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Jane Update

September 25, 2014

Seven weeks in and the milking routine is just that, a routine.

Corn monitor

Corn monitor

Jane is giving about 7.5 gallons of milk a day, which seems like a lot, but we find a good use for all of it.  She bumped up to 8 gallons for a bit and now is dropping down a bit with the grass waning.  I expect her to come into season any time in the next few days.  It will be her third heat since she calved.  The artificial inseminator checked her last time and suggested waiting.  Breeding at 35 days is possible, but probably not the best for her.  I have to weigh my wants (earlier calving) with her needs (health) so maybe this time…

Wake up call

Wake up call

She’s feeding these two, or rather we’re feeding them via nipple bucket.  I’m fudging on them a bit and feeding them skim milk for lunch, but morning and night they get milk warm from the cow.  They get first crack at four gallons a day, and the rest goes to the house for butter making, after I get the cream they get their lunch milk out of that.  So the calves are basically getting 6 gallons per day, not top notch with the skim thrown in, but they are doing good.  Beyond that, I make chicken cheese for the hens, and fertilize the garden and orchard with the whey.  Not a drop goes to waste between calves, kitties, dogs, chickens, humans and the garden.

The morning starts out by catching these two and tying them up.

See my botched dehorning job?

See my botched dehorning job?

After the calves are corralled I fetch Jane from the pasture.  She stays out, and the calves stay in at night.

After milking and feeding, the calves go out to pasture for the day.

They are growing fast.  It’s sometimes surprising to see how big they are.


I put Jane’s supplemental hay outside and take her back to the pasture.

Rumen fill - always on the left side

Rumen fill – always on the left side

I had the camera so I documented her condition for her records.

Checking her backbone for boniness.

Right side

Right side

Here I’m looking for fat cover on her short ribs and shoulders.  She’s lost some weight since calving, but that is normal in the first three months, after that time if she doesn’t put on weight, I’ll need to up her feed intake.



Jane's tack.  Homemade halter, lead rope and a persuasion stick

Jane’s tack. Homemade halter, lead rope and a persuasion stick

Halters, lead ropes, put away and the milk goes to the house.  Yesterday with the geese flying south overhead at a furious clip I decided to start my fall milking schedule and go for afternoon milking instead of evening.  In the afternoon this whole procedure repeats in reverse order.

Flying south

Flying south


18 Comments leave one →
  1. September 25, 2014 3:18 pm

    What are they doing flying south so early..

    That is a good amount of milk for a jersey (or is she a guernsey?) so sorry not to remember, well done jane.. c

    • September 25, 2014 4:02 pm

      That’s what I want to know…flocks and flocks for the last three days and flying pretty high too.

      She’s a Guernsey, so a little larger than a Jersey. I told her about Daisy 😦 And gave her an extra hug.

      • September 25, 2014 4:16 pm

        i am thinking of getting a guernsey, there is a lady out here who breeds them, but we will see, i need to gather some heart first. c

        • September 25, 2014 7:37 pm

          Celi, yes you do, that’s a tough one. They break our hearts 😦

        • Bee permalink
          September 26, 2014 7:29 am

          Cecelia, I take it you lost Daisy. So sorry to hear that, I know how attached we can get to our house cows. I nursed Maybelle through some tough illnesses last year but was lucky. My heart goes out to you!

  2. Emily Summer permalink
    September 25, 2014 6:46 pm

    Geese are flying south here, too. Sandhill Cranes are gearing up to fly, too. Beautiful calves you have. I am sorry for Daisy, too.

  3. CassieOz permalink
    September 25, 2014 8:29 pm

    I’m a sucker for any of your titles with ‘Jane’ in them. I had trouble with stopping calves from bunting the nipple bucket off the gate it was attached to, and covering the world with spilled milk so thankfully no bucket calves recently. My last bucket calf (orphan Charolais heifer) is due to calve herself in the next week. My how they grow.

    • September 26, 2014 4:55 am

      Cassie, yes, they are devils for sure, we have one bucket with a hanger and one without. I need to find that bracket…so we can hang them both. Milk bath is a given sometimes for sure with bucket calves. I hope you post a pic of your new baby on the forum 🙂

  4. September 25, 2014 10:26 pm

    What do you pay for AI? I’m curious as we are thinking about beef. I had heard they were pricey…

    • September 26, 2014 4:51 am

      Adalyn, it’s fairly inexpensive, I usually have a trip charge – $25 + semen, which depends on which bull you’re using, some is inexpensive, some more. It rapidly gets expensive if the timing is off or the cow has other problems you don’t know about. Some cows are hard to settle with AI, and need live cover to get bred. There should be a representative of the AI companies in your area, and they advertise in the Capital Press.

  5. September 26, 2014 10:37 am

    YOur Blog is so well done. I enjoy it not only for the information and the photos, but for the literary content. Thank you so very much for sharing your knowlege in such a delightful way.

  6. Bev permalink
    September 27, 2014 6:13 am

    Jane is so beautiful. Always love looking at her and her wonderful look shows in all you do for her. She is a golden girl and gives your family so much back. Love hearing and seeing the geese fly over. It really marks the start of fall.
    The best, is that we got rain! An abundant rain. Smoke gone and the grass is turning green.

  7. Bee permalink
    September 28, 2014 9:02 am

    The pictures of Jane are so helpful for comparison purposes. I was feeling anxious that Maybelle was too thin, but now that I compare her to Jane I feel much better about her condition, especially since she isn’t producing nearly as much milk. I don’t know what I’d do with a cow like Jane that gives seven gallons a day!

    • September 28, 2014 9:18 am

      I would like Jane to have more weight on her, but she’s doing fantastic this year otherwise.

  8. September 29, 2014 9:54 am

    Enjoy your blog. Please tell me about chicken cheese!

    • September 29, 2014 12:32 pm

      Certainly! It’s really just ricotta, heated milk, acid of the some sort ( I use vinegar) about 1/3 to 1/2 cup per gallon, stir and wait until the curd forms. I drain off the whey for the garden and feed the cheese to the hens. Much easier than clabbering milk and having containers of souring milk all over house.

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