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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Mar 13 2016 :  6:55:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
day fourteen. today i followed maryjane's great advice and brought sally into the milking parlor to just groom , strip and CMT in order to make myself feel better. well, not sure it i feel better, the same or worse. lets see what y'all think.

the CMT test didn't gel hard, and if you swirl the liquid around you don't think it gelled. but if you put your finger in it and pull it back out it has a stringy gel to it. like this (sorry for the dark photo, poor lighting during sunset):



that is the extent of it . if you swirl it around in the testing cups you wouldn't think anything was wrong except it does seem that the bottom of the cups take a bit of time to run from one side of the cup to the other, like i experienced last night. but its not like anything i see on mastitis images of CMT on the web.

this is only in the rear two quarters, not in the front two. the front test feels a bit "thick", not quite slimey and doesn't do this. but those quarters have really subsided.

So here is the view of the udder. front two quarters seem really good, still have an A and AA cup but they really don't have much milk. The back are still spilling out of the C cups, but they are looking better than even just yesterday. with all four quarters it took more squirts milking to get the milk needed for the test, as even just stripping the milk isn't as laden and the teats filled up slower than normal. again, stripping was clean and no junks or clumps at all - nice milk, but like yesterday it is a bit tanner than normal - but not worse than yesterday.



this is after i massaged her with the mastoblast cream on her teats and got her all dynaminted and teat dipped yes, she needs groomed but i have been waiting to do that once the whole drying off process was done...

so, not that you are vets or play one on tv but should i be calling mine at this point? to me, it still seems so little compared to what full blown mastitis appears to be. i am dosing her with vitamin c powder twice a day in a scoop of grain to make sure that is helping. and i gave her some mastoblast and applied the mastocream.

i am going to do some more research now but thought i would post to see what y'all thought. maryjane, my fairy godmother, are you out there?? pretty please.

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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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Mar 13 2016 :  7:39:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
ok, i think i feel ok about this after reading a lot more and researching. but please tell me if you would do differently.

people really believe in this mastoblast stuff, there is a huge following and so many say that where antibiotics failed them this came through. and we are talking serious cases, not something that looks like sally's right now. but people are giving 3 doses of mastoblast on first or second day, and then 2 doses for the next nine days. and seeing massive improvement by day 3-5. i was just giving one dose per day, and just started yesterday. so i think i should go up to 3x day for two days then back off to 2x day for the rest.

i am going to do even more reading, but given she is pregnant and a really healthy cow i feel that i should try this route for another few days. and maybe test again in 2-3 days. tell me if anyone would do different, if you wouldn't mind. and if you think i am nuts and need to call my vet asap i respect that too.

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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maryjane

7024 Posts


Posted - Mar 13 2016 :  7:54:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You can expect some gelling when drying off. Your options are to run a sample of milk from both rear quarters to a lab. It takes 72 hours for the results to come back identifying the bacteria and then another few days to come up with susceptibility to a type of antibiotic. The other route would be to just go head and treat her with an antibiotic (you'd have to get it from your vet). Probably a vet would recommend something like Tomorrow (time-release antibiotic that can't be used closer than 6 weeks before freshening) or Today which is two doses 12 hours apart or Dariclox which is 3 doses 12 hours apart. The problem with just dosing without culturing first is you might not be using the antibiotic best suited for the particular bacteria identified. If it were me, I wouldn't call a vet, especially given your options (overkill in my opinion). I think all is progressing nicely. It doesn't feel to me like she has mastitis.

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

11156 Posts


Posted - Mar 13 2016 :  8:09:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh good, MaryJane responded.

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

Edited by - NellieBelle on Mar 13 2016 8:10:10 PM
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maryjane

7024 Posts


Posted - Mar 13 2016 :  8:23:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cindy, I've been worried about Miss Daisy's two front quarters that continue to gel (not heavily and not every day), so I ran a lab test on all four quarters a few days ago. I heard back from my vet a couple of hours ago and all four are clear, no bacteria. For some reason, her two front quarters struggle more to stay healthy--higher count enough to gel the CMT similar to what you're seeing Cindy. I've tried several home remedies in addition to daily Vit. C so I'm going to quit worrying ... so much:)

I think the two of us should just go antiquing. Want to join us, Janet?



