The Skinny on Jane
ane is on the mend. Her tests came back with a trace of Staph a, which depending on who you ask, is a death sentence for the cow or it’s not a big deal. Ask ten questions, you get ten different answers. I’m going with the not too big of deal answer… . Jane is a family cow, so loss of production in a high producing cow isn’t a reason to send her to the sale barn or rail. Sale barn, rail you ask? Yes, culling means death, not just selling her on Craigslist to some unsuspecting person looking for a family cow. Staph a is a common cause of sub-clinical mastitis in dairy cows, and hard to treat. My research is leading me to believe dry cow treatment will be the best bet. This strain cultured sensitive to all antibiotics available for my use, and this may be the route I take. I
may will change my mind one hundred times between now and then, and for sure I will be watching her like a hawk and possibly pre-milking the next go round.
In the meantime I need to boost her immunity and help her keep the infection at bay. Staph is notoriously hard to treat and is common everywhere. Since Jane was a formula baby, I am going to lay some store in that, in addition she just isn’t the most aggressive, stand up for herself cow either. Timid is, is timid does. Weak means weak, and how the body interprets that may come out in dis – ease. Of course, that’s just my simple interpretation of how the world works. It doesn’t matter really, though since Jane is our cow, and we are drinking her milk and not selling it, it’s a matter of personal choices we have made along the way and now we are living with them.
It’s been nice to settle back into a twice a day milking regime. At first I milked four times a day with a few extra stripping sessions on the affected quarter while Jane was in the pasture. However, the milkmaid needs to be coherent to take care of the cow and I ratcheted down to three times a day and then finally two, once her calving edema subsided and her milk was clear. Finally some rest for the wicked! In addition to the extra milkings I swapped homeopathic remedies, some worked and some didn’t, and finally received the Granddaddy of mastitis homeopathy, MASTOBLAST™ in the mail. The good thing about using homeopathy in animal treatment is that they can’t block the effects by not believing. It either works or doesn’t, and if it doesn’t work it doesn’t matter. It sure does give you some crazy dreams though Jane hasn’t shared what her dreams have been like lately but probably some big handsome Simmental or Charolais dude sauntering into the paddock… .
Blake got her nose dew at about day eight, that means her rumen is starting to develop and she’s got cud. Now she can spread her cow culture where she grazes too, just like her mama.
My biggest concern is keeping Jane in good flesh through her peak. The next two and a half months are going to be a trial for sure. She’s giving about six gallons per day. I’m taking four gallons to the house, and Blake is getting at least two. My wish is to keep her at 6 gallons a day, and keep her weight up. If she drops in production a little that will be fine with me. Comparing these three photos from the 14th and the 17th show me she is dropping a little weight. She’s on pasture except at milking and gets 2 1/2 pounds of grain at milking. I need to up my game in the pasture arena for sure. She will not be an easy keeper like her mama. Grass for condition, grain for milk. All this goes for keeping her in good shape to alleviate more mastitis flare-ups too. The simplest part of having a family cow is the actual milking – the rest is the hard part.