Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Switchless

I was horrified this morning when I called LaFonda in to be milked -- the switch of her tail was gone!

The switch is the long whip-like part of the tail that the cow uses to brush flies off of her back, or to swat you in the face if she is annoyed with you while you are milking. LaFonda's beautiful long switch just touched the ground.  Some cow, probably she herself, must have stepped on it when she stood up and pulled it off.   It won't grow back.

Many dairy farms actually cut their cows' tails short  so  they aren't getting in the way - and so the farmer doesn't   get swatted with a muddy tail a hundred times per milking. But that switch serves an important purpose for bovine comfort during fly season and I suspect it is also a point of pride for the cow. LaFonda looked a bit humiliated this morning and kept tucking her stubby tail between her legs.

I haven't found the switch yet, but after I make the CSA boxes I will search for it in the pasture. I have read about people making prosthetic switches for their cows from horse tail hair, so maybe if I can find it I can re--attach it.




5 comments:

Ruthlynn said...

Howdy, a lot of our beef cows get their tails snagged on the barbed wire in the shady areas of the fields.Might look along the fences where they hang out. You can make one out of horsehair/horse tail as well.Sew the hair onto some Velcro and affix on to your cows tail. Good Luck.

Susan said...

Thanks, Ruthlynn, I was wondering how to attach it!

We don't have barbed wire, but I will check along the fences just in case - good idea.

quinn said...

Poor LaFonda! Cows can be driven mad by flies when they have no switch to brush them away! I hope you can make a workable substitute for her.

Susan said...

Whoa - I can just order a replacement cow tail switch but it is very pricey!
http://www.enasco.com/product/C27078N (this is a white one that matches her, a black one is much less expensive!)
I wonder why they cost so much when so many dairy farms cut them off!?

Julie said...

Can you find a local dairy farms that cuts the tails? Maybe they would donate a transplant.