, sheep and cow poo), but next season we plan to have soil testing done so that we can apply trace elements and minerals as they are needed.  It will be interesting to see what pasture mix comes up this year, especailly in the seconf paddock which had a large amount of flatweed in it last year (something that most people around here also experienced, so it was a season/weather thing rather than related to our soil).  We will be spreading some oat seed in that paddock before the next lot of rain and then shutting it off from the stock until the end of the year when we will either have it cut for hay or use it as standing hay again like we did last season.

We’ve had our share of illness and injury lately that I am well and truly ready to be over and done with.  A couple of months ago Tazzy bucked me off onto my head giving me a severe concussion for over a week, which led straight into a head cold followed by a big sinus infection all of which combined to completely wipe out nearly four weeks.  G was in hospital last week and is back in for a small, unrelated surgery today, Taj had a grass seed absecc in his foot last week, Raj pony had scours for a week (finaly narrowed it down to hay that was too rich for him), then Monday night just after dark he slipped in the mud and landed in the fence getting his front and back legs caught in the wire.

I saw him sitting down from the kitchen, this is not that unusual as when he rolls he sits like a dog to change sides, but after a couple of seconds I was running out to see what the problem was.  Thank god he didn’t panic because the wire was pulled tight on his front fetlock and above the hock on his hind leg, we are extremely greateful that all he did was scrape some hair off in two places above the hock, it could easily have been a broken bone or degloved leg.  Gave him (and us) a hell of a fright and he took off away from us, but did a 90 degree turn back to Miss B when she came out of the house calling him.  The bond between the two of them is just amazing, we couldn’t have asked for a better pony for her and would be beyond devastated if anything every happens to him.

On a brighter note (for me anyway as it means less work;) I have been able to re-home two of our home grown frizzle roosters so they get to live out their lives as roosters instead of going to freezer camp…while the reason for breeding our own chickens *is* to eat the roosters, this lot are all bantams and honestly not worth the effort of plucking!  I’ve also given seven bantam hens to a friend and have another four to re-home…that leaves me with quite a few more than the dozen hens I had originally planned for when I decided to downsize, but I have kept three pekin hens and a roo for the time being becasue they are so cute and it would be nice to get some chicks from them next spring.  Hopefully when they start laying again they will be happier being less crowded and we will actually get more eggs than we did last season!  In the mean time, I am impatiently waiting for the ducks to start laying sometime in the next month or so.

I also have fingers, toes and everything crossed that I have found my next house cow…if everything goes to plan this time next week we will be drinking fresh sweet milk.  I’m trying not to get too excited until she actually steps foot on the place (in case something goes wrong and we don’t end up getting her), but its very hard not to be excited, I’ve wanted a jersey cow for as long as I can remember.  She has a five month old steer calf on her so the plan will be to share milk for the time being, and if she is in calf dry her off around August, and if she is not in calf I will look at getting her bred and if her milk production is suitable I’m considering a poddy calf to raise for additional beef (or even a week old jersey heifer to raise as back-up milker if I can find one).

Regular readers of this blog may notice that I have gone back and adding posts which I will contionue to do as I have time, in particular to show the changes to the farm over the seasons.  I plan to keep a more regular posting schedule when the new cow comes as well, especially as I will need to record everything once I start cheesemaking.

May 1, 2012: This is actually our neighbours farm and sheep, our land is this side of the fence, but it shows how dry and brown everything was.

The one below is not the best photo as it is very bright with alot of dew on the grass and quite hazy with smoke out there this morning, but it shows the difference between end of summer and the start of autumn I think.

May 9, 2012: Taken this morning in the same direction, showing the greenery growing in our house paddock, top paddock and next doors plowed paddock.

 

 

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G on April 27th, 2012

While much of Australia over the Summer and early Autumn periods have been getting quite a bit, or even excessive rain, much of the South West of Western Australia has been getting very little.  Our own location here at Eagleburra has only had 29.1mm with the biggest fall on a single day being 4.6mm.  The rain that has fallen has been sporadic at best with most of the water being evaporated and very little getting to our water tanks.

Our paddocks are dusty, the roads are dusty, the air is dusty, we have really had enough of the dust and would like to get some rain.

We have our lowest levels of water in our Water Tanks since living here, with our stock tank at only 15cm, with only 8cm usable and our main house drinking etc tank is now down to 70cms.  The capacity of each tank is around 100,000 litres and both were full at the end of Winter, though I think we have a leak in our Stock tank liner which I need to go and climb into and check (yuck).  So as for what is available litre wise in our tanks I estimate it to be 4500 litres in the stock tank and around 32,000 in the House tank.  While that seems like a lot have a think about your daily water use, from toilet, washing, drinking, showering, cooking and so on… you only need to look at what the Water Corporation says is used by each person in a household to know that it is not much at all.

A couple of telling graphs of our water tanks at Eagleburra as of today.

Eagleburra Stock Tank Level 27-04-2012

Eagleburra Stock Tank Level 27-04-2012

Eagleburra House Tank Level 27-04-2012

Eagleburra House Tank Level 27-04-2012

We were, and still are hopefull of some rain today as our local radar shows rain is there, however looking outside we see no rain…

Rain Radar as at 11:40 AM 27-04-2012

Rain Radar as at 11:40 AM 27-04-2012

So something is wrong, the radar shows light rain but where is it?

If you know of a rain dance then start dancing, we could use the rain.  Hopefully we will not have to tank water in, it is not that cheap… are you dancing yet?

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