Friday, 12 February 2010

A Dry Cow

Nosey Honey

We stopped milking Lucy in mid-January and so Honey was weaned at almost five months old. At first she was a little sad to not have milk from Lucy, but overall she has been fine, and her condition certainly hasn't dropped at all.

Toward the end of Lucy feeding Honey
(she still had to be tied up to feed her, being an adopted calf)

Lucy coped well with the drying off as we did it quite gradually - from one feed a day, taking less each time during the last week. I checked her udder daily to be sure it wasn't too full, hard or hot. It took about two weeks for the udder to look quite empty and dry.

Lucy got too fat for our old milking shed door!

Lucy missed my company and waited at the fence each afternoon for some food and attention. I visit her almost daily for a scratch and to check her condition and handle her.

We cut the protein from her diet for the time that she was drying off, and she's now eating pasture and a little lucerne hay, with some copra and hemp meal mixed with supplements from time to time. She likes "salad" from the garden - arrowroot, comfrey, spent cabbages and lettuces etc. And she loves the corn stalks after we pick the cobs. They nibble pigeon pea most days now, keeping the bottom half of each bush nicely pruned.

Here's Lily (7) with Lucy and Honey recently - they're hardly diffeent in height! See they have no halters or ropes now. And little Honey's horns are growing.

Lucy's calf should be a wagyu cross (1/2 jersey, 1/2 wagyu), so should be small and dark and cute! Of course all calves are cute. It is due around March 22nd. Stay tuned!

PS - The Family Cow is a good book, recommended reading for anyone who wants to know about keeping a house cow.

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