Thursday, June 21, 2012


GSF is now down one cow. Hazel left at 10:30 this morning. I was sad to see her go, but I do not regret my decision. She came on a trial basis, and I learned that she and I just weren't meant to be. But now she's back at her old home where she will be cared for.

I did want to take a moment and address some things that were mentioned in the comments of my last post real quick... First off, I would like to make it clear that Hazel absolutely was NOT a rescue cow. She may look like it, but there's a completely different story behind her. She was a dairy cull and was sent to the auction for one reason or another. She was already thin, and most likely already had the edema. The folks who bought her, also bought two Jersey cows (milkers), and a bunch of calves. Their plan was to use the cows to raise the calves, so they wouldn't have to do any bottle feeding. But Hazel didn't like being a nurse cow and she soon started having more serious udder issues which the owners didn't know about until I got her. Her owners did put some pounds on Hazel, but they found that cows are not their cup of tea so they sold off the calves, which then left them with three cows that had to be milked 3x's per day. Hazel's owners are good people, and this was most definitely not a rescue on my part. She just needs some TLC.



Secondly: Yes, I could have dried her up and made her into a pet or left her dry for a year, but I live on 1 acre of land and if there is going to be a cow here, she really needs to pull her weight and produce milk for me! Plus, with the edema she would still need to be milked 2x's daily until it cleared up, and since I did not have a milking machine, that was out of the question.



Now, I know there are a lot of neat contraptions that will keep a cow from kicking, such as hobbles, or a clamp style thing that presses on some nerves and keeps them still, and I'm sure those would have helped, but that still left me hand milking 6 gallons a day. If Hazel had slightly bigger teats, then it would have been no problem. But they were small. Very small. So now we're back to the milking machine.

And even if she had bigger teats, or she didn't kick what would ALWAYS happen is after 30 minutes of milking on side, she would decide that she was done with this whole milking thing and hold her milk back on her other side once I started over there. The result was a sharp decline in milk production and a very aggravated dairy maid. 



The kicking really was the last straw. Ever been kicked in the stomach by a cow? Let me tell you, it hurts. Thankfully I was alright, save for a bruise, lots of soreness today, and perhaps some wounded pride. But to have a cow that is dropping in production, has cracked teats, edema, AND kicks? Hmm... There's got to be a better bovine out there somewhere! I can handle kicking, or even edema, but as a beginner I really don't need everything all at once. 



But I was still really sad to see Hazel go... I don't like having to give animals back, and I'm especially dissapointed that this didn't work out. But things are already in the works for more bovines around the place, so I don't think it will be too long before Peaches has company again. And I'll have a milking machine. I promise. ;)



Sarah Mc said...

hey hope I didn't offend or upset you with my comment..(if I did I'm sorry it was totally not my intention!) I completely understand your decision now and just felt bad about her having to go back since you seemed to like her SO much, also good to know the people who had her had just got her, her condition was surprising to read about. I can't wait for you to get another cow and I'm SO Glad your OKAY, I can't imagine being kicked!

Goat Song said...

Naw, you didn't offend or upset me. ;) With the post about my giving Hazel back, I've been getting a lot of emails, comments and other sources of contact from people. Basically, if you give an animal up before a week is out, all the world deems you a dummy on the matter. [smacks forehead] It's just challenging getting some folks to realize that I DO know what I'm doing, I just needed a different cow!! LOL.

DebH said...

well poor Hazel does look like she might need a few groceries...but sometimes milk cows get pretty thin when milking heavy. I had some mastitis in one of my older girls once and it took alot to take care of. Milking her was like you say, small teats and too swollen. I did massage and warm compress and was a long haul. I finally put her between a couple panels and sorta squeezed her in a spot then put two hungry calves on her once a day to help me out. It all worked out well and she came through it and milked well every year after. BUT, I sure knew how much work your were getting into with a big cow. I found a hand pump (reasonable price) on the internet called Madigans Milker that works really well with some of my goats that are hard to milk. It also has the big cup for cows, so at least your hand doesn't wear out before your done. That way once you have it suctioned on, you can be a little out of reach of that back hoof. Amazing how hard and well they can direct a lethal kick. You did right by sending her back. Best to be safe.

Sarah Mc said...

lol I get yah! I just stared out and FEEL like a dummy most of the time! I only have rabbits(angoras) and a small flock of chickens at the moment...I want sheep and milking goats and cows the whole deal...WE just have to sell our house and buy some land first (ha!) The we plan to homestead. Sarah

Anonymous said...

I tell my kids: Some animals we love and bond with and they have a home here forever. Other animals may not work out, so they go if they are a danger to us. (Especially attack roosters!) Looking forward to hearing about your next bovine adventure. Heather in PA

Kristin said...

Oh my! That cow would have been quite a project. Actually, she looks like my oldest cow only, save for color. Lois has a low hanging udder with small teats, particularly in the back. Fortunately, she's not a 6 gallon cow. Glad you found a nice new cow and a milking machine!