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T O P I C    R E V I E W
maryjane Posted - Nov 11 2014 : 10:48:50 AM
I thought with winter setting in, it might be a good time to start a thread where we get to wax eloquent about our animals. You know the details that only we see and recognize … and think about when the days are short and the nights are long. The little things. The subtle differences between Billy and Bob, Betsy and Bessy.

Maizy would be my first pick to describe because she’s my most complicated cow. Consequently, she’s the one I think about the most.

Maizy came to me sight unseen. I’d had a Jersey milk cow for a few years when I decided it was time to also own a bull. Because my cow was full-size, I thought a smaller bull would be a good idea. I went to one of the miniature Jersey cow websites/registries and sent off a deposit on a bull. Little did I know that little could mean big angst. Not a bad thing necessarily because that experience is what led me to this, a place for honesty, integrity, disclosure. But I digress.

My bull would be traveling some 2,300 miles in the heat of the summer. I had no idea he would make that trip at only two months of age. I thought I was buying a bull, not a calf. But I trusted the seller to guide me. I was a novice.

The trucker was a friend of the seller. Before his departure, he called to ask me if I could help him out by also adopting (for a small fee) a 10-month old miniature Jersey heifer and a 5-month old miniature palomino horse. “Perhaps,” I said. “The heifer is definitely a miniature Jersey, right?” I asked. “Sure thing, ma’am. A woman who owes me money gave me a cow instead and there ain’t no big cows on her farm.”

I remember vividly the day Maizy arrived along with baby Milky Way (my bull) and Nutmeg, my horse (none of them had names that he knew of). I walked to the back of the trailer, anxious to meet the new members of my family but the trucker put his hand out instead. “Cash right here in the palm of my hand first, then you get to see what I’ve brought you.” After our “transaction,” out stumbled Maizy, Milky Way, and Nutmeg, dehydrated and covered in crap. My husband remembers Milky Way’s “big sweet terrified eyes.” I remember Maizy’s eyes.

Maizy grew to be a full-size Jersey. She’d had a broken hip in her previous life that mended poorly. She had horns that were difficult to remove.

Maizy has food “issues.” She’s always afraid she won’t be fed. I can only imagine.

She’s my dominant cow and keeps everyone in line but she’s surprisingly loving in her dominance. Bravado, love. Bravado, love. She treats me no different. Forceful but sweet and like my husband says, “Wicked smart.”

Maizy has learned how to open most of our gates. She catches on to changes in her routine almost instantly. “Here’s a new waterer in which you have to push a paddle to get water.” Got it. “Here’s where I want you to stand while I get things ready to milk you.” Got it. “Your name is Maizy not Daisy and I want you to come when I call you Maizy with an M, not a D.” No problem. “Now I want you to get pregnant.” Done. “Now I want to dry you up.” Done. “I think you might have mastitis I’m struggling to clear up so I’ve made an appointment tomorrow morning to take you to the vet.” Gone (the very next morning)!

Pretty much Maizy dominates me also. Unless, unless, she decides otherwise, but really all I can ever do is suggest what I need her to do. She’s never kicked me or butted me with her head and I could milk her in the field if I wanted but she’s pinned me against a wall once and a gate another time (bruising one of my ribs) just to serve notice. “I decide, okay? I’m in charge.” About a month ago I needed to milk sweet, sweet docile Miss Daisy every day BEFORE Maizy (for a variety of reasons). Usually Maizy thunders to the door of the milking parlor (she’s big and pushy), first in line. But within three days, she started standing way off in the field while I brought Daisy in. As I milk Daisy now, Maizy slowly works her way towards the gate and then stands off to the side so she can watch what we're doing, waiting until Daisy is out the door before coming anywhere near the gate. Why? Daisy is the lowest in the pecking order here so Maizy has taken it upon herself to change the tenor of that. She has Daisy on a pedestal these days. She licks her on and off all day and keeps the others from picking on her. She stands back while I milk Daisy first. All this happened shortly after Daisy lost her 5-month old calf to hip dysplasia. How’s that for “thoughtful?” Of course, cows think, feel, and know. You only need know Maizy to know that.

But the real heart wrenching, heart stab moments that have happened between Maizy and me are when she cries and I hold her. I’m serious. Tears have streamed down her face a total of four times now. I described one of those moments in my book.

Maizy has given me three calves, Etta Jane, Otis (a steer), and Rose Etta. She’s due again March 30.

25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Ron Posted - Nov 23 2014 : 4:13:57 PM
So hard to tell Keeley. I guess give her what Shevwants and don't rock the boat for a while. Maybe She knows something we dont?

Mike, so what's up with the cow?
CloversMum Posted - Nov 23 2014 : 2:43:17 PM
And I used to think cows weren't very smart...I was the dumb one for sure! They are amazing creatures!
farmlife Posted - Nov 23 2014 : 2:29:24 PM
That's interesting, Ron because when I wear leather work gloves she seems calmer than when I wear my thinsulate style ones. She still prefers no gloves at all though. I was wondering if it is a smell thing. As soon as I take my gloves off she licks me.
Mike Posted - Nov 23 2014 : 2:21:48 PM
Yeah, one of my first cows, #54 was called 'head shy' after I got her home and had trouble with her. She still is. She's going down the road when she's bred. She is okay in a herd and finds a stanchion okay but as an individual she's a handful. Anyone want a handful of Jersey? She was good for three or four gallons a day.

Ron Posted - Nov 23 2014 : 1:57:21 PM
It could be very well that somewhere along the line She had been scared by someone wearing gloves similar.i know cows don't like change and maybe she is just still getting used to it all. Diffrent gloves maybe? :)
farmlife Posted - Nov 23 2014 : 1:20:22 PM
Okay, since I can ask: Does anyone else have trouble with their cow(s) responding differently to their winter gear? Elli seems to really dislike my gloves in particular. She'll toss her head and act unsure even if I'm talking to her, but if I take of my gloves she immediately calms down.
Ron Posted - Nov 22 2014 : 5:09:17 PM
It actually was not that bad looking issue was I knew nothing and didn't know who to ask. Lucky for you that you are pretty well informed and have us all here to help any way we can!
farmlife Posted - Nov 22 2014 : 4:58:23 PM
I'm just praying that my first cow story doesn't go anything like yours, Ron. Time will tell!
Ron Posted - Nov 22 2014 : 06:20:40 AM
I agree Mary Jane. How about true . I guess that's what we are shooting for. People treating each othe with respect and I guess honesty plays in there some where.
I think most of my negative experiences have been though to my lack of during my due diligence one whatever the subject might be and so making an uninformed choice.
Bless your golden heart for starting this as well as others giving people a way to get informed on many subjects!
maryjane Posted - Nov 22 2014 : 05:45:43 AM
Ron, your first cow experience is unfortunately the norm it seems. Also commonplace is the fact that once someone decides to "unload" an animal, they give themselves permission to tell you what you want to hear rather than what is. Drives me insane.

Although, the stories do take on some humor as the years pass. So yeah, I've heard plenty of painful/funny stories that could be book material for sure. And I have my own to share.

