Dottie is looking really skinny

Home jersey milk cow
Dottie, when she was only normally skinny. Not super skinny.

So I mentioned before that we had changed the way we were milking Dottie, switching to the sequestration at night method to assure we received our full allotment of milk each morning. This was because the calf was getting up and milking Dottie even earlier than we were and getting all of our milk. Now we are getting 1 and 1/2 to 2 gallons per day, and of course a hungry little calf is getting her share no matter what the rest of the day which means Dottie is now having to produce an extra gallon and 1/2 per day over what she was producing before.

Today we noted that Dottie is looking thin. Like supermodel thin. Dottie has never been the first cow with her head in the food because she just can’t push the big beef cows around so she has to work for what she gets. We supplement her with grain, the only cow here that gets grain, but it looks like it’s not enough. We’re going to give Dottie a morning off and a chance to eat all she wants today and see if her body condition recovers. If so, great. If not, we may have to look at some sort of supplement for when she is in the stall just to help her recover some body condition. Milk cows don’t tend to recover body condition while they are milking, converting all the extra energy into more milk production instead so it’s better to keep condition than it is to try to recover it.

Dottie also seemed to be tender on her belly today. There was an area that had an unusual shape. It was hard to tell if it was really distended or if her low body condition made something normal look like a bulge. We’ll keep an eye on her the next few days and make sure she looks healthy. The advantage of keeping the calf is we can simply not milk a day or two and let the calf keep her milking, reducing the load but not introducing mastitis or another problem. The disadvantage is you get used to having lots of milk really quickly. Slowing back down on milk is no bueno but her health comes first.

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