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

3197 Posts


Posted - Mar 14 2016 :  06:47:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
maryjane i am going to tell you something silly. i am literally crying my little eyes out right now from your response below. and i am a TOUGH GIRL, i find many a thing endearing but don't just cry for "no reason". its because you confirmed exactly what i think, i believe this is normal. it is not increasing, not getting worse, just holding its own and it all makes sense after you telling me about drying off naturally "stressing" the cow, and white blood cell counts increasing accordingly. oh, but i do tear up at silly tv commercials. thats just genetic with the estrogen.

i am not stressed per se about sally, but i am thinking about it a bit too much. i realize that. given everything else with this cow/human relationship has gone AMAZING i am putting too much emphasis on the one thing i don't think i have done super well, this drying off process.

i am sorry for making you repeat yourself and give me the same explanation again, you are very patient . but every little bit you add is helpful to me, and i hope to someone else. and your gal sal appreciates all the efforts for sure as it makes her new family mistress better at it.

for anyone else listening, i have even mixed up a fresh batch of the CMT solution, etc to ensure there isn't anything else at play here. it just is what it is.

continuing with vitamin c and mastoblast. i gave another dose of mastoblast this morning. tried this one with a needless syringe in her nostrils, she didn't like that at all and refused to continue with love. i'll stick with dabbing it in her nostrils as she lets me do that, and also adding to her grain as she'll eat it all up.

so ladies, as my mom and i would say, "want to go on an adventure?". meeting for lunch and iced tea somewhere, followed by an antique shop or two would be perfect. then perhaps sneak in a fabric shop for grins and giggles. wish we could all meet up at 11am today ;>

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")

Edited by - txbikergirl on Mar 14 2016 06:53:09 AM
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NellieBelle

11156 Posts


Posted - Mar 14 2016 :  09:11:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sounds good ladies! It would be fun. Hope Sally keeps doing good. Like your daily posts Cindy.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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Sydney2015

1156 Posts


Posted - Mar 14 2016 :  10:02:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I missed most of this, but it will be good to know for AppleButter(but that's in a few years).

A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing - Laura Ingalls Wilder

I live on a small farm of seventy acres called Green Forest Farm, with 10 horses, a donkey, 5 beef cows, 2 beef heifers, 3 Hereford heifers, around 60 chickens, 8 dogs, my amazing cow, AppleButter, and her little Jersey calf HoneyButter!
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Mar 15 2016 :  2:43:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sounds like you and Sally are doing well, Cindy. Keep on keeping on. So very happy to read MaryJane's explainations. And from your description it sounds like Sally is doing just what she should be doing while drying up. Our goats did the same thing with the slight gelling and higher white cell counts. No one ended up with mastitis and all does that have delivered are milking just fine this spring.

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

7024 Posts


Posted - Mar 16 2016 :  05:37:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thinking of Sally this morning and trusting all is well.

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 - Mar 16 2016 :  07:55:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am learning a lot from you, Cindy, as Elli's dry off date approaches.
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Mar 19 2016 :  6:26:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
day 20. so the last day i did anything was last sunday, and today is the following saturday. after the discourse above i just sat back and relaxed and relied on mother nature. i have been giving sally two doses of mastoblast each day and also vitamin c.

but her back quarters never went down. at all. the front were ok, they had done better in the process, but not the rear. so i just decided to leave it until this weekend and not worry. i did some research last night, and everything i read was telling me to milk one last time, just get the liquid out. my gut was telling me that, so i was glad to find some backup for it.

