Monday, 28 December 2009

Four months old

Honey is now over four months old and has grown so big! She is coping well with being gently weaned and loves to graze alongside Lucy and chew her cud in the shade. She still has the back quarters (and strips out the front) each afternoon, but in the coming couple of weeks will be completely weaned from Lucy's milk. Lucy is due to calf on March 22nd and needs time to rest.

I've been using diatomaceous earth to deter flies and other parasites - it is mixed with their other supplements into their daily feed, used as a dusting powder and sprinkled onto their bedding area. So far, I think it really is making a difference!

After much deliberation, Honey hasn't been de-horned. Yet. Apparently I don't need to decide immediately, though this is the optimum time to remove her horn buds. Because she will always be in a small herd, and has been handled from when she came here, I'm leaning toward letting her keep her horns.


I'm about to start reading The Family Cow by Dirk van Loon. I picked it up from Fishpond for under $25 and it looks to be a fairly comprehensive addition to the farm bookshelf.

This isn't the greatest photo, but it does show how huge Lucy's belly is (with still 3 months to go) and how tall Honey has become compared to Lucy.

We're still getting between 4-5L of milk each day from the front quarters, and leaving the back quarters to Honey. I have loads of milk in the fridge and freezer and numerous yoghurt and cheese experiments going on! It will be such a shock to have no homegrown milk for 2+ months.

We're always reflecting how far the girls have come in 3.5 months. They're easy to catch now, and Lucy is easy to lead. Honey isn't as well-trained to the halter as she could be. They're affectionate and curious farm-pets who have really fit into our family and routine nicely.

6 comments:

Diana R.Smith said...

Love your cow pics. We raised an orphan calf for a neighbor last year and named her honey. Now we got lucky and a neighbor was having a distress sale of his cows d/t divorce and we got a beautiful Jersey cow and her heifter calf. Esther is finally settling in to be a wonderful milker and Joy, her calf has resigned herself to a halter and being led!! They were basically running wild in a field so has been a long process taming them but they don't call my husband the "cow whispherer" for nothing....we once had totally wild Hereford cows that he tamed until he could milk them!!!
We've been debating the horn question,too. Joy has little nubs only at 6 mos. so will ask the vet when he comes to do all that required vacinating this month. We have just weaned her...only the two of us drinking milk so felt ok letting her keep nursing once a day although she eats pasture,hay and grain like a little piggie.

And good news-Esther has checked pregnant for a July calf again. AI to a great Jersey bull. We always had Brown Swiss so are learning how sweet Jerseys can be.

Catherine said...

You might be interested to read in some biodynamy books (Maria Thun, Steiner and Pfeiffer among others) that they say horns are very important since they help cows absorb the cosmic forces of the universe... I know this sounds a bit out there, but it is quite interesting when you read more about it. It is also very interesting to notice that many cows in big production places have their horns pointing down instead of up high... Anyways, just another thing to consider. We have a Jersey and her calf (with buds) and a Dexter and both cows have horns. Unless a cow starts to use her horns, I would never consider de-horning them. Bulls are another story, of course.

Regan Family Farm said...

Glad I found your blog. We are expecting our first calf from our Jersey (Lucy) at the end of the month, and I think we have much to learn!:)
Blessings,
Kathy

Bel said...

Diana, your husband sound like he has a gift, for sure. :) Thanks for telling me about your girls.

Catherine, thank you for the recommended reading.

Kathy, you have a Lucy too! Best wishes for your new calf. Our Lucy's calf isn't due till March 22nd or so.

marino77 said...

loved the photos of the calf and cow -
have had good results in the dast with diatomaceous earth - just make sure not to breathe that stuff - mm

Susan said...

I was delighted to find your blog and learn abou tyour family pursuing a parallel path on the other side of the earth from us.
We have a Dexter cow and her steer calf and a Jersey steer calf. I was hoping to milk the Dexter but when we got her last spring she was not tame and very protective of her calf and we were total novices. Now she is a sweetheart and lets me handle her with no concerns. She still nurses both her calf and the Jersey steer occasionally -tho he is as most as big as she is - so I am sure she will have enough milk to share with us next time.

Our Dexters are polled but the Jersey has horns. He is very gentle and friendly, but doesn't have clue how dangerous those things can be. It is quite scary when he gets into a frisky mood and comes playfully running and leaping around you with his head swinging to and fro! Maybe cows would not act so crazy as steers, but we are considering selling him sooner rather than later just for safety sake.