Gansey Heart Woman
I can’t believe how fast Jane has grown, she is closing in on 9 months of age. And I really can’t believe how patient I have become, waiting for her to grow up is an exercise in fortitude. This has to be the longest I have went in my adult life without milking a cow 😦 But with the daily training of Jane I am getting my milk cow fix. It will have to do. She won’t be trained like a mustang in 3 days, because I like working with her every day. Plus I am getting a little long in the tooth for too much rodeoing. The more she knows now, will be that much less I have to deal with when she freshens, the time which is always fraught with anxiety on both sides of the deal. Or at least it is with me. I am always glad when the first 3 weeks after calving has passed, and the routine is set in stone.
She is on her last bag of milk replacer, and I am glad of that. A bottle calf is a bottle calf no matter how sweet they are. I am her surrogate mama and she will forever think of me like that. So these days I am making a flight zone with a good-sized limb when walking in the pasture, light enough to carry, and long enough to keep her about two feet from me, if she is on my heels. Our daily routine now consists of Jane on pasture all day, and stabled at night. This gives me a chance to handle her twice a day and refine her manners and to gauge how much she is eating. Her diet now consists of full-time pasture during the daylight hours, 1 gallon of milk replacer in the morning, and about 25 pounds of hay & 1 pound of grain during the night.
Another big milestone has been reached too – cervical mucous signaling she is going to start coming into season on a regular basis.
Mornings are a little more relaxed and there is time for cow “lessons.” Being tied while her stall is cleaned, being brushed, and mainly handling to the point of boredom. Generally just getting her used to the morning din, and to help her feel safe in her stall surroundings, because her calf will be in her stall waiting for her someday. It’s helpful if she thinks her stall is a safe depository for her baby. Dogs are a no-no during calving and the first week, but can be slowly reintroduced into the chore routine when the hormones die down a little. It’s not funny when dogs hide behind you when the cow is looking to kill them for looking at her calf! Instinct kicks in and the normal, quiet dog/cow relationship becomes predator/prey in a heartbeat.