hh, the search for meaningful blog posts has been answered. Chris wanted to know about Jane being by herself, and I was meaning to get back to that comment because it struck me as a good question and an even better subject for a blog post.
Here is her question:
I think I asked once if Jane liked hanging out with the other cows or is she pretty much just a mama’s girl?
Well the easy answer is that Jane is a mama’s girl for sure. With a house cow you really form a bond, and especially when they are so sweet like Jane. But the other side of that is that being the house cow comes with certain responsibilities and being the milkmaid carries several responsibilities as well. She needs to produce milk, and I need to keep her happy and well fed, but also need to keep her close so I can keep the home fires burning (literally) as well, along with all those other pesky chores like gardening and cooking.
So mean ol’ cow mama here, Jane does not get to hang out with the other cows winter or summer because I need her in close proximity all year, and two, which is the biggest, she doesn’t know them. I could put them together, let them fight it out and then take her away twice a day, but in the cow way, even though they would possibly beat her up, once they got done with that they would all be crying when it was time to remove her from the herd twice a day. Cattle are herd animals. And they are very astute, they know she is getting special feed and they want a piece of the action. So, to save my salvation (and fencing) I need to act as Jane’s herd-mate. Our little “herd” consists of Jane, Willy, Blake and Ruthless and I. We talk the same talk, and are on the same schedule. Think of it as your group of co-workers, your work “family” if you will. The beef herd already is a family complete with grandparents, teenagers and babies. Jane is a distant cousin that you may want to see at a family reunion, maybe.
Jane learned the ropes of cowdom when she was a baby as I detailed here. These days Ty and Susie are both gone, and now that Jane is all grown up she shares a fenceline with her weaned calf Blake, and the saddle horse Willy. They are close but no monkey business is allowed. It’s amazing what one little strand of wire can accomplish. The hotwire keeps everyone on their best behavior and still in close enough proximity for some socialization.
So for my part of the herd I act as a cow friend would, and the easiest way to do that is to groom her. It’s not rocket science really, it’s actually just reinforcing what I learned as child in 4-H. Of course, you groom your stock for the fair, but grooming enables you to befriend them, and as I have learned as an adult, brushing can open up energy meridians in much the same way as acupuncture. So in the evenings after I’m done with the milking chores, I brush Jane, and she pretends to listen to my endless chatter much like a you listen to the hairdresser when you’re in the beauty shop. If Jane was part of a cowherd she would be getting groomed by her herd-mates, but because I need to keep her separate I need to step up and fill that void.
I can’t begin to say if she misses something she has never really known, but I suspect because she is so in tuned to us, that we are her herd.