The first of our three calves arrived this morning. Annie, our 1/2 mini-Jersey, 1/2 Dexter had a little bull. (At least I’m pretty sure it’s a bull–once I’ve verified that, I’ll update this post if I’m wrong!)
I have been looking forward to milking Annie, expecting some Jersey quality cream. We will see how it is, and I’ll be sure to let you know.
I leave the calf with Mama for four days, since I can’t use the milk at first anyways since its colostrum. I check on day two or three to see if there are teats that need milked out, since these little calves don’t take that much milk. Then after four days we separate mama and baby, but continue to feed the baby mama milk until weaning at three months.
I’ve had good luck with this system. My first year, I took the baby right away, and that was hard. Trying to milk colostrum on a mama cow who had just delivered was really hard. Also the cow’s teats got pretty swollen from edema, and she was really tough to milk. Lesson learned! Baby cow does a good job on at least two teats the first few days and breaks through the edema. Much easier milking!
Since Annie has never been milked, I’m a little concerned that she will be a kicker. But instead of worrying about it, I’ll take one session at a time and tie her leg down if necessary. She does like grain and being petted, so that’s good!
Here’s to a good milking season!