Friday, February 27, 2015

Steps to graft on a calf to a Jersey milk cow

Step 1: Rosebud meet Rocky. Rocky meet Rosebudcouch 017

What? Were you expecting more steps?

I could add the following:

Go pick up a calf from any source available. We like to get calves from a local dairy as bull calves are fairly inexpensive.couch 030

Make sure your cow has enough milk. Rosebud was giving about a gallon and a half per day. (She caved in July a year and a half ago) The calves will take anywhere between half a gallon to a gallon a day to start out with. Increasing after that. The calf will start eating grass or hay very soon but will increase in need for milk as well.

I still milk once a day. I put the calf in a pen at night and milk in the morning. The calf takes the rest of the milk. I only get around half a gallon to three quarters of a gallon a day but that’s usually enough for our family. The nice thing is if we need to go anywhere we now have an automatic milker. If you are a simple farm like ours there is no help besides me and Milly and kids. There are not too many people now a days that know how to milk a cow. Having the calf allows us to take off whenever we need to since it’s way easier to say “can you check the chickens?” than “Can you milk my cow?”.

Rosebud was bred in October and will need to be dried up around the end of April which is when we’ll feel comfortable weaning Rocky fully. (he’ll be around 7 months)

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At first I kept the calf roped to the cow shed. I led him over to the electric fence quite a few times to shock his nose. Then I got lazy and now he runs all over the place. He’s small and we’ll put him in a real pasture with fences come April.

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Rosebud didn’t want anything to do with the calf for about 10 minutes. She kicked the calf a few times and I had to speak sternly to her a few times. But after a few hours with him she started having that momma moo sound (you know, MMMMMMMOOOOOOO, HE’S MINE AND I’M GOING TO KEEP HIM MMMMMMMMOOOOOOOOOOOO) and was really protective of the calf.

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It’s nice to see natural instincts take over.

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You can see Rosebud starting to lick the calf and stand still while the calf gets accustomed to what to do.

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I had to stick my fingers in the calf’s mouth and lead him over to the teat at first but after about 5 minutes he was off to the races.

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The next day this was the site I saw out the back door.

Adoption complete.

1 comment:

  1. Great post :) We were so worried when we had to get a foster calf for our cow, it took her a week to take him, but her calf had died, so she had to grieve first. But when she adopted him, he was HER calf then, and it was lovely to see that bond form.

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