Drying Off A Cow


I’ve had my Jersey Girls 1 month and a week! Seems much longer since I’ve been dealing with things that I didn’t expect.

Since I discovered Joy sucking on Josie, I realized that I had to do something that you normally wouldn’t have to worry about with a heifer (first time mom).

Drying her off.

After my neighbor took a look at her, he was certain that she’d been sucked and was producing milk for Joy. All the reading I’ve been doing, kicked in. If she was making milk…then she had to be dried off before calving. If not she could develop Milk Fever which is a very serious illness.

So, I proceeded to dry her off. I withdrew all of her grain and I’ve increased her hay intake. I don’t really understand it all completely, but the idea is to decrease the cows calcium intake dramatically so that she will start to draw calcium from her long bones because once she freshens, she will be making large amounts of calcium and to much prior to calving causes milk fever! I think I’ve got that right….or at least close. For condition, I’ll start to increase her grain intake a couple weeks prior to calving and then while she is milking so she stays strong. The more I grain, the more milk she’ll give me. I’m not looking to make her into a great producer. Since I can’t sell fresh milk in Maryland, I will already be swimming in it. Making more is not my goal. However, I want her to be a healthy good producer.

Josie has finally started to shrink in that one quarter.


See the backside, it’s starting to shrivel.


This picture is from a couple weeks ago before I separated Joy from Josie. Her quarter is full and tight. I’ve been making sure it doesn’t get hot or develop any hard spots because then I’d have to deal with Mastitis.


Mooove Over Chickies


Here they come!!!

As an expectant grandma…I’m waiting pacing back and forth for the arrival of my bovine girls.

It’s been quite a while since our suburban DC neighborhood has had a parade.  And we’ve probably never had a cow parade.  Due to the soft lawn from all the rain, we decided to unload the girls on the street.

As motorist drove by talking on their cell phones they nearly threw their necks out!  It was tooooo funny….yep, it’s called a cow!


Hello Josephine!


I walked Josephine back to the barnyard and Cathy walked little Joy.  They both did fairly well, considering little Lady nipping at their heels.  Lady is having some identity issues, but she seems to be adjusting well.  Right now she sleeps at my feet as she observes she is the ONLY animal in the house.


This was the first time Josephine and Joy have met, even though they lived on the same dairy farm.  Josephine was with the older heifers and Joy with the calves.

Josephine showed some wonderful motherly skills….she kissed Joy! ❤


Mike helped me put on their new PINK halters.  Those babies are so bright I could see them in the dark!  Speaking of dark, it was 6:10 PM when they arrived to their new home.  We spent an hour with Mike and Cathy and then I spent time rubbing and talking to them.  When I went in the house they moooed.  I wasn’t sure what a cow did at night.  Our girls settled into their new barn and went to sleep.  When our Sweet Girl came home a little later they welcomed her with a couple mooos.  Then when our neighbor came home they welcomed him.  I guess the cows out of the bag!

I think the other neighbors must have been using binoculars as we walked the girls around the pasture trying to introduce them to the electric fence.  I could hear them….”oh my, no it’s not a goat, doesn’t seem to be a horse…oh my I think it’s a cow…two cows!”  I’ll go over later this week, maybe today and see if they’d like to meet our new girls.  I think the kids will be delighted…not sure about the parents!  Maybe when we have fresh cream I can bribe them. 😀


Joy found the orchard hay that I put out for them.  Mmmmm this stuff is good.

They both have not been on pasture and they were so excited eating nothing but grass!  I wasn’t sure about the type of grass we had, Mike identified it to be Bluegrass.  The goodstuff!


Josephine christened the new straw…Joy was like “hey don’t pee in my bed!”


I didn’t hear them until 6:30 AM.   They were calling for me to come for a visit.  When I came in for breakfast and to shower they went back in for a nap.

This is way cool!

Raw Milk Debate in Maryland

This great article written by Meredith Cohn appeared in the Baltimore Sun, yesterday.

Organic farmer Bobby Prigel sells hundreds of gallons of his cows’ raw milk to Horizon, which pasteurizes it for sale at grocery stores. (Baltimore Sun photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor / February 12, 2009)

The cows, about 75 of them, graze and enjoy an unseasonably warm day on the 260-acre Bellevale farm in Baltimore County, about 20 miles north of downtown. It’s a few hours until milking time.

Together they produce hundreds of gallons of raw milk that is sold to organic milk producer Horizon for about $3 a gallon. It’s pasteurized and turned into cartons sold at the grocery store. Part of farmer Bobby Prigel thinks that’s a shame.

There are enough people in Maryland who would pay $6 a gallon or more for the unpasteurized, or raw, milk directly from him – if that were legal. State health officials say raw milk is dangerous because it can carry E. coli, salmonella and other nasty bacteria, and has already made many people around the state and nation sick.

