Wednesday, June 20, 2012

She Is Big

I know Hazel really isn't *that* big, but in comparison to my goats... Well, she's a behemoth.

Milking was interesting yesterday. Hazel had an empty stomach during the morning milking, due to the fact that my ton of hay wasn't coming until after milking chores, and she wouldn't eat any grain. And with that empty stomach of hers, came a grumpy attitude to tag along. We had words yesterday, she and I did.

Actually, that last sentence makes it sounds like I was some victorious milker who came out on top of things. In reality, I almost cried. Yesterday was hard. Hazel milked 3 gallons at each milking, but I only brought in a 1/2 gallon each time. The other 2.5 gallons were spilled all over the floor in the milking room. On Monday, Hazel would give tiny little kicks, as thought to say, "Ow! That hurts!" as I gently milked out her right side which is so horribly cracked and raw. Tuesday was a different matter. Those tiny kicks turned into what felt like a battering ram. The message had changed; now she was saying, "Back off, lady!" Oh she kicked... And danced around, urinated and defecated all over the place, and wouldn't let her milk down! I was ready to cry. Was I wrong to get a cow so soon? Should I get a different one that doesn't have such a bad case of edema and cracked teats? Should I have gotten a milking machine first? Should I just give up?

These thoughts galloped through my mind like a herd of wild mustangs, but they always came to a sliding stop when I ventured to look at Hazel's sweet face... I really do love this cow. It's not her fault that we're having such a bad time in the milking room. That edema and those awful teats are killing both of us!

Today dawned bright and early, but I dawdled inside... I will be honest here and admit that I was dreading having to milk Hazel again. It takes me an hour at the very least to milk her, and that makes for an hour of dodging bovine heels and crying over spilled milk. But that cow wasn't going to milk herself, so I armed myself with the most patient attitude I could muster, and mentally told myself, "Chaaaaaarge!"

And do you know what? This morning's milking was victorious! It still took me an hour, but I did not lose one single drop of milk. I did get kicked square in the shin, but I decided I'd rather have that than lost milk. Alas, on the day that I managed to get all of the milk, I only had one lonely 1/2 gallon jar that was empty. :( So the chickens got 2.5 gallons of milk for breakfast!! Methinks I need more jars.

Hazel's edema does seem to be getting better, but it's slow going. Her rear udder looks almost normal now, and I can actually start to see her medial suspension showing. Now if I could just get the front udder to start healing! Gaah! As I mentioned before, her right teats are the worst off, and I think they are going to take a good while to heal up; the left teats are almost back to normal though, so that's good!

Cows... The things we do for milk.

Next mission? Milking machine. This farm girl is doing everything in her power to get a milking machine. Let's see what happens!


WorthlessSackO'Shit said...

Did some digging, and found some posts.

First: Scientific explanations (hard to understand usually)

Next: Forum posts

Have you tried reaching out to other people online? I think I found your blog through Suzanne's blog 'Chickens in the Road'? You might want to ask her, she might know. Also, Homesteading neophyte has some great tips too, plus, Phelan is a badass.

Hope this helps.
Good luck!

(I've never owned a dairy cow. :( I can't have one in the city)

Mary Ann said...

Okay, I'm out of touch the last few days and need to read back through your last few posts... I went from goat to cow without knowing what was happening. Sorry you are having such a bad time! I didn't know Suzanne HAD any blogs linked to hers... that's news to me.

Tayet Silverspoon said...

Have you tried Craigslist? I've often seen little milking machines in the Farm and Garden section.

Goat Song said...

Tayet, I've been scouring CL every day for a machine, but the only one for sale in my area is $500 and I don't have that much money right now...

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