Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Three and a half Weeks

Lucy in her favourite corner of the paddock, looking for her herd.

Honey, resting by the fence in the sun. She licks her lips when I approach her! She is 5 weeks old.

This is the little paddock they are being kept in, it's pretty dry and sparse.

How time flies! We've had Lucy and Honey for 26 days now. It keeps getting better. I take care of the cows on my own most of the time now, and still enjoy it. I am getting used to Lucy's behaviour and learning what signals she's giving me. I've never really had to communicate with cows before!

Lucy's favourite - lucerne

We've had virtually no rain for ages and have the cows in a smaller paddock within the house paddock. We're supplementing their feed a lot. In the morning Lucy gets a bucket whilst feeding Honey which contains a mixture of dairy pellets, copra, cracked corn, calf crumble, molasses, water, dolomite, seaweed powder, sulfur and water. Almost all of it is pre-mixed in a big bin - I only add the water, molasses and minerals and combine. Then I fill a big tub with top quality lucerne mixed with a little rhodes grass and refill two water containers. During the day sometime I usually throw in another hunk of lucerne and check the water. In the afternoon Lucy has another bucket with the same mix - half whilst she feeds Honey in the pen and half in her tub in the bails for when she's being milked. Then a little more lucerne to keep her busy and I top up the water containers again. Honey has the fluffy green tops from the lucerne hay, grass in the paddock and a tiny bit of calf crumble to supplement her two feeds each day from Lucy. She also nibbles at some of the mixed feed Lucy drops on the ground but I think it's too rich for her.

I've also given Lucy some pigeon pea branches, carrots, apple cut into quarters, corn cob husks and ends and lettuce and cabbage outer leaves from the garden. I think it's all new to her so it's funny to watch her taste and feel the new foods before eating them. Oh, she didn't eat the pigeon pea much, only nibbled a few leaves and pushed it aside.

We're getting a bit more milk lately so I'm going to start making some cheese. So far I've only frozen some (in ice-cubes for smoothies and the like) and made custards and yoghurt. I have a couple of recipe, so hopefully tomorrow will allow me some time in the kitchen... Stay tuned!

This is the pen where I feed the cows and Lucy feeds Honey, they were locked here all the time for a couple of days then every night for two weeks as well. The fencing is portable panels, the shelter is a silver tarp and the bedding is sugar cane mulch hay. They sleep in here on the hay most of the time - the gate to this pen is always open now.

This is Lucy feeding Honey in the afternoon. Notice the back quarters of her udder are very full! This is after we began to feed her a fair amount of lucerne each day. I only milk out in the afternoons and that day got over 4L from the back teats.

Honey feeding in the afternoon. She feeds from Lucy twice a day at 'bucket time'. I love the froth - it gets everywhere! She normally drinks from only the front quarters but has begun to suck one back teat at most feeds as well. She still leaves us plenty of milk each day.


A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

What a delightful post!
The cows look like great animals to have around though they do sound fairly time consuming to keep.
Mummma and her Youngun are gorgeous!

Bel said...

It takes about half an hour in the mornings (would be shorter if I didn't have to tie Lucy to feed Honey). Then around an hour in the afternoons, including milking and clean-up. But it's good exercise and I'm learning heaps!

Jo said...

Sounds like you're doing really well with it all, Bel! They're looking really healthy - hopefully the rain will come soon and they'll have more grass. said...

Honey is such a cutie! Hopefully the feeding will get easier?

P.S. I Love the blog and wondered if you would like to link to our green family blog?

Check it out here;

artemis-of-the-eucalypts said...

breast feeding of any species rocks ;) Thanks for the update!

Thomas said...

Hi Bel, I'm looking forward to following your blog. In an ideal world, I would be on a small farm, milking cows and making cheese. In the meantime, I'll have to get a lesson or two on animal husbandry from you!