Man, I forgot how hard it is the first week of milking a new cow! While both Betsy and Bernie are gentle and well behaved, they have been a handful, quite literally. Betsy, who apparently wears a halter only as adornment, isn’t quite up to being led anywhere, by anyone. So far our milking team has consisted of three people. One pulling, one pushing, and one handling Bernie. With three people working, sweating, swearing, and occasionally laughing, we’ve been able to get her into the milking parlor each day so far. The score so far is:
Betsy pooped on my arm. +1 Pooped on Erin’s shoulder. +1 Peed on Erin. +1 That’s three for Betsy.
We’ve milked her twice. That’s two for us.
Yep, so far, the cow is winning although I’m not sure that pee should count for a full point. Seems unfair to me but I didn’t make the rules.
Bernie has made a point of staying close to mom through all of this, as you would expect. In fact, the only way we’ve really moved Betsy any distance is to use Bernie as bait.
When it came time to put Betsy and Bernie outside for the day, Betsy, who didn’t want to be in the barn, was quite certain that she didn’t want to be outside the barn. I was the one holding the halter and Bernie was scampering about having fun, as kids will. Every time Bernie ran behind something, Betsy became agitated. That means that she went from four legs pulling against me, to suddenly running forward to catch sight of Bernie. Since Betsy came equipped with horns, the immediate issue is getting a face full of horns attached to 1000 pounds of cow who is suddenly in a hurry. So far I’ve managed not to get gored but it is exciting, to say the least.
So once we finally drug Betsy to the temporary paddock, via the bait pictured above, we found that in addition to not being halter trained, she also isn’t hot wire trained. Within about 20 seconds she was out of the paddock, Bernie had also ducked into the paddock with the main herd and mom was quite upset. The entire herd was chasing the new calf around and causing quite a ruckus. Oh, and Mr. Dan. Your customer is here. For about 20 minutes it looked a lot like this.
Luckily Miguel arrived and with Erin, Vicente, Miguel, and Lucy everyone got back where they were supposed to be while I gave a tour to a nice family who was quite keen to see the hilarity of a farm running off the rails while I was trying to distract them.
The next morning, Betsy was just as keen to milk as before, which was not at all. It takes about a week of successful milking before it becomes a habit. Since we really haven’t had a fully successful day yet, the clock hasn’t really started. We’re getting milk, but we aren’t getting her happy in the milking parlor yet. Today I’m going to get some different feed as she doesn’t like ours. Hopefully that will entice her.
Ahh, new milk cows. How quickly you forget all the fun.