Josie is Heating Up

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Last Monday morning, oh, about 1:30am…..Josie started MOOOOOOOing and woke Honey up. I finally heard her at 3:30am and every half hour thereafter. She bellowed alllllllllllllllllllllllll day long. She was a girl looking for her bull. I was very very glad that our nearest neighbors were on vacation. And I’m guessing they are too! As soon as I heard her I said to myself….she’s in heat. Well, Honey didn’t know what to think so he’s outside walking all around the pasture like a good guard dog would do. He didn’t find anything and tried to go back to sleep.

It all started last Sunday, when Josie gave Joy a 20-30 minute bath. She fit the bill from what I read. Licking, curling lip, bellowing, mounting Joy.

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Hold still while I get your neck.

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Boy your ears are dirty.

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You’ve really gotta do a better job washing.

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Time for a few head butts!

Last Monday Josie bawled until early/late afternoon and then she stopped. Then Tuesday morning, she had a bloody show. My window of fertility is very small and it seems to me that will be late Monday afternoon on the 26th. I’ve got my calendar marked 21 days ahead, so like clock work she ought to come into heat again at the end of the month. It’s a good sign that she’s having strong heats after her stillbirth.

Honey and I have decide along with my new cow mentor and vet that she ought to be bred now. That will give us a July calf and that will be good for Josie and the calf. There will be an abundance of green grass for the needed nutrients that Josie will need in the last two months or pregnancy. She will have a better start on this next pregnancy and we pray that it goes well for her.

I’ve been working hard to build her condition after the dead calf. She’s now on our pasture being supplemented with organic orchard grass hay, organic apples, organic carrots, sunflower seeds with molasses and organic mangels for treats. I give her probiotics, Selenium w/ Vit E, occasional herbs, Kelp, Cow Minerals and Vit C.

I JUST found a bull to be our sire….all for $25.00!! Wahoo! He’s 1/2 Jersey & 1/2 Limousine. He’s been throwing heifers, but if I get a bull, he’ll be a good beefy bull. And I JUST talked to my beef man and he’s agreed to transport Josie over to the mountains for her rondevu!

She’s not the only one heating up! I never thought I’d be giddy over such a thing!

All things work together. Amen.

(Joy has got to go!  She is nothing but trouble and I’m guessing she’s going to the Arctic Box!  If anyone wants her, come and get her!!!)

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Treating Mastitis Naturally

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At first glance on Thursday afternoon, I thought Josie had started springing. However, after closer examination, I realized there was something terribly wrong with the swelling on her right underside. Her rear right quarter was also very tight and swollen.

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I posted immediately on the two cow forums I belong to and one reply was that she had a bad Mastitis infection in the right rear quarter and edema had leaked into the front rear quarter.

I began treating her naturally for Mastitis and I began stripping those two quarters. We put her in the stanchion and I began milking out the infection. She had so much milk or whatever it was in that rear quarter, and being a new hand milker….well, actually never having milked a cow…..by machine or by hand….it took me well over an hour to get the job done. I didn’t have any light….but my eyes had adjusted to the darkness as it settled around me. I don’t have a little stool, so I was kneeling and my feet couldn’t stand it for too long. My back got stiff and I kept changing positions. The last thing I did in the dark was take my girls temp…..this is another first….taking a rectal temp of a cow!!! I had the string tied on the end just in case…..it was dark, but I lubed it up and she did act a little invaded….I wasn’t sure how long to leave it but I left it long enough….rapped it in a paper towel and took it in to read. It was a normal 102*…..I am grateful that I caught this early and began treating her before we went to bed.

My girl was in that stanchion for over an hour and once she was let out, she didn’t want a whole lot to do with me. We left her out that night and I knew she’d be in the barn in the morning and sure enough she was.

By Saturday morning, much of the swelling was gone. By Saturday evening it was almost completely gone. By Sunday morning, there is hardly any edema left under her belly. I got one little clot this morning when I stripped her. I will only strip her one more time tonight and I think she will sufficiently heal from this infection.

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Most of the edema was hanging under her belly and was quite giggly.

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Her rear quarter is much reduced.