so i milked this morning. there were no clumps, but the milk was that off tannish creamy color i spoke of last week. it didn't smell bad at all, smelled like warm milk. lover boy agreed. not something you would want to consume obviously, and i just poured it out in a weed patch. mastitis test is still fine. a bit of the stick to my fingerness, but no real gelling.

her udder this evening looked FANTASTIC. swishy, healthy, not distended. not fully collapsed like after you have milked five gallons out of a cow - but like how it seems it should look on a dry cow. my gut tells me i am done, i finally got it right.

the most important thing, sally is happy. and she LOVED going to the milking parlor today. she knows now if i bring the halter out before feeding, she comes right away and we head to the parlor... and she has this attitude like it is our date time together or something and she is so happy. so i need to start back bringing her up to the parlor 3-4 times a week "just because".

i was really hesitant about milking one more time, but realize if i had done the initial process faster then i could have done this milking last weekend. we still have just over 7 weeks until the calf is born so i don't think i have compromised her health with a shallow dry period. i think she'll be fine.

this picture shows the milk a little more tan than it was. interesting enough, i got as much milk out of her today as i did before the dry off process even started.

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")

Edited by - txbikergirl on Mar 19 2016 6:31:56 PM
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maryjane

7024 Posts


Posted - Mar 20 2016 :  07:00:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Can't wait to hear what Sal's udder looks like in another week. I've never come across, or thought of, a "final milking" like you've done. Keep us in the know! I'm loving this thread.

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

3197 Posts


Posted - Mar 20 2016 :  08:28:08 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
well, this is dry off day 21 and sally looks GREAT this morning. i truly think i did the right thing milking her yesterday, at first i felt it was a gamble... but with the size of the udders never decreasing i felt it was the right thing to do.

24 hours post milking she is a AAA cup in front and B cup in back. things are loose and look happy.



sorry for the backside photo, the side photos didn't show well. she was shy and kept moving her leg in front, and then after being cleaned up all pretty yesterday she went and laid in a pile last night and the right side is not photo worthy.

what i came down to in my reading was you need a good shock to start the drying process. we all know that, but i don't think i had created a good shock... i had a wimpy reduction that went on for days. this was not official research studies, just book reading in addition to lots of internet blogs from people like us trying to do things the more natural way. and that is why many people just do the "stop milking" one day and leave it. then if the udders aren't decreasing they might go in after 5-7 days and do one more milking just to relieve pressure and empty. i knew from previous reading that once the dry off process is started you really only have 2-3 days to reverse it... but what i kept coming back to is that people this far along in the process normally see a dramatic decrease in udder size, and i was not seeing anything dramatic. or any reduction.

next time i will be much more aggressive with the process. i learned my lesson. and i don't mind that, the learning is what i find fascinating.

the most interesting thing here to me though, is how much has sally's state of mind played into this? she obviously has something going on, other than just maternal hormones, to bring elsa back to nursing after such a long break. and she has bonded to me so much with the milking, it is almost as if she prefers to be with me and be milked... i am wondering mary jane if she has missed other cow companionship and was trying to make up for that. i know she has been a more solitary girl at times, but it is one thing to wish for some solitude while still seeing and smelling and knowing others are around, and another to have the only other cow on the farm be separated from you 24/7 because of weaning. i am truly thinking that she would be in a different state of mind if she had another cow companion to just know is there for her in the same paddock.

the dynamic will change when the new calf arrives, and then over time i'll be able to mix it up and at points have elsa in with sally when the calf is older and being weaned and in its own paddock. perhaps that will help going forward.

i'll keep you posted next week but i am really feeling great now, no second guesses at all.

