Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Milk Cow News

So, on Friday we inserted the weaning rings in the  calves muzzles so that we could dry off the moms. Their bodies need a break from producing milk before their new calves are born in July and time to produce colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk, full of antibodies to give the new calves protection from illness. Colostrum is so critical that newborn calves often  do not survive without it.

The weird thing was, LaFonda was behaving as if she were in heat.  I posted a question about it on the Family Milk Cow website. Two people responded that I needed to have a vet do a pregnancy check--she might have an ovarian cyst that caused pregnancy symptoms. Yesterday afternoon the vet came out and did the pregnancy check.

The good news is that LaFonda is healthy- no cyst.   The bad news is she isn't pregnant - there will be no calf in July. She probably aborted or reabsorbed the fetus a couple months ago. The good news is that her 1-year-old baby is being weaned, so now WE get all the milk!  

So, rather than drying her off, I have begin a milking morning and night. I hope to  reduce to once a day miking soon.  She is giving over 3 gallons - no wonder Lindy has become such a burly little fellow.  

The first few milking sessions did not go so smoothly. We both have to re-learn the routine. LaFonda wanted Lindy to have the milk, not me, so she was holding up her milk and kicking off the claw. I was frustrated and a bit afraid of being kicked, and I wanted to just give up, but it is imperative that she be emptied or she will get mastitis.
Finally, I resorted to purchasing a Kow Kant Kick. This metal, horseshoe-shaped tool  fits over the cow's back with the side bars nestled in front of her hip bones. The device is tightened down with a crank.
It doesn't cause discomfort, but the cow is unable to move her hind legs more than a little shuffle.  Amazing success!  She stood  calmly and quietly,  munching her  grain and hay.  After a few days I probably won't have to even use it any more, but it will be a great tool to have on hand if somebody new ever wants to milk her or if we ever want  to train a new cow for milking.
It has only been three days of dairying and already LaFonda is getting into the new routine, waiting for me at the door when it is milking time. She is the most wonderful cow.


Marcia said...

There are blessings in disappointments aren't there? Are you making cheese with all that milk?

Allison Preiss said...

How wonderful to have your own fresh milk!

Gardeningbren said...

She is a beautiful cow. How interesting to learn about the tool to keep her from kicking and also, weaning rings. I didn't know either existed!

katiegirl said...

I'm sorry she's not bred, but it's great you get the milk now. Do you think you'll re-breed her soon, or just skip this year?

Anonymous said...

If you've not considered it, try Biotracking next time. With a blood draw from under the tail (yes, you can do it!), you send off 3ccs to a lab & they'll tell you if she is pregnant, 30 day post breeding. I'm sure you've read about it on the Cow Boards.