I'm often laughed at when people learn I milk a cow for the family. Why bother when milk is readily available at Woolies for $1 a litre for such little effort? Believe me, there are crisp Winter mornings when I wonder myself. Most people with cattle have a milker, their capacity to feed more than one calf at a time make them wonderful foster mothers when things go wrong and orphan calves appear. I've only been milking for two years, and have just for this past six weeks been having to buy milk as I weaned a calf in anticipation of new baby arrivals. The need to lug an extra esky to town just for milk enough for me to eagerly await my milkers' return to the fold.
Back in March I bought some 'sexed' Jersey semen. Successful artificial insemination with such semen producing only heifer calves as desired in the dairy industry. Bull calves being as useful within a dairy herd as the proverbial 'teats on a bull'.
I needled my three milkers at the time, Priscilla, Olivia and Olga to make them ovulate and thus be able to AI them. Only Priscilla and Olivia were AI'd, Olga not appearing to cycle. Some weeks later we preg-tested and were delighted to find that both Priscilla and Olivia were indeed pregnant. While Olga was also in the yards I decided to check her out as well, determine where she was at with her cycle and if I could try again with the AI. Lo and behold she was also pregnant! Obviously the young show bull running in their paddock had hit his straps! The next seven and a half months were spent wondering whether indeed my beloved Priscilla and Olivia would have Jersey heifer calves, or Brahman cross babies.
Well, wonder no more.
Meet Delta Dawn
and Bobby McGee,
born one day apart. Two more beautiful baby Jersey heifers you'd never wish to meet.
Their proud mamas, Olivia
literally oozing milk. I took 20 litres from them yesterday, and same again today. Happy pigs and dogs.
And this morning Wallace returned from feeding up to inform me Olga had a baby boy.
Un-named as yet, perhaps Clayton Delaney.
And so I'm now on the look-out for a milking machine. Quite seriously, if anybody knows where I'd find a second-hand one, I'd love to hear about it.
My carpal tunnels will thank you.