“It would be easy for me to sell it,” said Prigel, a fourth-generation dairy farmer who drinks the milk from his cows. “I wouldn’t have to change a thing.

Raw milk consumers are a small and not-yet-mainstream faction of a larger movement of people who have turned to food grown locally, organically and unadulterated by excessive processing in an effort to lead a healthier lifestyle. They reject the safety warnings because they believe raw, also called “real” or “fresh,” milk is more nutritious.

Many are getting it from illicit drop-off sites set up by farmers in Pennsylvania, where it’s legal.

The demand has reached such a pitch that Del. J.B. Jennings, a Republican who represents Baltimore and Harford counties and who recently gave up cattle farming to join the military, introduced legislation Friday to make it legal for farmers to sell raw milk to consumers who buy a share in one of their cows. It’s legal in Maryland to drink the milk if you own the cow, but the state has refused in the past to allow such “cow shares.”

He is the third Maryland legislator to offer a bill in three years. He believes the bill will have more support than ever, though its prospects for passage remain slim.

The General Assembly has already approved a pilot program that will allow a handful of Maryland farmers to sell cheese made from raw milk as long as it’s aged 90 days, a process that mimics pasteurization. Three farms are expected to begin selling the cheese in the spring or summer. A small amount of raw-milk cheese made in Pennsylvania with Maryland milk is already available in local stores.

“I’m not getting into the debate about whether raw milk is good or bad for you,” Jennings said. “It’s about choices. And people are already drinking it.”

Jennings said the legal sale of raw milk will be a boost to a small number of Maryland dairy farmers who would want to sell it from their farms. Unpasteurized milk has a shorter shelf life and wouldn’t likely be sold in retail grocery stores.

More immediately, it would make legal the actions of Marylanders who are using one of the 10 or so delivery sites in the region found by word-of-mouth or on the Internet. Area moms say a gallon of raw milk sells for between $6 and $10 a gallon, far more than the $3.50 a gallon regular milk was selling for at area groceries last week, but closer to the $3 to $4 a half-gallon of organic milk costs.

Supporters claim the heat of pasteurization kills nutrients and good bacteria, though public health experts say raw and pasteurized milk are nutritionally the same. Some supporters also believe that raw milk has other health benefits, including improved behavior in children; improved health of those with osteoporosis, cancer, asthma and allergies; and better development of fetuses and babies. Health experts say such assertions aren’t true.

Liz Reitzig, a Bowie mother of four, is one of the believers. Mornings in her house include fruit, reading, the occasional cartwheel and, always, glasses of raw milk. She has been buying raw milk for four years and feeds it to her children, from 6 months to 6 years. The family goes through six to 12 gallons a week.

She declined to discuss drop-off sites in the state but said she would prefer “to buy products from the producers of my choice in Maryland.”

That would be good for her and good for the environment, she says, because the milk wouldn’t travel as far, and good for the state’s economy because her money would stay here.

Reitzig also said she knows of no one who has been sickened by raw milk, but notes that other legal foods have caused illnesses, including packaged spinach, which was blamed for a 2006 outbreak of E. coli, and peanut butter, which has been blamed for the current outbreak of salmonella.

“What about deli meat or hot dogs?” she said. “You’re so much more likely to get sick from those. There’s a bias against fresh milk.”

She said she’d keep working for legalization as president of the Maryland Independent Consumers and Farmers Association, which promotes local farm-to-consumer goods.

But the forces against raw milk are vast: the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Medical Association and World Health Organization, among others. Many farm bureaus also oppose the sale of raw milk. Officials at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene fret that they can’t convince raw-milk drinkers that raw milk can make them sick or even kill them.

“It’s not an argument we’ve been able to make,” said Ted Elkin, deputy director of the Office of Food Protection and Consumer Health Services at the state Health Department.

“Some people think it’s magical,” he said. “This is like arguing about religion. But the department’s stance is quite clear and consistent. We agree with the WHO, CDC, FDA. It’s unsafe for human consumption.”

Elkin said one outbreak of food-borne illnesses related to raw milk was confirmed in 2005 in the Washington suburbs. Five children were sickened and one died after consuming a raw-milk cheese called queso fresco that contained a bacteria that can cause tuberculosis. In general, it’s not always possible to prove what makes people sick, so he couldn’t say how many people become ill from raw milk versus deli meat, for example.

A CDC report showed that from 1998 to 2005, there were 45 confirmed incidents of 1,000 or more people becoming sick from raw milk across the country. Agency spokeswoman Lola Russell said most cases are not reported. In 2007, there were 1.4 million confirmed cases of salmonella from all sources.

Pasteurization began in the late 1800s, and in 1987 the government banned the sale of raw milk between states. Now, 29 states allow some form of raw-milk sale, mostly direct from farmers as milk or cheese. Others allow the milk to be sold as pet food. And a few, including Virginia, allow cow shares, such the kind proposed in Maryland.

