Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Aunt Abbey's New Adopted Calf

For those of you following the saga of Aunt Abbey, our family milk cow, here is the latest.
Abbey has already raised 3 calves. One of her own and 2 foster calves. The last one was taken to the sale barn 2 weeks ago (sorry, folks, this is the fate of most dairy bull calves...) at the age of about 5 months. He'll go onto someone's pasture for the next 5 months and then...well, no need to go into details.
Of course, when we removed the calf, Abbey's udder continued to produce milk - LOTS of it - and I just couldn't let it go to waste. BUT what do we do with a couple extra gallons of milk every day???? You're getting ahead of me...
After a week of milking, straining milk, freezing milk, separating cream, making butter, giving away milk, and drinking LOTS of milk, we decided to let Aunt Abbey raise one more calf. Her own baby isn't due until August, and typically most milk cows are allowed to "rest" a month before they give birth. But July is 4 1/2 months away - PLENTY of time to raise one more!
So last Monday, I hooked up the trailer and off to the sale barn I trooped. I was in for a shock. Five months ago little heifer calves were selling for less than $50, and there were usually plenty to choose from. Monday, there were 4 holstein heifers and 2 Jersey-cross heifers - all went for over $125 and I paid $185 for "Sister Sofie". I suspect she was more than a day old (probably a week) because her umbilical was gone and she looked pretty lively.
After a week of lightly restraining Abbey so she wouldn't kick Sofie, the bonding happened and now we are a bovine family of 2 again. I plan to keep this calf to milk and hopefully get her on a separate calving cycle from her Aunt Abbey. The gentling process has already begun and she loves being scratched.
Stay tuned...
It was wet and rainy of of the first 5 days we had her, so she was confined in the barn. The above movie is her first taste of freedom! Ye ha!

Isaiah 49:23
Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.

1 comment:

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I thought I'd left a comment on this post. Anyway, I love the life on the farm stories and how things work.