Saturday, December 6, 2008

Baby Watch ~

Our wonderful milk cow, Jan, is expecting and the technical due date according to our gestation calendar is tomorrow, 12/7. Needless to say, we are very excited. The poor girl is enormously big, waddles like a, well, pregnant cow and is the most loving creature here on the farm. She has been nesting for a week now and I was sure I would find a calf when I went to the barn yesterday morning but it wasn't meant to be.

"rear view"

She started bagging up a few days ago and you can see that the calf has settled lower as well. She is very loose at the tailhead and wants to love up on everything she can get close to. She's always been very affectionate but this week she's even worse :) Of course, we are going to get a darling little heifer calf as we specifically ordered a heifer and you always get what you order correct?! I would love another heifer just like little Hope that she gaves us last December but I wouldn't be disappointed with a bull. I'm thinking that raising a bull would be a good idea. I know he couldn't breed his mother but he could breed other cows here that are not related. AI is so tricky and not being able to settle heifers is very frustrating. Nature really has a way of getting the job done that even technology hasn't been able to master.

"Tom giving her a nice belly rub"

She really enjoys having her belly scratched, her back rubbed, rubbing on her head, attention of any kind. Our Hereford heifer, Missy, was licking on her yesterday, giving her a nice bath and Jan just stood there, as comfortable as can be. She's a wonderful mother, always good to her calf and never hateful to anyone of us when we want to check her or her baby. I was very lucky the day I purchased her. She's always been the perfect family cow.

We are so anxious to have our own milk, butter and ice cream again. My milk customers have been calling, wondering if it's time :) It's difficult buying milk in the store after having your own fresh dairy products. I even missed doing my milk dishes and having that as part of my daily routing. Milking is a wonderful chore (I don't really consider it a chore) it's relaxing and one of the most rewarding parts of my day.

Stay tuned..........


threecollie said...

She looks terrific! Can't wait to see the baby

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Ditto! I can't wait to see the calf! Looks like you are having some sunny weather.

You could use the bull calf to breed his mother, but you would only want to use the offspring for meat, instead of as a replacement. It would probably take another generation to show any strange genetic defects.

Christy said...

We are going to do milk goats this year, but a milk cow may be in our future in a few years. I'll enjoy reading about your experience with it. And I always enjoy baby pictures!

kristi said...

I cannot wait to see pictures!! How exciting! Do you find it easier if the calf in the winter? I can just see the fresh milk in an olde-fashion glass milk container right next to a plate of homemade cookies:)

Tammy said...

She looks like a sweet creature. Is she a particular breed? Do you let her raise the calf and milk her out as well?

Kara said...

I am having trouble adjusting to goat milk, maybe a good old fashion cow is the answer. How much milk does she produce a day? How many cows do you have? Do you raise any beefers? I'd love to hear more.

Deb said...

Thank you :) I've been daydreaming about calves as I'm doing my chores!

Thanks...Me either! It's been sunny up until an hour ago. We've been working on the south side so the sun was warm as we made a few more winter preparations.
I didn't realize I could breed him back to his Mom. That would certainly be a help. Thanks for the tip.

I've never tasted goats milk so I really don't know if I would like it or not but I can tell you I enjoy having my cow as much as I enjoy drinking the milk :)

I can't say that it's easier to calve in the winter. It just seems to be the way it works for Jan. I purchased her in October with a 3 week old calf with her and had her bred AI after she adjusted to her new surroundings. I would think it would be beneficial that it's not 110 degrees and the flies won't be bothering her. The ultimate would be to have her calve in May/June with tons of fresh new green grass but we will take whatever we can get.
Milk and cookies are a favorite here, especially this time of year. I store my milk in 2qt canning jars. My fridge is usually full :)

She is a real sweetheart. She is an angus with a enough jersey in her so our milk has a good butterfat content which we skim off the cream for butter and ice cream. I let her keep her calf with her for a month and I milk her twice per day. I then put her calf in a small pen next to her - and feed the calf on a bottle after I milk the cow. Has worked well so far so we will continue that way. I personally think it's as good for the cow to nurture her calf for a month as it is for the calf to be with the cow.

Deb said...

Jan usually gives us about 6 gallons per day when she first freshens. After a month or so she's backoff a little but is fairly consistent during her lactation. I have two milking cows, the other being a 3/4 jersey, 1/4 angus and I have 4 beef cows. Jan was bred to a red angus bull. I'm hoping for another heifer so I can increase my herd by raising my own instead of buying heifers. A slower process but my herd is all freindly and sweet natured which is really important to us.

Joanna said...

I feel the same way wbout my goat girls. I gotta talk to Kara because goat's milk is delious, I have to ask her about her setup. I was taking raw goats milk to the office and folks were hestitant to try it but once they took a sample they were ready for more.

If I had plenty of land, I'd like a cow but for those us with limited land, the goats are efficient.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Oh I hope you get a beautiful heifer calf..alive and healthy! I always found births on the farm to be very special! I think it is good to have the calves by their side to. It seems only fair :)

ga.farmwoman said...

I can't wait to see the little fellow. I know Jan can't wait, also.
At least it isn't a surprise like Belle. She really was that big for 2 years. Really...
Good luck with the calf.
Have a great weekend.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Life of a farmer is 24/7/365*.

*366 during leap years!

Suzanne said...

She's really huge! It's funny to see them from the back because their girth is so amazing just before the birth.

I'm wanting some thick sweet cream after reading this.

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife