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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Jun 06 2015 :  7:33:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Elli's giving us a new test. She's decided that if we let her out to pasture that she doesn't want to come in for milking. I didn't work nearly as hard on halter training as I should have before she calved. Usually I would just go out and brush her and then get her a grain treat and she'd follow me right into the stanchion. As a result halter training wasn't nearly as necessary as it seems to be now. For the last week we have been letting her out every morning after milking and then putting her in the pen at night before milking and to stay the night where there is shelter.

However, yesterday my husband and I were both sweating when we were done getting her in. One of us was pulling and the other was pushing. Elli was feeling very stubborn and tossing her head and going nowhere. We gave her lots of opportunities to go herself and she refused. As a result I didn't let her out after milking this morning. I don't want to teach her bad habits or put up with bad attitude. It really seems to be a mental thing with her right now. If she's out on the pasture she eats pretty much constantly, but the same grass grows in the pen and she doesn't eat it. She only wants hay.

Tonight she wouldn't go into the stanchion. Usually I will give her a little nudge on her hip bone and she'll go right in. It was a no go tonight. Since I watched Gus drink some off all four quarters an hour before I decided I would let her stew. Maybe she will be uncomfortable enough in the morning to make her want to come in.

You all know she decided she didn't want her alfalfa pellets and now she has decided she doesn't care about her grain treat either. However, once she's in the stanchion she eats it. I'm feeling very much like a first time mom with too much focus on her one kid. Once I have this experience under my belt, I'll know what to do in the future, but right now I'm feeling like I'm ruining my cow. When I let her have her way it feels like I'm giving into a child's tantrum, but I think by forcing her physically to go where I want I'm forcing her into a power struggle. The thing is she is a very sweet docile cow and I don't want what I do to change that.

Does anyone have some halter training ideas? What if I lead her around her pen and reward her with pieces of cow cookies when she does it herself? I really have no idea what the best thing to do is in this situation.

maryjane

6836 Posts


Posted - Jun 06 2015 :  9:32:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Could she be in heat? They can get feisty when in heat. I think it was wise you kept her in. When you approach her when she's in the field, does she let you walk right up to her and put on a halter, then attach a lead rope? If so, is that how you've been bringing her in?

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Jun 07 2015 :  2:39:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
no advice from the newby, but i am here for support! i appreciate you sharing these things Keeley as it really helps those of us a bit farther behind you in the experience. just keep your chin up. its like when your hubby or kids drive you crazy, you just have to keep saying to yourself "i love you, i love you, i love you" ... so you don't kill them...

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - Jun 07 2015 :  4:14:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I know when Harriet is in heat I actually have to get behind Her to get Her anywhere...She was never halter trained but moved by getting behind Her and the old get a long yup yup to make Her move..normally She will run you over for the grain.

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Jun 07 2015 :  4:16:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There isn't anything on Elli I can't touch. I walk up to her in the pasture and put her halter and lead rope on and then she stands there and her eyes say, "Okay, now make me move. Bet you can't." Since her halter is loose now that she's lost weight it's pretty ineffective, so I need to get a smaller one. But I also need to train her to be respectful of it much more as well. That's the part I'm not sure what to do.

If she is standing somewhere I can strip her teats, but I don't think she'd stay in one place long enough for me to milk her out. Maybe I should try to milk her if she's not in the stanchion and see what happens just as a backup plan. I know she would prefer to be out to pasture and it would be better for Gus to be with the other cows. Even if I can't let her out of the pen I'll have times where I let him out for sure.

She could be in heat I guess. How long after they calve do they usually start cycling again? I know our Red Angus heifer is in heat right now, but she's bellowing about it. Elli's not.
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Jun 07 2015 :  4:20:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Elli used to be the same, Ron. That's why I didn't worry too much about halter training. Now that she's off her feed it's a problem. I think I'll skip the alfalfa pellets tonight and add a little organic corn and barley to her other grain plus a little molasses. Maybe alfalfa pellets are just for cow cookies and more alfalfa hay is needed instead.

Thanks for the encouragement, Cindy. It helps!
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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - Jun 07 2015 :  5:03:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Harriet will tap dance for corn! Hay is alfalfa and grass. Treat is oats,corn and flax with kelp.

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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NellieBelle

10996 Posts


Posted - Jun 07 2015 :  5:48:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm like Cindy. Don't know what's going on with Elli. Nellie can act up a bit when in heat. But nothing I can't handle. Like Harriet, they come to the barn almost before I do because they know they will get some feed/treat. Then it's out of the barn for hay, and then they have free access to the pasture. If they are in the pasture when it's time to milk I just holler "Come on" and here they come, sometimes they run to the barn. my steers are the same way. If I want them they come to me. Then like you said, she went into the stanchion without a problem this morning, so who knows? May have been in heat.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Jun 08 2015 :  6:43:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Today we had no issues morning or night. In fact this evening I went out a little early to brush her and hang out and she went to the stanchion and looked for a treat. I asked her if she was ready to milk and she looked at me like, "Uh lady, that's what we do, right?" I went and got all my stuff and milked her and she was wonderful. Mind you, I'm not letting her out of the pen yet. We are going to get the halter figured out first! My husband walked her around in the pen with it some today, but it was a crazy day for the kids and I so I didn't get a chance to see what he did. I'll find out soon.
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NellieBelle

10996 Posts


Posted - Jun 08 2015 :  6:58:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So glad things are going better today Keeley. Makes life easier.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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CloversMum

3479 Posts


Posted - Jun 16 2015 :  08:44:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How are things going with Elli now? Is she still doing great during milking?

