Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Fanny and Bubbles



Our newest farm residents, and our new supply of milk!

We picked up Fanny and Bubbles from a family farm in Bristol, QC this past weekend. Fanny is an almost-3-year-old Jersey cow and Bubbles is her sweet 8 week old heifer calf, also Jersey. Usually our animal pickups come with humorous and slightly silly stories. Like, spending 5 hours at the border with a trailer full of sheep, or riding in a minivan with pooping swine (and then spending 4 hours scrubbing said minivan). This time, though, everything went smoothly: Fanny and Bubbles just hopped up onto the trailer like they did it every Saturday, they stood nicely for the drive, and then they unloaded like a dream, too. They didn't jump out of the corral. They didn't make us chase them through the bush. 

I expected that it would take some time to win them over. I knew they would be quiet and that they were used to being handled, but I certainly thought I'd have to try a bit harder. My teenage years training horses had me anticipating a thinking creature that would want to get to know me but would make me work for it. Either that's the difference between cows and horses, or I just lucked out. 

By the end of Day 1 at home she was coming when called. Day 2 she was following me around the corral and letting me do literally whatever I wanted. I bet I could hop right on and go for a ride. But no, she's not a horse, she's a milk cow, and our first milking also went extremely smoothly. No kicking, not even a tail switch in the face. The bucket stayed upright the whole time. She didn't even shift her feet! The hardest thing was aiming the milk into the pail! That I'm sure will get easier with practice. 

And oh, the milk...! 

Now, although they've been grazing together for a few days now they haven't made friends yet with the sheep. Each specie stakes out a respective corner of the paddock and they mostly avoid eachother throughout the day. They seem...wary. But Bubbles is working hard at getting to know her new little friends. She thinks they're a riot. Though the sheep don't appreciate her curiosity very much. I'm sure in a few more days they'll all be fast friends.

Over the next few weeks we'll be all working on getting used to the new routines: milking in the morning, sending the cows out to graze with the sheep during the day, and then bringing them in at night, with Bubbles spending the night in her little stall and Fanny nearby. We'll also be trying to pack a few more pounds on Fanny. 

More adventures....and misadventures...to come!






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