Instead of, how about
CloversMum Posted - Nov 20 2014 : 8:25:57 PM
Thank you for posting your story of your first cow, Ron. You made me smile and laugh a little. Since I am experiencing my first cow myself, I am appreciating all the info posted here. Reading your post made me feel very thankful so far in what has happened in Clover's life. And, yes, she has survived in spite of me!
Janet, that would be a great book...stories of everyone's first cow, wintertime reading around the evening fire. Some stories would be humorous and I'm sure some would be uplifting.
NellieBelle Posted - Nov 20 2014 : 4:41:20 PM
This is my favorite part of the chatroom, love to read the histories and stories. Don't get me wrong, all the valuable information is definitely what I need, but I love this. Please continue on with Speckles.
Ron Posted - Nov 20 2014 : 4:19:08 PM
Oh no kidding. I was so uninformed. Learned everything but it it wrong. Poor cow. At least I kept her fed and warm and tried to be her friend. Just could not get a mellow milking. Head in a head gate, legs hobbled and she always pooped! Lol..nothing like the guernseys I have owned.
Next cow when I can find the picture will be Speckles!
NellieBelle Posted - Nov 20 2014 : 3:27:10 PM
I enjoyed reading about your first cow experience Ron. How about a book, short stories of first cow experiences. Best seller I guarantee. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I absolutely love this. Guess we all have to learn. I would have liked to have found this chatroom before I bought my first cow.
Ron Posted - Nov 20 2014 : 2:44:19 PM
Well as the topic stated let me count the ways! I wanted to introduce my very first cow Martha. Boy looking back I realize now how much I did not know about anything cow related. I bought Martha from a man who was moving and unloading all the things he was not taking. He sort of smiled slyly when I bought Martha and loaded Her up. I paid five hundred dollars and was heading down the road with visions of white creamy milk hitting the bottom of that stainless steel pail! What did I know. Come to find out she had not been milked in a month and her calf was about ten months old. Needles to say milk was slim to none. I also could not figure out why whenever I tried to milk her she would try to kick my head off. I figured I must be doing something wrong. Anyway I was told by a friend ( who nicknamed the cow goofy ) that I should just dry her off and breed her. Hauled Martha out to his ranch and left her there for six months and she bred to a British white bull.
Fast forward to calving time, Martha calved a very large bull calf on a October Sunday morning right at the start of one of these very cold spells. I went out to check her and there lay a pile of half frozen calf in the corner. I panicked, I had no idea what to do! I called around for help and all I could get was an old rancher telling me you gotta warm it up now boy! I asked how? He said get it in the bathtub with warm water. I said you kidding? He said, do I sound like I am kidding? Well, hung up the phone and tried to pick up this eighty pound calf. Not happening. More panick. Look around saw a tarp! Yes, put calf on tarp drag to house, pull up ramp. Got the poor thing in the house. It is trying to stand up on the linoleum floor. Not happening. Cats scattering everywhere. It was crazy. Ok. Now What? Elaine says try the blow dryer. Finally found it plugged it in and start warming the calf. Finally, things going my way! Phone rings, my rancher friend calling back. Said we did good warming calf. Asked if the calf nursed yet? I said, I have no idea. He said you better give it a bottle of colostrum. ( about now it is me needing a bottle and I don't mean milk ) I asked him how do I do that? He said milk some from the cow you idiot. Duhhhh, ok, the fun starts now.
Went out to the barn and there stands Martha with the after birth hanging half out of her. She is a mess. I figure I will just milk out some milk get it to the calf, problem solved.
I spent the next half hour chasing a mess of a cow around the barn trying to get a little milk out of her while she is trying to get away and kick thevdaylights out of me.
Well long story short, calf lived. We named him Big Mack and he and his Mom now live on a ranch about twenty miles west of here. I tried to use Martha as a milk cow but She never really settled down here and just never seemed to fatten up. Who knew that's what milk cows looked like.
Pictures to follow are Martha and calf.
farmlife Posted - Nov 19 2014 : 04:57:16 AM
Can't wait to see it in print. The preschool teacher in me is excited!
CloversMum Posted - Nov 14 2014 : 4:58:15 PM
I am going to get this for my grandson! I will love reading it to him!!
chives Posted - Nov 13 2014 : 8:42:59 PM
Love,love,love it
Ron Posted - Nov 13 2014 : 3:36:29 PM
Wow...another wonderful work of art. So. Moooving. :)
NellieBelle Posted - Nov 13 2014 : 3:24:26 PM
I know I've already had the pleasure and honor of reading your book, and I find it endearing as well as outstanding. It makes me want a milk cow and I already have two. Just a wonderful book and you and Megan have done a great work. Thanks again for sharing it with us all. Waiting for it to come to bookstores! Moorah!
maryjane Posted - Nov 13 2014 : 2:09:02 PM
Funny that you should ask, my daughter and I just sent our children's book off to the printer. It will take about 3 months before we get it back. Here's the front cover, a few inside pages, and the back cover. We're excited!

CloversMum Posted - Nov 13 2014 : 10:50:26 AM
I second the idea about children's books about cows! Expand on how to care for them, how the cows have feelings, etc. You could influence a new generation in a positive manner. You do have one children's story coming out next year, right? Sounds like you could do a complete series...just in case, you didn't have anything to do! haha
chives Posted - Nov 12 2014 : 8:26:52 PM
Maryjane you should write children books about your cows. I bet you have some stories. It would be a great way for kids to learn about cows.
farmlife Posted - Nov 11 2014 : 5:08:47 PM
I'm glad she found you as well. It sounds like you both understand and respect each other (as long as you remember that she is in charge). It gives me hope as Elli and I get to know each other that we'll get each other figured out as well.
Ron Posted - Nov 11 2014 : 11:29:14 AM
**sniff sniff**. What a touching cow story!