On this simple 10 acres, we have one simple cow that is due to calve the end of September or first of October. In order for her to continue to produce that wonderful raw food called liquid gold, (better known as milk) Genny cow has to have a calf. In order for her to have a healthy calf, we have to stop milking her so that in the last two months of her pregnancy all of her body’s energy can be concentrated on the health of the calf. We stopped milking her last week. Since we only milk her once a day when we are milking her, she does not produce as much milk as she could if we milked her twice a day. Drying her up therefore is not difficult; infact, it is quite interesting. Once her udder has not been milked, the glands stop producing more milk. We have been checking her every day to make sure she is not getting too full, hard to the touch or feverish. If you stop to think about it, a cow in the wild would eventually wean the calf herself by moving away from the calf and even raising a hoof to shoo the calf away if necessary. There are different views on how to dry up a cow. Sometimes it’s rather frustrating to sort out the different opinions on the best way to do it. We have personally tried it two ways now and so far it doesn’t seem to matter either way. We have gradually milked less and less until a stopping date and we have stopped milking all at once like this time and kept an eye on her to see that she has stopped producing. This coming weekend we will empty her udder one last time, rub a homemade coconut oil based salve on her teats and then spray them with iodine. We had been cutting back on her little bit of grain that she got every morning during milking so as not to encourage milk production.
In order to breed her to produce another calf after this coming calf is born we either have to let her run with a bull or have her artificially bred. Since we do not have a bull (nor do we want one) and want to breed her to only an A2 bull, we choose to artificially inseminate. Typically we have purchased the straws through the technician who does the procedure. Through him we are able to purchase through the American Jersey Cattle Association and get what we are wanting for characteristics and quality in a bull. This time however, we are ordering seaman straws from Misty Morning Farm in Virginia where they have the highest standards for their grass fed Jerseys. They raise A2 Jerseys for family milk cows and have a very strict guideline for testing to insure that their cows are free of disease. We have teamed up with friends who are also wanting to breed to a miniature Jersey bull and have ordered straws together to save on shipping since it is very pricey. We will be anxious to see what this bull will produce from our small standard Genny. For now, we await this years calf to be born in October and hope that once again we have a heifer! October is not my choice time for having a new little calf born here but this year Genny didn’t take when she was bred the first time so we had a window of time to try again before it was just too late in the season. We will have to be more careful to keep the calf warm when the temperatures are cool. It’s an exciting time when Four Sisters Farm has a new arrival. Although the break from milking is nice for the two months that we are not milking, we already look forward to getting back to having the wonderful supply of fresh whole real food, clean and pure milk loaded with probiotics and real nutrition.
Back again soon