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Friday, March 27, 2009

We got cows!!! Sorry, heifers.

Our lovely little heifers, the start of our herd. One red, one black and white. I feel like a grandma, I can't wait until they get pregnant and have calves!! Aren't they cute?

I can't help it, I get excited over the dumbest things, but maybe that's why I'm usually happy??
On this farm, the best response is to just shake your head and smile. I do that alot. Alot alot.
I remember when we managed the big dairy farm, and my daughter, Cheyenne and I did the late night milking. Cheyenne grew up on the farm, but never really had anything to do with pulling calves, or just getting calves into a wheelbarrow or calf cart to get back to the calf pen after they were born.
Usually if a cow was due soon, we would put her in a maternity pen, by herself for the night so she would be by herself, and her calf would be comfortable. Once in awhile, a cow would calve early, while she was still in the tie stall.
Behind the cows that are in the tie stall is a large "gutter" with a metal grate over it. This is there for the poop and urine to go into, and eventually when we would run the gutter cleaner every morning, it would then be taken out to the manure pond.
If a cow would calve early, sometimes the calves would be born on the metal grates.
One night, while I was getting the milk house ready, Cheyenne went into the barn to make manure down (fork it into the gutter if it landed behind the cow on their mat). She came running back into the milk house screaming "there's twins on the grate, we've got to get them off!!" I thought the barn was on fire the way she was carrying on.
When I went out to check, one of our heifers did indeed calve on the grate, and one of the calves had their little leg stuck in the bars. I calmly told Cheyenne to go get the wheelbarrow, we were going to take them back to the calf pen, and when we were done milking, we were going to give them both bottles of colostrum. She brought me the wheelbarrow. One of the calves was alot bigger than the other. This posed a big problem, especially since they were still wet and slimey. Really slimey. We got the little one into the wheelbarrow without any major conflict. The bigger one however kept slipping out of our grasp.
What does Cheyenne do?? She looks at me and says "Wait mom, I have an idea, I'll go get a shovel!!!!!!!" all proud of herself.
I just looked at her and said "You're gonna shovel it??"
She went running off to get the shovel, came back and realized what she was doing was pretty silly, and started laughing like a loon. By this time, I'm covered in calf slime, an hour late for milking, and we still had to get the bugger into the wheelbarrow. We did it eventually, thank God there was no camera in there, it was pretty funny as Cheyenne didn't want anything to do with the slime.
While we were milking, we noticed another heifer was starting to leak milk. I thought oh geeze, here we go!! We got her into the maternity pen, and kept milking, and checked on her about an hour later. I was making manure down for the night when Cheyenne came back to me all proud of herself. Here, she noticed the calf was pretty big, so what did she do?? She pulled it. Yep, my little girl who didn't want anything to do with slime went from "shoveling a calf" to pulling one in about 3 hours.
Not bad for a night's work.
We aren't going to milk our cows, they will be beef cows, but we can still enjoy their calves!!
After their slime is licked off that is!!

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