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")

Edited by - txbikergirl on Mar 20 2016 08:30:06 AM
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Mar 20 2016 :  1:47:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So if you were to do it all again Cindy, you would cut it in half initially, then how soon would you cut it in half again and dry off? What would the overall timeline be from starting dry off to finishing it? You are doing all my homework for me. :) I'm so nervous about drying Elli off.
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Mar 20 2016 :  3:08:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
keeley, i am almost tempted to do the total cold turkey dry off... but i have to think about that.

at a minimum i would cut out all grain and go to low protein diet at least a week before. two days before i would up vitamin c daily. then at a minimum (but this is what i am thinking about right now - so not sure) i would not milk one day, come back and take half the next day, then not milk another day, then come back and take 1/4... and then sit back and not milk again. so thats the "compromise" version for us people that can't go cold turkey but aren't successful with the "slow it down" version.

i think to get the good shock you need to get it done in 3-4 days, not drag it on and on.

i am reading more about cold turkey and thinking about that. seriously thinking about it. and keeley, it absolutely matters if your cow is more prone to mastitis or not. sally seems to be about as unable to get mastitis as you can hope, given you are clean and sanitary in handling her.

also, i would ensure i gave her two does of mastoblast the day before i stopped milking and continue that for a week. natural treatment "just in case".

i am trying to figure out how much of this was a calf sneaking back in on momma, and her production up much more than i realized right before... and then me not cutting back HARD the first day.

when do you start the dry off process? remember, i am totally new to cows in every regard, but this drying off process is the first thing i have encountered that is done so many different ways. l ike raising children ;> and there are lots of experienced people on here that have much more knowledge than me... but us newbies sometimes have the same questions/concerns so can address it differently than they do.

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")

Edited by - txbikergirl on Mar 20 2016 3:10:28 PM
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Mar 20 2016 :  3:58:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm thinking we may start the dry off process in April. Elli may or may not be bred for a fall calf, but she will have been in milk for about a year in April. I want her to have a long period of eating and building body condition. However, a lot of it depends on when Alex starts bagging up to calve as well.
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Mar 20 2016 :  6:22:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
keeley, how much milk are you getting? that is another variable that i am considering, as i was getting only 1 gallon a day - so even though i cut it in half, is going from one gallon to a half gallon enough of a shock? just a half gallon reduction? if i am back at one gallon a day next time then cold turkey sounds good to me.

i would be interested though in hearing mary jane's comments, as she has some other lower producing cows so perhaps she has had great experience at doing it gradually even with one gallon per day cows. mary jane had great success drying off sally gradually over a few days previously, several times at that, so i don't know how much of my experience is just me or also some sally in a different physical/mental/emotional place.

i am really excited to hear about your experience, so if you are up to it adding your daily diary here would be fantastic. i am really glad i started it as it lets me go back and review the details.

and i don't take any offence to anyone adding any advice as to what i may have done wrong, or telling me what works better for you. so please everyone chime in if you have something smarter/wiser/sillier than me ;>

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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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Mar 20 2016 :  8:18:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am getting about 2.5 gallons of milk a day on once a day milking, but I already know Elli's milk production is very affected by her feed. In the fall when we pulled the calf off her due to her teat injury she was giving us 4.5 gallons milking twice a day. There was no way at that point that I could ever see milking once a day.

Then our pasture decreased a lot and I was lucky to get a gallon of milk milking twice a day, so I went to once a day milking. When I realized that it was a feed issue I increased her feed and got her back up to 2.5 gallons once a day. I felt confident that her udder would hold that much without issue since she was doing it on twice a day milking with her higher production. Since I know this now I think I would cut all alfalfa hay and grain before dry off to cut her production as naturally as possible first.

For me I think it is just a case of never having done it before and so I'll be nervous until we are on the other side.
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Mar 21 2016 :  05:34:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
just like me keeley, nervous until you have done it once.

i have also thought feed was an issue here as right when we dried her off we put her in the fresh pasture with seriously lush grass. thinking back on it, we should have waited another week to do that. why would we increase her feed intake when drying her off?

the newbie humans don't always get it right...

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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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Mar 22 2016 :  9:01:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great job, Cindy. And thank you for recording all of this.

