OCD, OAD, OMG!
n OCD cow mama can be a recipe for disaster. I’m the OCD cow mama, not Jane, she’s the cool, calm and collected one. Blake is now 7 months old, and for a month Jane has been “telling” me she wants to wean Blake. However, Blake is my relief milker, so I need her. Jane is a funny girl, to express her displeasure about Blake, she will throw her head in the air and jump away when I touch her to signal that she move over to allow Blake to nurse. Roar Jane, you’re kind of cute when you’re mad. I have shown Jane the almanac page that says you can’t wean when the signs are too high, they should be in the legs or lower, not in the heart or breast. Do you know your baby will cry all night, even though she is hardly a baby anymore? No dice.
I let the beef cows wean their calves, with the belief that if I keep heifers that weren’t weaned by their mothers, that I am moving my cow herd towards cows that need to have their calves weaned. In theory that is mostly true, but Jane couldn’t be further from any natural in-the-wild cow. Her dad showed up here in a straw, her mom died a week after she was born, yet Jane still knows what to do. She is trying to wean her calf before she weans me, I just need to pay attention to Jane’s signals.
This is a good time to start the drying off process for Jane. I can accelerate the process by going to once-a-day (OAD) milking and lessening the demand on her body. I am not selling milk, so no need to push for the dollar, Blake is eating well and should consider herself lucky to be getting milk at all at her age. Most beef farms automatically wean at 6 months and it’s usually earlier on a dairy (large or small) or you’re veal!
Jane’s condition is okay. Nice full rumen, but I’d like to see more back fat and less short ribs showing, but she’s maintaining and her coat looks pretty good, lying flat and still some dapples visible.
Jane didn’t get to nurse like her mama, so if and when I can raise a replacement for Jane, I hope that generation will be taking me back to a dairy cow that holds condition like Della did.
We’re on night two of Blake’s weaning and everyone is slipping into the routine quite quickly, despite the moon being almost full and possibly wrong for weaning. I haven’t changed much in my routine, except not bringing Blake and Jane into the milking area at night. I feed them both and do nothing to stimulate letdown in Jane. She was fine this morning, Blake was a little more eager than usual and decided it would be better to just behave and let herself be led to the barn without any shenanigans.
Jane is due the first week of June, so my plan is to dry her off in early March. Which is very nice, the nightmare of drying off a cow when the grass is lush is not anything I want to deal with anymore. Just another reason to have a seasonal milk cow. Much easier for everyone involved. And I am liking the not milking at night! That’s the OMG!