Milking update

Today Dottie was waiting for us at the fence wanting to be milked. That’s about as good as it gets. Day four and she is in the routine. We got a little less than 2 gallons of milk today which is still in line with her expected production considering all the factors like stage of lactation and season, etc.

Above you see the milk mobile. This is the Goldbergs golf cart that they bring every day rain or shine for morning milking. They debated taking the golf bag holders off originally but they worked out perfectly to hold the milk buckets every day. Plus they occasionally hold a child or two for a ride around the farm.

Today we began a new milk distribution system where instead of splitting each days milk, one family takes the milk one day, the other takes it the next day. So today we got the whole two gallons plus the gallons we already have in the fridge.

Looks like its time for yogurt and butter at the Ninja house.

Milking, day 3

Dottie, post milking and returned to the pasture. The black cow in the black of pre-dawn is challenging for a picture. This was the best of the lot.

Dottie was fantastic again today, meeting is in the pasture ready to milk and allowing herself to be halter led from pasture a all the way to the milking stanchion. She still balks at entering the stanchion but that will pass quickly as she learns it’s where the food and milking happen.

We got about 2 gallons of milk this morning so all in all things are progressing very nicely.

The inmates were both here this morning and are moving the cows to a new paddock and setting up the weeks paddocks. We still have a lot of logging to do and hopefully we will get some extra time this week to get a few more trees ready to send to the mill.

Milking, day 2. And a new name.

20131216-072426.jpgToday we had our second day of milking the new cow. Unlike yesterday where she was in the barn, this morning we had her out in the pasture with the other cows. You never know how that’s going to go but she came right up to is and was very interested in the food bucket. After a few munches I was able to walk her by halter to the milk parlor where she only balked for a few seconds before going in to be milked. 2 1/2 gallons of sweet Jersey milk later and she was done.

Pictured here you see Spork out this morning at 6am. He is part of the morning crew but what made this even more impressive is that he and a bunch of of the rest of us went out to see The Hobbit last night and didn’t get to bed till after 11pm. Not a complaint from the boy this morning. He jumped right on his chores. The girls, not so much.

So we made an executive decision this morning and the new milk cow will be named Dottie. I don’t know if we need to have a renaming ceremony like you do with a boat. After the issues we had with Maggie, I think its sounding like a better and better idea.

A new cow

Today we had our first milking from our new milk cow. Despite the black coat, she is another Jersey. Here you can see the last milking being done at the previous owners place. This is the same guy, Mike, who we bought Maggie from. This was his last milk cow and as you can see by his 5 year old son sitting atop her, she is another gentle cow.

Here is another shot of her previous situation. She was a little fussy over the new people being involved but overall she seems to be a good cow.

Luckily Mike is just down the road on Penny Road so it was only a 15 minute ride home for our new cow. She is already bred back to an Angus so she shouldn’t get too much attention from Benjamin. Plus she has been bull bred rather than AI so she more used to a bulls attention. She is 3 years old so hopefully we should have many years together Lord willing.

This morning milking in our milking parlor. Just a few minutes work and she went right into the gate. All things considered milking went well and the reports on the milk quality range from “Fantastic!” to “Mmm that’s like drinking ice cream.”

We have yet to name this cow. I have heard a few suggestions go by, Dottie and Dolly being two suggestions. We’ll have to have a quorum and decide on a final name. I actually like Dottie of the suggestions so far. I am sure that there will be a name soon.

Well that’s better

Scratch what I said yesterday. Here is todays haul and that was pretty much from one side. The calf had emptied the other side of Spunkys bag so this was a half load. I think the calf is an early riser and that’s why we are getting such different amounts. It depends on how far he has made it around when we get to her. That’s a solvable problem as we can isolate her from her calf at night like we used to so she has a full bag in the morning or we can graft the calf onto another cow and get all her milk. Either way she is producing all we need and we can get more should we choose. All is well again on the farm.

Btw, that’s Spork doing the work to get the bottles labeled and into the fridge.

Milking woes

We are getting all the milk we need from Spunky each day. However we are not getting all the milk she is producing. She’s holding back for her calf seemingly a little more each day. We like to keep the calf on her because it’s better for the calf, we don’t need all the milk, and this gives us an option if we cannot milk one day.

It does create this holding back problem though. I am milking the next few days by myself so it looks like it may be time for experimenting to see if I can increase the yield. I will keep you in the loop to see if there are any major break throughs.

After school detention

Today Spunky gave us a half gallon of milk again. She is holding back for her calf and giving us the minimum for being able to scarf up all the grain she can eat. She then is bolting out of the barn and back to her calf. So this morning she is serving some detention in the milking parlor till she calms down and learns to stand patiently. When she is patient she gets some more food. When she is impatient, she gets to wait. This is something we didn’t do with her last cycle and she came from a dairy where the cows were handled relatively rough. It takes time and I wasn’t prepared last time to do this bit I think its time to break bad habits.

Here you can see Spunky serving detention. She’s not terribly pleased but she is getting the idea.

Better get that vitamin C

Its funny the things that different animals will and will not eat. You would think the pigs would love oranges however you would be wrong. The pigs won’t touch them, even if you cut them open so they get straight to the citrusy goodness. Maybe if I squeezed all the juice and added a bit of vodka and a paper umbrella, maybe. I’m not convinced.

So what to do when you have 75 pounds of oranges? Why give them to the cows of course. Cows LOVE oranges and eat them rind and all. I’ve yet to get orange milk from Spunky but there is always tomorrow.

Speaking of Spunky, it looks like she is in heat and Benjamin was already putting the moves on her this morning. I was wondering where the Barry a White music was coming from. Now I know. May as well start the countdown till the next calf because I have no doubt that Benjamin will be shooting straight. This will cost us some milk production of course but that’s ok. We aren’t in the production business when it comes to milk.

Frosty morning

The cows in their new frosty paddock. They have one paddock left before they go into the pond for a day.

Today was the best day yet for a Spunky. We walked out to get her and she was already up and nursing. I wasn’t too pleased because the calf gets the rest of the day to nurse, we only get that mornings milking. However we were able to get Spunky out of the paddock and heading towards the barn before the other cows had even reached the wire. This let us have Spunky to the barn without moving the cows into their new paddock. This keeps Spunky from being conflicted because she wants to be in the new paddock but also she wants to go milk. Today she was able to do both as we held the beef cows in the old paddock till Spunky got back. A few more weeks and this will go like clockwork.

So back to the calf nursing. Today we got 2 full gallons of milk which is what Spunky was giving before we dried her off. Based on the milk mustache I know the Ninja calf got some too. We are still 60 days away from her maximum production so I feel good that we will get back in the swing of things and be making cheese and butter soon.

Bringing Spunky to the barn

This is the last few feet of 300 yards of walking. Spunky is following the yellow bucket and the food therein. At this point she’s just following as she’s not really eating that much on the walk. There are two ways to move a cow. The exciting way and the easy way. Having the cow willingly follow you is definitely the easy way. The first few days weren’t like this so it sure its nice when things work the easy way.