In spending a lot of up close and personal time with Josie this weekend, I noticed a cut on her right front teat which could and probably is the cause of the infection. I would not have noticed it if she wasn’t such a good girl. I discovered that she will stand perfectly still (although I have her hooked to a short rope) for me to hand milk her while out of the stanchion. She hardly raises a leg! But in milking her from the right side (in the stanchion I face her left side), I was able to see that her teat had a 1″ cut on it. She probably cut herself on some blackberry or multi-flora rose.

Here was my treatment:

Pro-biotic in the morning, Mastoblast (homeopathic) morning, afternoon and evening on first full day, then 2x day thereafter, 2 handfuls of fresh Sage for the infection and for drying her up, 1 handful 1x day Comfrey, 1 handful fresh Echinacea for immune system, 20-25 grams Vit C divided 2x day for immune system, 2 head garlic first day, Cai-Pan® Mint Udder Cream , 1/2 C Whey 1x day for immune system, Selenium 30C, Vit E 1000 IU 1x day, Arnica 30C for teat injury, Hypericum 30C for teat injury. I didn’t have any Apis for the edema, but will pick some up to have on hand.

I dissolved everything in the whey except for the Mastoblast. I put it in a syringe without a needle and she allows me to just squirt it in her mouth…she acts just like a little kid who gets medicine, but I feel content knowing she gets the full dose (2cc) and isn’t missing any. The rest I mixed with a little wheat bran and barley. She refuses it until I put a handful of sunflower seeds on top and a tiny bit of molasses sugar…..Mary Poppins was right….”just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!” She first walks away and comes to see what I’m mixing up for Joy, and once she’s convinced that that is it….she gobbles it down…every last bit of sage!

What Does Your Daddy Do?

(NOTE: CONTENT MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN, UNLESS THEY LIVE ON A FARM!)

I was having a cup of tea at a friends house on Friday (when what looked to me like a tornado hit…just a side note!), and we were chatting about my cows. Jan’s husband comes from a long line of farmers. They have a diverse 300 acre farm today due to the dying nature of farming. They still raise freezer steers and keep bulls on the farm to service the cows.

She asked me how I was going to go about servicing my cows (for those of you out of the farm world…that means breed). I told her that I was for sure not getting a bull, and that I’d have to have AI.

Jan suddenly remembered a story from when her now grown kids were in elementary school.

“The teacher asked the kids to draw a picture of what their daddies do for their job. One little guy, drew his daddy shoulder deep into the back end of a cow! When the teacher got to him….she stuttered and said let’s see what somebody else’s daddy does!”

Here is a very good visual of what an AI tech does.

Again for those of you who don’t know….AI stands for artificial insemination.

The good news is that I found an AI tech in our neighborhood!!! Yes, it’s that little boys daddy! Now I just have to pick a bull and order the semen!

Who ever would of thought I’d be talking like this!

Her Best Side

There is an unspoken rule: Do Not Take A Picture of Women From The Rear!

But, when it comes to these ladies, I love pictures of them from the rear.

In fact, I believe that these pictures look like old ladies walking.

The way she spreads across the backside.

The way she waddles.

Her old granny shoes.

And of course the way she sags with age.

Photo Credit: Fotovandeel on Flickr.com

Photo Credit: nechbi on Flickr.com

Photo Credit: mknight_dsb on Flickr.com

Photo Credit: Yannig Van de Wouwer on Flickr.com

MmmmThat’s Good

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Moo Moo Mama

To grain or not to grain that is the question???

Even within the healthy cow world, there are many differing opinions about whether cows should be given grain or purely grass. It’s a tough one to be sure. I’ve been reading until my eyeballs could fall out and I can’t find one way or the other that is “evil”.

Maybe it’s the grains that are grown today that are “evil”. But this notion that cows for centuries have only eaten grass in my opinion is unfounded. Even in Gene Logsdon’s book “All Flesh is Grass” he talks about turning cows out to graze in corn fields.  Or maybe it’s just that cows or all ruminant animals shouldn’t souly be fed grain as they do on most commercial dairy and cattle farms.

