Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In Training for Milking

The vacuum pump arrived for the bucket milker and over the weekend Rog and I got it hooked up in the barn. I don't know if LaFonda has ever been milked by a machine before (the people we got her from acquired her at a livestock auction), so I decided to  get her into the routine of coming into the barn morning and night for her ration of grain and accustomed to the noise of the milker.  Sunday morning,  LaFonda came inside happily, just like the good old days last summer when we were hand-milking, and did not flinch when I turned on the loud vacuum pump.

Sunday evening, when I went out to  do the chores LaFonda was already waiting for me at the barn door, peering in.  She seems quite eager to get back into the miking routine.
The kind farmer I get hay from gave me an old bucket milker that had been in his attic for 30 years.  It was bafffling and challenging to figure out and find all the parts I needed - until I  located Marv, a dairy equipment rep. He helped me select a vacuum pump and new pulsator and refurbished the  "claw" - the octopus-like contraption that attaches to the cow's udder. This morning he stopped by to show me how it all works, adjust the vacuum level and showed me how to clean it easily. I feel fairly ready now.
LaFonda must  feel very ready. Her udder is so large now that she has to walk with her back legs awkwardly stretched apart to straddle it.  She seems enormous to me - especially for a cow that was bred with a mini cow so she would have a small calf.  Tonight our dairy farmer neighbor stopped by and I wondered if it is be possible she has twins. Mark responded, " I was thinking the same thing." He said he could be wrong, but now my worry level has elevated considerably.  Twin calves are much more likely to have problem births, with one of the pair being born in the wrong position -- a medical emergency.

I am going to be keeping a very close eye on her.


Mary said...

What kind of cow is she? I hope everything goes ok. Sounds like you have a good neighbor you can call if she has any problems. keep us posted on how she does.

God bless

katiegirl said...

The picture of her peering over the door is so cute! And how awesome you got a milker! That will be SO nice. Hopefully she won't have twins, but if she does there's a good chance everything will work out just fine! And I'm sure your neighbors will be able to help you out.

I'm dying to see more calf pictures. Come on Lafonda!

Susan said...

LaFonda is a half -Jersey/half-? mix. The people we got her from thought half milking shorthorn, but our vet said he didn't think so. Whatever it is, it's a good mix--she is the sweetest , friendliest cow ever.
I scarcely slept at all last night -i HOPE she calves today!

jayne said...

May all of LaFonda's heifer ancestors surround her with their loving and calming spirit love, and ease her delivery.