I love the curiosity of the other residents whenever we bring a 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.
I separated 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 all sorts of arguments 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 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 a while 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 appetite 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 September, 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 yesterday's effort in the dark!
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.