Thursday, March 12, 2009
Sweetums is going all the way
2 years ago, I had the crazy idea to get a family milk cow. I read up on the subject (a little). I thought about the details of it all (well, not really). I talked to people who were "experts" (OK, 1 person). And then I put my name on the waiting list at a Jersey dairy for newborn heifers they weren't going to keep (mainly because they were born later than the majority of their calves and didn't fit in with the schedule of the dairy). Then I waited. I figured nothing would come of it. Then the phone call came. "Tracie, we have 2 calves that are 1 week old. Are you interested in them? If so, you need to make your decision by tomorrow because there are other people that have already said they would buy them if you choose not to."
Ummmmm......honey? Can I get a calf?
That is my sweet husband for you. And he made it all happen. The initial pen for her, the equiptment, the de-worming... but the feeding and the loving was all me. I bottle fed her for 3 months. I brushed her, cuddled her, talked to her. She went from the size of a labrodor to about the size of a great dane and now she is about 500 pounds.
Last year, we realized how lonely herd animals get without a herd. Sweetums needed friends. We got 3 baby goats (from the sister dairy that Sweetums was born at)and almost immediately, she became their mother. All for the milk that is. (No, cows are not born giving milk. They get it the same way humans do.) We bottle fed the goats as well. Now our herd of 4 spends their days happily walking the pasture, chewing cud, and generally conducting themselves in a manner that I refer to as "foolishness and mayhem."
Sweetums still knows me as her mother. I can brush her and pet her and talk to her and she listens. I love to watch her mother the goats, because she is so much like a human mother. She worries about them, makes sure they are staying with her, but she also takes a break from them when she needs it. And she'll lower her head on them and use her horns if she has to.
Well the time has come now for Sweetums to start earning her keep. It is time for her to get pregnant, deliver a healthy calf, and give us the white gold we've been waiting so long for. I have called around as best as I could trying to find a way to get her pregnant. It hasn't been easy. Vets, ranchers, dairies, internet searches... nothin. Sweet husband suggested last night, "Why don't we put it on craigslist?" He posted a wanted ad for an AI technician for a Jersey calf. And within 1 hour, we received an email with a name and number of AI tech in our area. And this afternoon we got a phone call from Tony. And Tony is coming on Tuesday.
Let me go ahead and answer some questions I know you all have:
1. She is going to be artificially inseminated with Jersey semen, so her calf will be small and pure bred.
2. She will carry her calf for 9 months 10 days.
3. She will have milk after the calf is born.
I am very nervous. I am very excited. I am already laughing at the "foolishness and mayhem" that will ensue during the ordeal. Don't worry, pictures and the full disclosure of the story will follow!