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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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Mar 23 2016 :  06:46:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
if nothing else charlene, it lets other newbies know what NOT to do ;>

its been four days since the final milking, sally's udder is just gorgeous. has a bit of fullness, but swishy and roomy. not full like it was before, essentially after i milked that day w/in 24 hours it just looked healthy and hasn't changed since. and since then, she has gotten even more affectionate with me. thinking she is happy with the direction i went. only time will tell.

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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maryjane

7024 Posts


Posted - Mar 24 2016 :  08:15:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hoping all is still swishy with Sally. Having dried off quite a few cows over time, I think I'm guilty of beginner's luck initially such that once I started to really contemplate it, I was probably more confident than I should have been. In all these years, I'd never had a case of mastitis until I brought Fanci home and then recently Miss Daisy kept getting mastitis in one of her quarters. How's that for weighing in Cindy?:)

To be slightly more scientific about it, I think in every case I probably took about half one morning, half the next, half again the next day, waited a few days, tested, took a tad more, tested, tested, and then called it good. I didn't cut back on feed thinking I didn't want to have any more disruption than necessary to her daily routine, plus she's in the later stages of pregnancy and needing plenty of nutrition for that purpose. I do know that I monitor grain and feed uptake closely based on body condition. The beauty of a cow is that when they start looking too skinny, it's easily remedied, like in a day or two. It's how they tell you they need more food. Once my cows are dried off I can tell by their body mass whether or not to slowly cut back once they quit giving milk. But at that moment in time, they're also feeding a fetus that is going to put on its most growth in the last two months. I'm intrigued with the one last milking you did Cindy and want to try that next time. It makes sense that once they've stopped production, you might as well clean it out so they don't have to put energy into reabsorbing it.

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

3197 Posts


Posted - Mar 24 2016 :  11:48:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
sally is going GREAT may jane, just swishy and soft as they should be. my peace of mind is back.

i have decided to go cold turkey with milking her next time if the production is down to 1-1.5 gallons. then i will wait 5-6 days, test and milk all out. and done. it just makes the most sense to me given how nature works, and if she cut her calf off it would be cold turkey. but i think i'll cut back her grain and other stuff two weeks prior to get that steady before, and to see what her "real" production is before drying off.

i have to tell you once i did that last milking sally really relaxed and became herself again. is it because i took her back up to the parlor and she got special attention? or because i was over worried about the process and she picked up on that and reflected it to me? or perhaps she needed that last milking and wasn't happy until she got it? or the human is just waaaay over thinking the process? i don't know...

its all tremendously fascinating for me. nature is amazing.

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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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Apr 09 2016 :  7:56:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
so i have been doing further reading on the drying off process since i did it the last month, as i wanted to learn from my experience and determine now (while it was fresh in my mind) what i would do different next time.

in "keeping a family cow", "if... she is giving twenty pounds or less (two and a half gallons) of milk each day , simply stop milking. cut out her grain and feed her your second rate hay. don't bring her into her milking area or do any of the things that encourage letdown.

that right there is what i had felt i should have done once i got too far along the process. the udder needs a shock, and getting 1-2 gallons a day isn't enough to do the "taper off" process with drying off. cold turkey is the ticket under these circumstances.

what i also thought was really neat, "within a week to ten days it should stay flabby. don't test it by taking a few squirts, as the teats will have formed an antibacterial plug that should be left in place.". thats phenomonal, nature knows what to do. and thats why you want to get the drying off right as you don't want to be wimpy like me and then have to milk seven days later because you didn't get the right shock.

i have been reading in a couple of places to move the cow to just hay and grazing when drying off, and then keep her on that for the two months prior to calving to avoid milk fever. all the holistic tomes seem to agree . "dairy farming the beautiful way" talks about drying off in winter to prep for spring calving, "return your cows to the pasture...the remaining scant bits of low quality forage will be perfect for drying off your cows. you cannot dry off your cows while feeding them dairy quality hay.".

anyway, my plan next time is to go cold turkey and let mother nature do her job. i got the gradual diet change working up to drying off down, just now the actual drying off process ;>

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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