Friday, April 06, 2012

Friday Farm Fun - How to milk a Longhorn

About a month ago, when we were on heifer watch waiting for a heifer my husband bought at the sale to have a calf, he brought home a longhorn heifer that was pregnant. Have I mentioned my husband can't pass up a deal?  Especially if he can get two cows for the price of one.

Well the longhorn heifer had her calf on Wednesday. It was a bull calf, about twenty pounds. Yep, he's a small one. My hubby named him Half Pint. When he acted weak as if he wasn't getting milk, my husband ran the heifer in the squeeze chute to milk her. Turns out she's a lot tamer than we thought. She stood and allowed him to move her legs around so he could milk into a can. We then put the milk in a bottle and fed the calf.  Hubby then milked her some more and I fed Half Pint this morning.

That was a spine tingling experience. While my husband said and I noticed the heifer appeared tame, it's another thing to be bent over feeding the calf and have her come up and sniff you. She even licked my hand as I held the calf's chin while he sucked on the bottle. The scary part is she doesn't realize her horns stick out. The closer her nose came to me the closer the point of her horn came to my face. While she appeared just curious, if she swung her head, I'd be gored by one of her horns.

After feeding Half Pint, I carried him out into the sun and then retrieved him when the sun went away and popcorn snow started falling. Thursday night my husband looped a rope around the heifer's neck, made a halter from the rope and tied her to a post. Then he pushed the calf up to sucked since the heifer would walk away when the calf walked toward her udder. After the calf finished, my husband milked her some more for me to feed the calf in the morning again.

Not all calving is this time intensive but when my hubby brings home "good deals" it's a pretty good bet, it means more work!


Gemma K. Murray said...

I was raised on a dairy farm in lower Michigan. I can sympathize with you on the calf watch!
While we never had longhorns, even the shorter horns can get a little intimidating.
One winter, a cow got curious, somehow got her horn hooked inside my coat pocket and lifted me right off the ground. It scared my parents horribly.
Should I mention that we had a bull who LOVED to play tag. Neighbors were scared when they'd see this bull charging at one of us kids from across the field. He'd gallop toward us, stop just short of hitting us, then 'boop' us with his nose and the game would be on:)

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Wow! You're braver women than me, ladies. I was chased by a bull as a kid and have been scared to death of cattle ever since. Heading to our ranch in the mountains as I type this, and I'll keep my window shut until I am safe behind the closed gate.

Lauri said...

Yes, it sounds like work, but I have to admit, it sounds fun! Happy Easter!

Paty Jager said...

Gemma, Those Holstein bulls can be huge! I can see why your neighbors were scared for you. Our daughter had a dairy cow for 4-H. She was the most comical cow I've ever seen.

Mackenzie, Have a great weekend!

Thanks Lauri! You too!

danita cahill said...

So glad you posted photos of the longhorn pair. I'm fond of longhorns. There's a good-sized herd near our house. I love this time of year when they are calving. It's fun to photograph them. Some of the calves are speckled all over with white. So cute! I've always heard longhorns are tame and sweet-tempered. Hope your little guy continues to gain strength. I think small calves are the norm for the breed.