News from the Barn

It was high time to do something about our milk cow, Ava.

As many of you know, she had a beautiful heifer calf early May (see the full story here) and we, no, I’ve been milking Ava ever since.

may 2017 002

Ava and her brand new calf Poppy

They’re doing very well, and I’d like to continue to milk Ava, but in order to do so we have to find her a boyfriend or a “one-night-stand”.

You know what I mean…

Like humans, cows need to give birth in order to have milk.

dec 2017 020

Ava and Poppy today

Some special cows continue to give milk for a long time, but usually cows have a calf every year. The cycle goes something like this…

… the cow calves, you can milk the cow or share with the calf, get the cow pregnant again 2 months after calving, continue to milk until 2 months before the cow’s due date, stop milking and get ready for a new calf and another cycle of milk.

Anyways, that’s how it’s usually done on the big dairy farms.

Not being a dairy farm, we’ve been a little more lenient in getting Ava pregnant again. The biggest reason for this is that I wasn’t sure what I was doing…..which is often the case. LOL

Before I implement a plan I really gotta do my homework, once I’m comfortable with the procedure or series of events I will usually implement them.

We’ve had a visiting bull on the homestead before, you can read about it here if you wish, and though things went well, it’s not something I’ll do again. Bulls can be very destructive, we lost several up-coming trees, bulls can also be very dangerous. Midnight behaved himself very well, but it was quite a responsibility, one that I’d rather not repeat.

So then what?

It took me a while to familiarize myself with the concept of AI.

That stands for artificial insemination.

There are these huge companies that collect and sell bull semen. They choose the best of the best bulls, collect their semen and then have trained technicians implant said semen into the cows for a small fee. This keeps cows in milk without the need of keeping a bull around.

AI does not work 100%, a lot depends on getting the timing right…which took more reading/learning and studying the cow’s behind. 🙂

After studying one of these company’s websites I made a choice for Ava and had her inseminated by a trained technician during her last heat. Ava remained calm, the guy was quick and the whole thing was over before I knew it had started.

It was very simple and easy.

Now we wait. If Ava doesn’t come in heat again around December the 8th, then we’ll know she’s pregnant.

The lady who owned Ava before told me that Ava always “took” on the first try. Hopefully that’ll be the case again.

Now, what about Ebony?

dec 2017 021

Ebony at 19 months

She’s 19 months now, she seems to be in good shape and has continued to grow a bit since her ordeal with the twin calves last summer. Read all about it here if you like.

A few weeks ago I was wondering why my milk pail was not filling up very well, it took us a while to realize that Ebony was serving herself whenever she wanted! Farmer Hick noticed Ebony sucking on her mother early one morning and then, because he was alerted, caught her several more times during the day. It didn’t take me long to buy some extra weaning rings to put an end to that behaviour. She looks sort of silly…a grown cow with a weaning ring, but we like our milk!

I decided to have Ebony inseminated on her next heat as well, which took place yesterday.dec 2017 006

So if all goes well, we’ll have new calves next August and September.

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