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 organic 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;
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.