Probably my fault, as too many changes too quickly for her to adjust. Daisy May stopped giving any quantity of milk from her back udder, and Eleanor only gives me about a gallon each milking, holding the rest, and all the cream, for Tony. So I started thinking about weaning him and Gus. They’re about 4-months old, so the time is about right, even if it’s a little earlier than I’ve weaned bull calves previously. Also, with Ginger in the pasture with the girls, I’ve seen the 2 bull calves starting to show an interest, and they’re starting to jump each other. I don’t want a pregnant 7-month old heifer calf, so I moved the 2 boys in with the other bulls on Wednesday last week. After milking Thursday morning, I took their mums into the bulls pasture to nurse them and then returned them to the main pasture with Ginger, JuneBug and Seasaidh. Mums weren’t happy, but the boys were fine, tussling with the bigger bulls. Repeated this on Friday, and Saturday morning I just let them in to nurse without milking. Come Sunday, Eleanor did not want to be milked. She’d slipped going up the step into the milking parlour on Friday because she takes it too fast, and was very antsy. Sunday, she entered, but before I could clip her to the wall, she’d turned around in the stall and then dashed out, and wouldn’t come back in to the lower barn at all. I tried coaxing her with a grain bucket, I tried threatening her with the “big stick”, I tried chasing her in, and tried sneaking up behind her and shoosting her in, but none worked. That’s when we had the climbing / breakouts and throughs. I eventually conceded defeat, and allowed them to nurse as she was spurting milk and I don’t need a case of mastitis. After nursing, I took the cows back to the girls pasture, leaving the boys in the lower barn enclosure. I’d brought them up when I realised I couldn’t keep Eleanor in the lower barn enclosure, but she’s never attempted to climb in. After the first run around all the pastures, up through the hayfield, I’d followed her over a fallen tree that was on the line. So I switched the fence off, and disattached the back 3 pastures so that the charge wasn’t being diluted into the ground.
But last night she bellowed and bellowed all night, and all afternoon. This morning, I spent a couple of hours barricading the fence where she kept climbing over, she broke a wooden fence post and the ground is too hard to smack a new iron one in, so I used 2 wrought iron chairs interspersed with 3 moulded plastic pallets from the lower barn, and then chasing the boys into the lower barn, and up into the milk parlour, where I secured them in my lambing jug. Tony actually went in first, and I then got Gus in too, an answer to urgent prayers. I set up to milk, and then went and fetched 2 very eager cows. But the boys were quiet as they were still inspecting their new accommodations and I worried that the cows wouldn’t figure out where they were as they can’t be seen from the door. Eleanor eyed my barricading handiwork, but she was more focused on where her calf was than escaping. Daisy May went in first and found the calves, and Eleanor shoosted up into the milk parlour, no hesitation, but I shut the roller door behind her as I wasn’t taking any chances. Took her a while to go into her actual stall, but once she started eating, I clipped her to the wall. Success. Milked her after Daisy May, then shoosted them out. I hadn’t thought about how to let the boys nurse, but the cows sort of solved that issue, they kept on wanting to come back into the milk parlour, so I shut the gate behind them, so the boys could reach them. After nursing, just shoosted the mums out, keeping the boys behind, pushed them back into the jug with the gate against their behinds, and refastened it behind them, then walked the cows back to the pasture. Only got just under 2 gallons of milk, but I took it as a win. Tomorrow, after the first go around with the milking machine, I’ll let the boys start nursing, then push them back into their jug, and remilk the girls as they’d’ve let their milk, and cream, down, for the calves. Hope it works.
Then I continued cleaning out the chicken house, that I’d started yesterday. The chickies in the shed need to move to the chicken house, but I need to do the annual clean first, and want to board-up the rafters so that they can’t roost there. Think they’re still too small to get that high, but I’ve wanted to do that for a while now. Catch any other hens and roosters and put them in the side yard. They’ll be the next lot to be butchered. The guinea fowl stayed in the chicken house while I shoveled, running around, shrieking. All of them ! Wow, they’re loud.
Filled the back of the buggy twice, and took the year old chicken shit and spread it over the asparagus, blueberries, elderberries and grapes. Herbie came home from work early, and went and got a load of salt for the driveway, which he spread while I shoveled shit. I cleared about half the floor, and then came inside and had a shower as that dust is nasty. I’ll attack the fresher, stinky stuff under the roost tomorrow. Sheila loves being tied to the buggy so that she’s close to me while I work. She kept hopping into the back and choosing morsels to eat. Yuk. It’s funny how Anni tries to push her off the seat, although there is room for both. I usually tell Sheila to get down onto the floor, it keeps the peace, or I let her run next to me - her daily exercise is a run down to the postbox and back, although she’s been very good recently, going to the garage, or the buggy, or the truck, when I let her off the lead.
Herbie was long overdue for a haircut, so he showered and then I gave him a trim all round. Cut about 2 inches off, and all his curls :)
His leg is looking much better, but the hardness from where I presume the blood clot is, is a little alarming. His next Drs appointment is on the 18th.
Ogden Publishing sent me a cheque today, in payment for one of my photos, to be published in GRIT magazines Jan / Feb 2018 edition :). My first sale. Hopefully not the last. I submitted a few, but think it’s this one that’s going to be published.