Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Good Bye, River

My brave, beautiful girl said goodbye to River yesterday. She knew all along this day would come, but when the calf was born it was love at first sight. This was harder than we expected, but absolutely the best thing to do in our situation.

Our cow Jocelyn is daughter of a cow we once owned named Rori. Joss was born here two years ago- the kids watched! Now our hopes have come full circle with the birth of another heifer, but this one is not for us. The same friend we bought River's grand-dam Rori from bought River, picked her up yesterday, and will be fostering her onto a mama Jersey that lost her own twin calves this year.

Kassi really wanted to keep River. I admit I did, too. There will be more calves, and chances are half of them will be female. In a couple of years, when Kassi is old enough, we will probably keep a heifer for her to raise.

The brunt of the pain is on Jocelyn, River's mother. I will not deny that my heart is torn up by it. Karl picked up the 2 day old calf and walked away with it, and to Joss it simply disappeared. I was expecting a rough night for Jocelyn. This is not the first time we have separated calves. Anyone can tell you how noisy and hard it can be on mother cows- they hold up milk, they bellow sometimes until they lose their voices, the pace and run and look everywhere. Then, on the third day, it all stops. They give up, and go back to quiet rumination.

We kept Jocelyn in her stable last night to minimize the risk to her person as she did all those things. But she didn't do any of them. A quiet moo here, a look out of the stable as we approached. But no bellow, no stomp, and more amazingly no milk withheld this morning.

I am waiting for it to begin any minute, but milking this morning went well and she walked back to her stable quietly to eat and rest.
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