My simple understanding is that once a cow has been given a chance in the day to get their rumen going, then they have the ability to separate grain from going into the rumen and divert it to another one of their four stomaches. Or maybe I got that all wrong and it’s just that they get the pH in the rumen just right to handle some acidity. This is really way to scientific for me….I told you once before that I failed college nutrition! Too much science!

I have been giving my girls some grain. Baby Joy can’t seem to handle all grass right now and is being kept in the corral part of the day eating Orchard Grass Hay and I feed her some grain that I hand mix.

I know that a high protein diet is important, but so are carbohydrates for energy. For me it’s keeping that delicate balance. Not too much grain to throw off the pH. Just enough right now for energy. Our bluegrass is around 17% protein…yep grass! Josie is on fresh grass around 14-24 hrs a day now supplemented with approximately 5 lbs of grain divided into two feedings (I’m getting her ready for two milkings). If a thunderstorm is brewing I bring her into the corral since she is still tethered and isn’t completely free to seek shelter where she desires. Hopefully we’ll get the cattle panel fence installed soon. Honey just picked up 200-250 fence post this week. These things take time when you work a full time job.

Anyway, back to protein. In a wonderful little book called, “The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable” Juliette de Bairacli Levy, says, “Protein and calcium must figure generoulsy in the daily ration, especially during the high lactation, for the cow gives out generously these substances in her milk, and will deplete her own body supplies if necessary.”

WOW! What an amazing animal.

Juliette speaks of grazing cows on different aromatic herbs to flavor milk and treat you animal for different conditions. And learning to sing like a milk-maid at milking time to increase milk yields.

My girls are getting a mixture of flaked barley, tripled steamed oats, sunflower seeds (hulled), wheat bran (a little), beet pulp and a drizzle of molasses. Most of the grains don’t have protein over 14%….not quite high enough for me, but the sunflower seeds have 26%! They do provide a good source of energy though. I mix it all together as they wait in anticipation. This is the time when the real animal comes out…they act just like pigs!!!

We’re into a good rhythm now. I put out Josie and let her eat grass for a while as I scoop poop. If Joy needs some extra rope lessons, I tie her up while I do the scooping. All the while the beet pulp is rehydrating in water. Then I mix things up in the feed room and they drool like dogs! Feeding them apart works much better. They can eat slower without the fear….Joy had the fear….of the other finishing first and taking theirs. There’s a lot less choking now. Reminds me of a family member who ate like that….no mention of names.

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Step by Step

Inch by inch!

We’re getting there.

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My men rented a post hole digger thingy and got the holes dug for the corral in just a few minutes! Really.

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My favorite man at work.

(You’re probably asking yourself, “what’s with the hill billy basket ball hoop?” Well, when the kids were young we put it there. Yep in the grass. We didn’t have a paved driveway and the driveway has hills off two sides, so the grass seemed to be just right. Now we’re going to let the cows play hoops! Just kidding. We’re probably going to eventually cut off the hoop and use the pole for a solar light…..homesteaders make use of everything!!!)

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Of course the 8 foot boards he bought couldn’t have been 8 feet….no they are 8′ and 1/2 inch!

The holes are set at 8 feet!

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My man is an engineer at heart and everything he builds will last forever!

He’s making progress. Slowly, but surely. And this fence will be straight and not fall down! Not even with a 1200 lb cow pulling on it.

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Seems to be working pretty well for our small pony!

(he’s not been feeling well again. we know that our time with him is short. so we make the most of every day.)

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While they dug the holes I screwed on all the little insulators for the electric fence.

Delivery Time!!!!!!!!!

After all my excitement yesterday, I received a call from Myers Mini Barns last evening! It’s arrived!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my golly! I told you I could just feel it. I nearly squealed in Mr Myers ear! In fact I probably did! He said it’s one of the nicest looking barns he’s seen. We designed it ourselves and Mr Myers had it built. I’m not sure if I want to wait until Monday when we’re scheduled for delivery or drive 7 miles to take a look.

I think I’m going to wait and watch with excitement as Mr Myers drives our barn down the street….me and the neighbors! I guess the cows out of the bag now!

MOOOOOO