Olivia’s New Calf

cinnamon-birth

This picture was taken about an hour after Olivia's calf was born.

Olivia, our Jersey cow, gave birth to a female pure-bred Jersey calf this morning! It was an unassisted birth. If you would like to learn more about Olivia please read Looking for Another Cow. This is Olivia’s second calf. Olivia’s calf is so beautiful. We are very excited!

It wasn’t easy hand-milking Olivia. Olivia has never been hand-milked before because she came from Wildfire Jersey, a commercial dairy in Armstrong, BC. Olivia has not let us touch her even after four months of daily care. In the past, if we come within touching distance she would always back off. Olivia would show interest when I brushed the other cows but she would never allow me to brush her. Olivia had even managed to partly remove her halter which hung from her neck for months because we couldn’t get close enough to fix it.

Shaen and I spent some time discussing if we should try to milk her now or wait until evening. We knew we had to milk her. Her bag was bursting and her teats were angled off in all directions with the pressure. We knew that Olivia would be uncomfortable with all the pressure in her bag. We also had experience last year with scour. We didn’t want the calf to become sick. We decided to try to milk her this morning. If you don’t know what scour is, please read Patty’s Second Birth for more information.

We took some time to game plan how we were going to handle Olivia. We got all of our equipment ready. We organized two 15-20′ ropes, each with an oval straight gate carabiner on one end. Shaen carried one and I carried the other. We dealt with all the other cows and got their feed ready. We got Olivia’s feed ready and her dairy “treats”. We knew she wouldn’t leave her calf so we used the calf to calm Olivia. One at a time we entered the pen. Shaen checked the calf. He petted and cooed over the beautiful calf. As he was checking the calf, Olivia was watching Shaen, and I clipped the carabiner on Olivia’s harness. I dropped the rope and let Olivia back-up. This was a very important step. If I tried to hold a spooked cow, she would drag me all over creation. I backed out of the pen. After Shaen checked the calf, he picked up the end of the rope and did two turns around a tree. I came back into the pen and walked behind Olivia and Shaen would take up the slack on the rope until Olivia was within a few feet of the tree. Olivia panicked but we got her controlled. Shaen put on another halter. I backed out of the pen and used a low whispering voice to “talk” with Olivia. Olivia was pulling against the tree the whole time Shaen milked her. Because she was pulling, she wasn’t kicking or stepping in the milk pail. The calf slept through the milking.

first-feed

This is Cinnamon's first feed. The chickens are trying to find any small pieces of placenta that Olivia hasn't eaten. Yes, it is a shock the first time you see a cow eating a placenta.

As I whispered calming words to Olivia, she would turn her ears forward in interest. Olivia looked more and more relieved after we got off some of her milk. We milked out 7L and she was still full. Olivia is going to be a high producer of milk. With this type of production, we will have to milk her three times a day. A cow’s first milk is called colostrum. Colostrum is very special. A calf needs colostrum for survival. People like it for its healing qualities. Here is what Weston A Price Foundation says about colostrum:
Cooking with Colostrum
Raw Colostrum Legal in California

Happy Birth Day!

4 thoughts on “Olivia’s New Calf

  1. Shaen and I went milking this morning. I found a mustard colored bowel movement, with a white tinge. This is the beginning of scour. Newman Turner would recommend fasting the calf for 24 hours and giving her garlic. The vets would put her on antibiotics. We are going to watch for today and follow Newman Turner’s advice this evening, if necessary. Of course, this means separating the cow from her calf.

    Last year we had problems with scour too. We didn’t know if it was because the adopted calves had been bottle feed and never naturally feed from their mother and thus were prone to overeating. OR if a Jerseys extreme high production of milk was the problem. I am starting to think it is the high milk production, but I just don’t have the experience to really have an opinion. We are going to seriously milk Olivia down three times today and see if that will stop the scour from developing. If I can, I will try to contact my “natural feeding” Jersey contacts about the situation. They may have some helpful suggestions.

  2. I got in touch with Alice Jongerden. If you have been following the news about raw milk, she used to run Home On The Range now called Our Cows a herdshare program out of Chilliwack, BC. She is presently fighting for your food freedom and your right to have a private contractual agreement with a farmer. For more information, or if you would like to donate to her legal defend fund, please see her website:
    http://www.homeontherangefarms.com/

    Alice knows a lot about cows. She has run a “natural feeding” dairy for as long as I have known her. She has also confined calves and feeds them by bottle in certain situations. She says it is totally possible to leave the calf with the mother, even a high producing Jersey cow. She told me not to worry about the scour because the mother cow’s immunity system will take care of the calf. She likened scour to the mustard colored bowel movements of an infant human.

    She said the reason the scour was so bad last year with the adopted calves was because Patty’s (the adopting mother cow) colostrum and milk protected the calves for the “local” area. The calves had picked up the infection at the other farm. Patty couldn’t protect the calves from that infection.

  3. Just an update. Olivia’s calf did not get scour. She is very healthy and happy. Mom is very protective of her calf and is very maternal. We have settled on the name Cinnamon.

  4. Pingback: Olivia and Cinnamon

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