Last week we got a new cow. (Well, she’s not ours, really — she’s on loan from a friend in exchange for milk — and she’s a heifer, not a cow. But those two minor details aside, my opening statement is one hundred percent true.)
you can’t see her in the photo for all the people admiring her
Her name is Honey and she’s due the end of this month or the beginning of April. I’m not exactly sure what breed she is — a cross between Jersey and maybe Holstein and/or Normande? — and she’s super sweet.
Or at least she’s sweet with humans. With the other cows, she’s pretty much a holy terror, charging them with her horns and chasing them away from the food. It was so bad, in fact, that we got a little worried that Emma’s milk production would drop and wondered if we might have to feed them separately, but things are stabilizing now — i.e. Honey’s learning to share. She’s still somewhat territorial and stabby, but less so.
We’ve been trying to spend time with her, getting a halter on her and coaxing her into the milking shed, turning on and off the vacuum pump (for the milker) so she gets used to it, etc.
She doesn’t like grain, but she’s a voracious hay-eater and goes nuts for alfalfa, so we bought her a few bales of that.
thanks for the present, girlfriend
I thought she’d be delivering in April, but she’s looking close: swollen and hard udder, bits of mucus, leaking teats. I spent a lot of time yesterday staring out the window: Why is she stretched out like that? Is she straining? Is her back arched? Has she stopped eating?
I ran down to the field several times, too, to poke her udder, check her pins (the ligament between the pin bone and the tail bone that turns jello-y before birth), and give her lots of good brush-downs and neck scratches. Pro tip: always scratch a cow’s neck( instead of the top of the head) so they’re less likely to headbutt for attention.
checking the pins: they’re beginning to soften
At one point, the kids joined me in the field, and my older son taught my younger son how to ride motorcycle. There was lots of “Watch out for the poop!”
And then Honey got frisky from all the excitement and tossed her head at me, goring my boob with her horn. It was just a light poke but that was enough to make me turn tail and head back to the house, thank you very much.
P.S. Is anyone else getting a kick out of today’s date? Three-twenty-three-twenty-three, wheee!