Last milking season, I spent a lot of time in tears.
My heifer, Annie, had it out for me.
My cow kicked me every single time I tried to milk.
Or she tried. I stood back and she only made contact once.
It was depressing. I was spending at least an hour out in the barn trying to get her milked. I had to have my dad come over and hold her tail for me.
I felt like a milking failure.
While we eventually worked out our differences, I was still a little worried about starting to milk again. She’s been dried up since Thanksgiving, so when Annie had her baby bull last week, it was time to face my fears.
I pulled her into the stanchion. Just in case, I threw the kick-stop over her side. I gingerly washed her and started milking.
She was swollen a bit, and didn’t give a ton of milk. But, she didn’t kick!
At first. A couple of days into the milking she tried. But once she stopped, I gave her a bit of extra grain. So far so good!
She’s still swollen though, so I’m leaving the calf with her for now. His headbutting is doing a great job to break through the edema and get her used to milking again.
Except, Annie stopped letting down milk for me. She flat out refused to give more than a cup or two.
I knew she was saving it for her baby, Bolt.
So, I turned to Google. I learned on a farm board that separating the two for 12 hours can be beneficial in encouraging let down. I tried it yesterday. When I pulled Annie into milk in the evening, I left her locked up and pulled Bolt into a pen. Then I let Annie out.
This morning, she was full of milk, and let it down. I got over a gallon for me, and some for the pigs too. I’m enjoying having farm fresh milk again!
Her one teat was still really swollen, so I milked out the other three. She started to kick when I touched her swollen one. So, I turned Bolt loose. He ran right over and started in on the full teat.
This evening, it was feeling a lot softer. I was even able to milk it out a little without Annie flinching. I have high hopes that Bolt will help get this teat all figured out.