Hazel is finally settling into a routine. While I am still using the anti-kick device purely as precaution she has accepted her fate as a nurse-mama and milk cow. 🙂 When it’s milking time she leads into the stanchion beautifully where she stands crunching contentedly on a whole bowl-full of carrots as I wash her udder and teats. A completely transformed cow from last weekend!
But the transformation is due to the way I approached milking her. Since she’s different I couldn’t milk her the same way I milked my other bovines. And once Hazel realized it wasn’t a bad thing to let Boaz nurse she refused to let down her milk for ME. And that was a very big problem. For two mornings I struggled to milk her. I massaged her. I gently bumped her. I crooned to her and leaned into her. And got diddly-squat for my efforts. She was full all right. But she was saving it all for that handsome little bull calf of her’s. Not about to give up after coming so far I came across “Share-Milking” a few days ago and decided to try it. But the evening I tried it Boaz wasn’t hungry so I penned him up and waited for morning.
After washing each teat individually with disinfectant wipes I stripped them a few times to rid the orifices of any bacteria/calf slobber/grass/dirt/etc. that got on them during the night. Then my mom (who has been helping me) led Boaz from his pen to the left side of my stanchion where he excitedly latched on to a bulging teat and went to town. Meanwhile I squatted on the right side and furiously milked into a quart-size pot. Normally I milk with two hands but I didn’t want him stepping in or bumping my tote.
The squirt drinks so fast that by the time I’m finished milking out the front right quarter he’s nosing his foamy-slobbery snout over to my side of the udder and I have to shove him back to his teats. He never finishes them all – he just likes to take a taste from all four. 🙂 When he’s done, or getting too rowdy and trying to squeeze under Hazel’s belly while she’s still in the stanchion, my mom grabs him and leads him to the front where Hazel can see him and lick him. And so far this set-up has worked great. I finish milking her out – after rewashing slimy teats – and even with Boaz nursing she gives me 3/4 of a gallon of the richest milk I have ever tasted. And she’s mostly Dexter.
So many thanks to Zephyrhillfarm (http://zephyrhillfarm.blogspot.com/) for all the tips and the very detailed post on how to share-milk. And let’s not forget carrots! Both are the miracle that saved my Hazel – and my sanity!