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 Daisy's first calf. Questions on milking

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hugho Posted - Apr 10 2019 : 08:05:21 AM
Daisy went into labor 1 day before her due date based on MJ's gestation table. I guess that is 282 days. Her labor was surprisingly short and she pushed out a bull calf with only 8 or 10 contractions with me assisting gently. 2 hooves and a nose. I did check her early on and felt a nose behind the hooves. Brisk rubdown and Daisy took over. An amazing attentive mother. She had a low pitched moo sound I have never heard, obviously a calf call. I have read and re read MJ's section on milking in her book as well as Jo Anne Grohman's book and I want to avoid any health issues like mastitis. I milked out a few qts of colostrum with the udderly easy hand milker After an hour of trying to get the calf to nurse I fed it the colostrum . Today is the 2nd full day and the calf found the teats yesterday. All is well. I wonder when we should try to milk her. I plan to follow MJ's advice and split the milk between us and the calf but am unsure how to proceed. Morning vs evening, how much to milk out, etc. Basic questions... This is my first calf but I have delivered my share of human births when I was a Doc and we also have sheep so the drill is similar. We have a wonderful big animal vet Dr Laura Meadows here in Wilson who kept her phone on for me but fortunately she wasn't needed. We are under yet another winter storm warning here in Wyoming and still have over 2 feet on the ground. sure could use a little spring weather but winter just hangs on. We had a roof avalanche off the sheep shed which buried and killed our prize ram before I could dig him out. I think having a farm in San Diego would be easier!
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maryjane Posted - Apr 11 2019 : 1:26:54 PM
Using my side rail, I put a quick flank wrap around Lizzy (first-time heifer) this morning because she was starting to use her feet during milking (that's not the case at all during washing--she just stands there).

Once I have a flank rope tightened, I would normally hobble feet, then loosen the flank rope during milking to allow for good let-down, then tighten it once I'm done so I can take the hobbles off safely, but she still let-down nicely with the flank rope tight the entire time, so I didn't hobble her and she didn't lift her foot even once. Consequently, we both enjoyed our time together a whole lot better. I try to break any kind of foot habit from the get go.
hugho Posted - Apr 11 2019 : 07:50:33 AM
Thank you MaryJane. You are a great help and your book is invaluable. I get the cleanliness emphasis. I am building the tubing restraining bar and a stanchion like you have in your book for Daisy. She dances around too much at the moment but she is a good girl and lets down for me. My vet says I am the only person with dairy cows she knows of but there are lots of people who want raw milk. At the farmers market they charge $4 a qt! And the cream is pulled off! I have people asking for the milk but I have no interest in marketing it. Our extended family and the pigs and chickens should take care of any excess.
maryjane Posted - Apr 10 2019 : 6:29:53 PM
Thought I'd snap a photo of Maggie's udder when I fed everyone a few minutes ago.

Can you guess which side baby nursed on recently?

And Lizzy's pretty-in-pink, first-time udder. So far, she's a good milker.

maryjane Posted - Apr 10 2019 : 5:24:43 PM
I start drinking the milk on about day 3 or 4. Finally! The day you've waited so long for!!!
maryjane Posted - Apr 10 2019 : 5:23:12 PM
When I milk my new mommas tomorrow morning, I'll probably find one quarter completely empty or only slightly empty (I'll drain it anyway). With such young calves at least one, if not two quarters will be dangerously full. In the beginning, when calves are so young and small, they can't possibly drink all that milk. As you work with the udder, you'll be able to get a good handle on what baby is doing while you're away and not watching. Some calves will nurse from only one side for quite some time.
maryjane Posted - Apr 10 2019 : 4:15:38 PM
What I did with Linus recently was milk Momma out completely after he got his colostrum. If you're keeping them together, you can set up a once-a-day schedule and go for it from now on because your little guy will almost always have taken what he needs. If he was just about to nurse and you took all the milk, he'll be fine until she starts to have some milk again, which is pretty fast when a cow has just freshened. Not to worry! Your job now is to monitor and take good care of that udder. And the best way to do that is to get it drained at least once a day, dipped, handled, and cleaned.