Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Buttercup and Fawn: Update
Buttercup is doing well and is a great mama, if maybe a little too concerned about her calf all the time. Fawn is already running and frisking all over the place and is so darn cute! Whenever he takes off running Buttercup lets out an unhappy mooooo and runs after him, which is hilarious. Then when she catches up to him she gives him a lick and a moo as if to say "kid your going to poke your eye out doing that!"
Milking has definitely been an adventure! I thought I had it down since I had milked goats before but a cow is ALLOT different. First off you have to squeeze harder to get the milk out. Ouch! Also you must milk much much longer to empty her bag. So here's how it went so far.
First milking: My hands felt like they were involved in some sort of ingenious torture and buttercup kept moving because her baby moved around. It took an hour of milking to get her close to empty and the milk had muck in it from her moving so much. At least she didn't kick.
Second milking: This time we put fawn on a lead to keep him near mom. But the place we put him was too close so that when he laid down he was right under her which is dangerous because she might step on him. I got about 3/4 of a gallon of straight colostrum, and although my hands did a little better they were swollen and sore all night.
Third milking: We have fixed the stanchion better this time but fawn kept moving and that made buttercup move because she is very protective of him. It took me 45 min to milk her out with lots of stopping and starting. 3/4 of a gallon again.
Fourth Milking: My hands are getting better but this time buttercup was highly irritated for some reason. Fawn is slowly learning to walk on the rope but still pulls. It took another 45 min to milk her out and was very frustrating with all the stopping and starting. But really for how long that is she is pretty patient. She doesn't kick, just moves her feet around.
Now we are getting it down to a science. Eldest daughter keeps Fawn up by moms head so she can see him and he is finally settling down to the idea. We give her a little sweet grain and pure alfalfa so she isn't board. This milking went really well my hands are getting stronger and don't tire so fast. Buttercup hardly moved at all and it took me about 30 min to milk her out. So far we are getting 2 and 1/2 gallons per day plus she's nursing a really really big calf. So you figure he's getting at least another 1/2 gallon or more per day. We will be able to start using the milk from her in two days, right now it's mostly colostrum (Yuck!). I froze a good amount of it for calf emergencies and am now giving the rest to the chickens and rabbits. Waste not want not!
Oh and I've lost 2 pounds since I started milking! Maybe I could turn this into a diet and write a book. I'll title it The Milk Cow Diet Plan. Loose weight and give your family healthy food!