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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maryjane

6836 Posts


Posted - Jun 16 2015 :  11:57:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Animals have their moods just like we do. As I geared up to start milking my seasoned milkers again, Miss Daisy and Sally O'Mally, I realized I was a tad nervous--it's been a while--they've just given birth--they have to be separated from their babies, etc.

The first time I milked Miss Daisy (after waiting until the 24 hour colostrum thing had passed), she didn't want to go into the milking parlor, no matter the treat, but she was willing to stand un-haltered outside looking back at me while I milked her by hand. Seriously, she didn't flinch. The problem with that is her back teats are so small I can only use my thumb and pointer finger. Slow going to say the least. So I did that for two days. The third day, I walked her into the parlor but didn't milk her there. I took her back out and milked her just outside the parlor but with my EZ Milker plugged in. That went well but I couldn't keep things sterile so the chickens got the milk. The next day she walked right into the parlor, put her head into the gate, let me milk gallons out of her, didn't poop/pee. Just like it used to be (although this morning when I milked her she did let loose a couple of times but I have a cool set-up to share for capturing it before it hits the ground). I have no idea what she was thinking or reacting to for the first couple of days but did you hear my sigh of relief yesterday morning? And this morning I am the proud owner of five gallons of milk!

I milked Sally O'Mally for the first time early this morning also. Same nervousness. Guess what? Piece of cake. She let me walk her away from her baby. She stood quietly even after she was out of grain. Didn't poop/pee and gave me 2.5 gallons of gorgeous, foamy milk.

Neither gal shows any sign of mastitis, babies are happy. Family is happy to have milk again. Can you tell I feel accomplished as in mission accomplished?!!! Just like you experienced, Keeley, one never knows completely what the next day will bring when it comes to milking cows. A good day milking is a GOOD DAY!

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Jun 16 2015 :  12:57:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For sure, MaryJane! Elli is still a treat to milk when she's in the pen, except our new challenge is separating her and Gus. She is a very good mama and she worries when she can't see him. I usually let him out when/if I milk in the morning and as long as she can see him she's fine, but if he wanders too far then she starts bellowing and letting us all know she's dissatisfied with the situation. We want him to get time with the other cows so he knows his place in the herd and give him time out in the pasture to graze etc., but Elli's halter training is still very much encouragement. I have no doubt that if we let her out we'd be milking in the pasture or pushing/pulling again.

Lately I've noticed that if I milk her before I let him back in she holds back milk. I can see that she's not letting me have as much milk as she has and when she lets her milk down for him it looks like she hasn't been milked at all. We've gone from around 2 gallons a day to sometimes less than half a gallon. (She doesn't trust me to take care of him even though usually if he hasn't been on at all I'll leave two teats for him to drink.) Today I got about half a gallon this morning after Gus ate. I let him have lots of time to get his milk and then it looked like she had extra so I went ahead and milked too. I think she had more, but she wasn't sharing anymore. Gus went out to pasture for about 4 hours and then I put him back in. My hope is tonight I'll get more milk since she won't be worried about him. There's always a new challenge to work around, but it's very rewarding.

I also have been making sure I give her a treat that she likes when I milk. I've stopped giving her alfalfa pellets and started giving her the dairy grain mix with a little organic corn and barley topped with a little molasses. Then when I milk I give her hay that's all alfalfa and then the rest of the day provide the grass hay from our pasture. Overall I think we are balancing things out. She's eating better and looking better and we haven't had a lot of power struggles. We'll see what tomorrow brings. On one hand, I don't mind him taking most of the milk. It means we might have an overnight camping trip. On the other hand, I'll miss the milk!
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maryjane

6836 Posts


Posted - Jun 16 2015 :  6:10:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Keeley,
Elli's new treat sounds like something I'd want to eat! I'll bet she's been putting on some weight.

The thing with mothers and calves has been different with all of mine. For example, Miss Daisy never blinked an eye when Ester Lily first approached Sweet William. Nor did she care when the other cows started sniffing her baby. She's protective and makes her mom sound constantly so he knows where she is but on the other hand, Sally O'Mally doesn't object at all when I lead her away for milking (she didn't last calf either) but today when I put the two of them out with just Ester Lily and Sweet William she followed right behind Elsa everywhere and gently used her head if the little calves got close to her baby. Actually, baby Elsa wanted to play but Mom was being super protective. Just doesn't add up sometimes. Such are the ways of cows. I concur, it IS fun to observe and ponder.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Jun 17 2015 :  08:31:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Did I tell you when Elli first had Gus I thought something must have happened to her lungs? I couldn't figure out why she was making a sound she had never made before. It took me most of the afternoon to realize that my cow wasn't "broken" and that it was her mom voice. I'm such a newbie!
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CloversMum

3479 Posts


Posted - Jun 17 2015 :  09:12:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My goats do the same thing, so I'll be sure to watch for Clover's mom voice when she has her calf in just a few months.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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NellieBelle

10996 Posts


Posted - Jun 18 2015 :  04:20:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's one of the most precious parts of a cow having a calf is listening to momma talk, (guide and direct) her little calf. I noticed she was especially more vocal if they got around the other cow or someone new came around she would direct that calf with her subtle moo. Sometimes so gentle you could hardly hear it.(Of course I'm losing my hearing so that could be why I think it's almost inaudible.) Ha! Endearing to say the least.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Jun 18 2015 :  08:10:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's really lovely the way mother nature works, isn't it, Janet?
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NellieBelle

10996 Posts


Posted - Jun 18 2015 :  08:12:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Absolutely Keeley. So thankful.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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