Many who lobby for legalization of raw milk in more states also oppose state-run inspection programs, which Jennings, the delegate, had considered including in his bill. They see such programs as overzealous enforcers that end up harassing farmers rather than ensuring the safety of milk.

One of the groups that provides legal aid to farmers is the Washington-based Weston A. Price Foundation, named for a nutritional researcher. The group promotes raw milk’s consumption, and its president, Sally Fallon, estimates that about 500,000 people are consuming raw milk across the country, many of whom started in the past couple of years.

“Raw milk is where organic was 20 years ago, on the fringe but poised to go mainstream,” Fallon said. “Within 20 years, there won’t be any pasteurized milk. It will take over as people realize the health benefits and safety.”

For more on the dangers of raw milk, go to www.fda.gov and search for raw milk. For more on the benefits, go to westonaprice.org.

Here is the list of names to contact in the Mayland House of Delegates. Please call or write if you live in Maryland. Thanks.

joseline.peña.melnyk@house.state.md.us <mailto:joseline.pena.melnyk@house.state.md.us>




The second day after Abigail was hen pecked, I was able to remove her bandages and apply my Healing Salve. I also started feeding her raw milk kefir. Well, it turns out that little Abigail Adams LOVES kefir!!! Just look at her milk mustache. Isn’t she the cutest little chickie you ever did see?! I’m certain now that she is going to make it. And I have a feeling that we’re going to be really good friends!

Hen Pecked

It wasn’t until I became a “farmer” that I learned where all the sayings that we have in our society come from. Things like: “Birds of a feather flock together”, “Hen pecked”, “She’s just like a Mother hen”. I’ve seen all of these in living color.

I told you about my little Abigail Adams who is a runt that my sis gave me. She also seems to have been attacked at some point in her young life and has a twisted back. Well, I didn’t know that you shouldn’t try to introduce a runt with a deformity, into an established flock. My girls didn’t take to kindly to little Abigail. In fact yesterday morning I found her bloody and cowering in the corner of the coop. Her flesh had been pecked off the back of her neck, larger than the size of a quarter. It seems as if she’d been hen pecked pretty badly. Her entire neck was pecked open to the bone. While crying, I took little Abigail to the house in a little cage.


I put Abigail in the basement with straw in the cage, then I researched how to naturally heal a deep open wound and found that raw honey would not only heal it but pull any debris out. So I put raw honey on a gauze pad and wrapped gauze around her neck and taped it. I changed it at dinner time and her wound had stopped bleeding. That was good. She slept a lot. I gave her some kefir to drink and grain to eat.

This morning, she was alert and had drank a good amount of kefir. I changed her bandage and the wound actually looked good. It was already starting to close around the edges. She was very sleepy. And it was obvious that she had been through a great deal of stress.

This evening I went to change her bandage and noticed that she drank a lot of kefir throughout the day. I gave her some raw milk and she began drinking like she’d been starved. That’s always a good sign! Her wound looks very good so I left it uncovered for a while to allow it to air. The bandage doesn’t have a foul smell (no pun), and that too is a good sign.

I think Abigail Adams is going to make it. We’ll have to keep her separated from the other hens and give her extra TLC! It’s amazing how hens imitate human life. We can be very cruel to one another, especially those who are deformed and are afraid.  My hens tried to kill Abigail because she was different……let’s not imitate hens!

All the creatures great and small, the Lord God made them all.

What Change?

I’ve been reading a blog called The Complete Patient, which discusses many of the food issues that concern me. There’s a petition floating around for Barack Obama to appoint Michael Pollan as Secretary of Food (that’s what all these food activist want to see the Secretary of Ag renamed). The only reason I might sign such a petition is because I agree with what Michael Pollan is quoted as saying in this great Op-Ed piece.

“Even if you don’t think agriculture is a high priority, given all the other problems we face, we’re not going to make progress on the issues Obama campaigned on — health care, climate change and energy independence — unless we reform agriculture.”

I tend to agree with The Complete Patient, I think that we may be terribly surprised at the “Change We Can Believe In”. Or maybe Barack Obama will surprise us as he’s been doing so far with his cabinet appointments and name Michael Pollan as Secretary of Food & Agriculture.

Photo Credit linked to original artist on flickr.

New Addition to Peaceful Acres

Meet Nelly!


This is the newest member of our family. She is a pure bed Jersey heifer. We bought her Friday, on our way home from vacation in North Carolina.  No, we didn’t have room in the mini van, so we’ll have to go back for her!!! 😀


She’s 15 months old and has just been turned out to be bred with a pure bred Jersey bull, Peanut.

She’s a brown gray color with those big loveable Jersey eyes!   Hopefully Nelly will give us a beautiful Jersey calf!  Now we will have all the raw milk we could ever dream of drinking!  Boomer, our allergic Lab will have all the kefir and clabber he could ever dream of drinking too….ah!  The good life!


She will hopefully be ready for us to pick-up in a few months, depending on how quickly she is bred.