For the next few weeks, we will be releasing previous posts from the old website.
By Abby Akin
February 24, 2011
We currently have two cows: Vista, our black, Dexter heifer, and Ruthie, our Jersey. Vista and Ruthie both have sweet personalities, and beautiful eyes. Vista is due with a calf in April, and Ruthie is due with a calf in June/July. We can pet and halter both of them, but Ruthie leads better than Vista.
To take care of them, including milking Ruthie, it takes about 15 minutes in the morning, and 45 minutes at night. However, we also have other animals to take care of, so the time spent caring for the cows, gets blended in with taking care of all the other animals. We make sure they have clean water. If they don’t, we give them some with a hose. We feed our cows and other animals hay, grain, sunflower seeds, kelp, minerals, and, in the spring through fall, they have grass. When the grass is in season, we do not feed them as much hay as we do in the winter time. Since it is winter time right now, we give them their hay twice a day. Once a day, Vista gets about 2 lbs. of grain, while Ruthie gets about 3 lbs. of grain(this amount can vary). We feed grain in the evening. The reason for this program, is that we milk Ruthie in the evening, because milking fits into our schedule better that way.
To milk Ruthie, we do so in a process. First we make sure we have everything clean for milking. To do so, we make sure everything (strainers, milking buckets, towels, jars, etc.), is clean! Well, we aren’t that worried about everything being perfect. My family trusts that healthy cows give healthy milk, but we still want our milking supplies to be clean. We then round up everybody for “chores”, and head outside. For the evening “chores” we dish up their grain, and get everything ready for milking. We then halter Ruthie, and lead her into the milking stanchion, and feed Vista her grain. Once Ruthie is eating, we wash her udder with a wash cloth and warm soapy water, dry her, and start milking. To milk her it takes my mom about 5-10 minutes, and me about 15-20 minutes. After we milk her, someone has to go right to the house, to strain and chill the milk. We then feed them hay and give them water, as needed. For the morning “chores”, we only feed them hay and water, as needed. After both “chore” times, we make sure all the gates to the enclosure are closed. Taking care of the cows is a lot of work, but it sure evens out when your able to drink all that fresh milk!