Tuesday, July 5, 2011
A New Member Joins the Family
Good Morning! Well, our newest addition to the farm turned 1 week old yesterday. Our Jersey cow, Maggie, calved last week and gave us a cute little heifer, who we have named Faline. She is so adorable. Baby animals are my favorite part of homesteading.
She did create a few problems, however. I've mentioned earlier that Maggie and the mustang we had been given by some friends just don't get along, but they had finally worked out a fragile treaty on the sharing of the pasture. Then, sometime in the wee hours of June 27th, Maggie calved and the mustang decided it was hers. Alerted by Maggie's low mooing I went out to the pasture to find the calf standing beside the mustang at the hay ring. Maggie was some distance away trying to call her calf to her, but every time the calf turned to go, the horse would get between them and herd the calf back. This continued even when I tried to lead the calf back to Maggie. By this time the calf was thoroughly confused and I was afraid we would be writing our own version of the child's book "Are You My Mother?". To compound the problem the farm is currently strained to the bursting point with animals and there really was nowhere to put Maggie and the calf by themselves. We had thought that the pasture would be sufficient to house the horse and Maggie with her calf.
I eventually put Maggie in with the goats, where at least Maggie was more comfortable. But the calf did not nurse well the first day. After leaving them together in the goat pen for several days, the calf has finally realized who her mother is and become a better nurser and extremely lively.
Typically, we leave the calf with Maggie for 24-48 hours, then pull it off and milk Maggie while bottle-feeding the calf. Faline, however, refused to nurse off the back two quarters. This was understandable since, historically, Maggie's back two quarters usually are slightly bloody the first week after calving. On day two, I decided to milk out her back two quarters to prevent her drying off in these two and to prevent the onset of mastitis. Indeed, her milk was bloody with several fibrous clots passing in one quarter. She tested negative for mastitis and after a few days this cleared up. Faline, however, still refuses to nurse off the back two or take a bottle. So this time around the arrangement is: Faline stays with Maggie and gets the front two quarters. I milk the back two quarters for the Angus calves and the family. For right now we both seem happy.
Well, the day is calling. Be sure to come back for more adventures of the psychotic animals which seem to inhabit my homestead lately.
May Yahweh bless you in this new day!