Tuesday, September 23, 2008

cows i milk

i just came in from milking. it is taking about an hour and a half morning and night. and i have a machine! part of that is the set-up, but most of it is dealing with Nimue's massive udder. she frustrates me. i love her so much , it's ridiculous. i can't imagine parting with her, but the truth is she would make a better nurse cow than she does a milker.

we bought Nimue at a sale, an auction. she was an unproven heifer that was bred already, obviously too early. she was a huge risk. we have been through so much with her since then. Nimue contracted Bluetongue disease last summer and almost died. against all odds, she just gave birth to her third calf and his name is Phoenix.

From New Album 9/21/08 7:37 AM

i am having a lot of trouble getting her empty. part of it is the new swelling and edema of calving. part is that she has a very hard-to-milk udder. what may be the real problem is Phoenix is still by her side, and she is holding up for him even though there is no way he could ever drink it all. last night when i poured her milk, i had over 3 gallons, from one milking, and i didnt even get her empty. i do that twice a day. then i took her down to the other calf, Jocelyn, and had her work on getting some milk out. she was amiable, Nim was not happy. I did this again this morning and left Phoenix with the other calf. perhaps when i go out midday today Nimue will feel more willing to let them nurse, having been parted all day. this sounds so cruel, but i need to ensure Nimue's health. mastitis is a real threat and she has ended up with it each time she has freshened. not this time!

Rori is our other cow. we bought her earlier this year from a friend. she is an entirely different creature.

From New Album 9/12/08 9:18 AM

she is a registered jersey with good parentage. she is a joy to milk, by hand or machine. she is tall and has a beautiful udder (we could only afford her because she has a blind quarter). she is also very friendly, just like Nimue. you can sit by her side while she lays down and chews her cud. her calf this year, her second calf but her first with us, is named Jocelyn.

From New Album 9/13/08 10:10 AM

milking Rori is going great. Jocelyn is separated and fed warm milk after milking. we will register her and keep her as a milker.

my refrigerator is full of milk- at least 15 gallons. and i am not even bringing Nim's milk in the house yet. Rori gives about 4 gallons a day, and i feed one gallon to Jocelyn. Nimue may give as much as 8 gallons but i am really hoping she will taper off some. i dont know how feasible it would be, but i am also considering feeding both calves on her twice a day after milking, instead of bucket feeding. Nimue may be too much of a pain to deal with if she won't let down for me, waiting for the calves.

we have two piglets coming in 3 weeks. they will help with the milk, too.

i love milking my cows. when i am not milking, i get depressed. i especially enjoy handmilking Rori. machine milking is loud and not very peaceful. i am looking forward to settling in and streamlining the milking. if it could take less than an hour (morning and night) i would be happy.
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