Page updated 3/29/15

We bought our first milk cow in the Spring of 2004. The Lord impressed upon us that children were not born knowing how to work and that taking care of animals in a farm setting was a wholesome way to learn.  Another, obvious advantage to having and taking care of a milk cow is the constant supply of fresh milk, cream and butter.  As it turned out, there was enough and then some, so, the bottle calf experiences began.  We are currently milking three Jersey milk cows. The oldest three children each milk one cow, morning and evening, by hand.

 

"And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat." Genesis 18:8

 

Jersey Cows 

We chose a Jersey milk cow because of their increased butter fat content and their smaller size.  We put the word out and, finally, we found.....

 

*Annabelle*

2002-2010

 

Just as Coco is the boss amongst the goats, so Annabelle is with the cows. She's in charge, and she knows it!  She has been the best.  Once a blue tick wandered into the yard and was trying to mess with one of our dogs and Annabelle cornered that dog and stood there until we came to get rid of him. :)  The only criticism we ever found in her was that she always produced bulls (which really isn't so bad).  The children wanted so much to get a heifer out of her so that we could always have a piece of Annabelle with us.  Finally, this fall (2009) she gave birth to, Bella, her first heifer!

Annabelle calved this fall (2010) with another heifer, Angel, and 3 days later got head down hill and the girls didn't find her til the next day. Actually, Dad and Noah did. Angel became a bottle calf that day and is growing fat and sassy! We love you, Annabelle. You are sorely missed.

 

*Brownie*

2003-2009

 Our next milk cow was Brownie. This is a memoriam to Brownie. She came to live with us in December of 2005.  We purchased her already bred and 8 months later she gave birth to Jenny. We named Jenny after a Jersey cow my dad had when I was at home. She was a big ol' Jersey that lived on my dad's place to her final days. He loved that cow.

When Brownie freshened with Jenny is when her troubles began. She was naturally three quartered. One front quarter was atrophied from the very beginning but it never hindered her milk production. At one point, she was giving 8 gallons A DAY! Because of this, though, her udder detached at the back after Jenny. It hung very low and was difficult to deal with at the beginning of her lactations. However, we muttled through because we were so happy with her heifer and her production. It is safe to say that her milk raised more calves for us than any other cow we may ever have!

She bred back to a our Jersey bull, Yoyo. (He got that name bacause he had the longest tongue and ran it in and out, up and down, all the time!) This time she had another heifer and we named her BB. (That stands for "Brownie's Baby") BB looked just like Brownie! Again, we dealt with Brownie's ever-lowering bag. This time the guys built a little platform for her to put her back feet on while in the stanchion to make milking easier.

*Side Note: Through all of Brownie's trials and tribulations our son, Seth, was there, more often than not, unwillingly. He and Brownie had conflicting personalities. He was put out by her "condition" and just couldn't understand why we didn't just "get rid of her." Well, as is true in all of life and often with people, the Lord God sends us circumstances in life that if we had a choice we wouldn't choose but persevering through those situations we come out better people (parents, siblings, leaders, servants, workers, etc.) on the other side. So after much consideration, Dad and I decided we would deal with Brownie a while longer. (In truth, mostly because Seth was so violently opposed to it, not for any good reasons, just out of selfishness.)

As with our other cows, we allowed Brownie to nurse her own calf until she weaned him the next go round. The problem was her bag was so low it was difficult for him to nurse. He was sickly almost from the beginning, we got him "over-the-hump" (so we thought) but one day found him dead. That is always disheartening. The following winter proved to pose new problems for Brownie. 

It was late winter of 2009, the big ice storm had come that caused so much trouble for so many. Obviously, Brownie had lost her footing at some point and fallen hard on the ice on her udder. This caused a rupture in the back quarter on the same side of her bag as the "dead" teat. It was bad. Our resident "cattle nurse", Doll, pushed things back together, cleaned, bag-balmed and diapered Brownie's wound for days until finally it was clear she was going to be okay, except, she was now down to two quarters.

In early June, Seth was out at the barn and ran her out of the calf pens in the lean-to. She seemed to want to be there so he left the gate open so she could come out when she was ready. The next morning Seth found her in the calf pen...down. She had her calf half in and half out and was pinned up against one wall. He and Katie quickly pulled the calf. She seemed fine. Brownie, however, couldn't get up. We got her out of that pen (with a lot of work) and nursed her for days. Her calf nursed her on the ground as we rolled her around to make it accessible. We finally just milked her and bottle fed the newest little girl that Doll named, Chocolate Sapphire. She proved to be Brownie's last heifer for Brownie died 5 days after giving birth. It was a very sad, sad day. Even Seth couldn't help but be affected.

Thank you, Lord, for giving us the opportunity to know and love her and grow within ourselves from the lessons she taught all of us. Amen.

 

*Jenny*

2006-2014

Jenny is Brownie's second heifer. The first one stayed with her previous owner. Jenny is milked everyday by hand by our girl, Katie. (Each one of the older kids have a cow to milk each day.) She is a nice solid girl with a high, tight, well attached udder. We left her horns because we have read that they are a cooling mechanism for animals. She is a good girl and we think they enhance her beauty.

Jenny, Brownie and Annabelle each had heifers this year.  Her girl is Jewel. Jewel is bred and due to calf in the spring of 2011.

*BB* 

Sold to provide milk in another herd ;-)

BB was Brownie's next heifer after Jenny.  She freshened earlier this year on the ONE day when no one was at home and her little bull calf got stuck. We were unable to save him but BB recovered from the ordeal just fine and as "fate" would have it (just for the record, I don't believe in fate or luck or coincidence) she is Seth's favorite cow! This is the girl he milks everyday.

Future Milk Cows 

 Chocolate Sapphire

Freshened and sold as a Family milker

We are awaiting the arrival of her daughter's first calf!

This is Brownie's last hiefer. Thank you, Brownie, for all the ways you have enriched our herd and our lives!

*Bella*

2009-2010

 Bella may not make it to milk cow status but rest assured she will always be with us. She is the one, and only, heifer Annabelle has had to date.

Bella was killed by a predator. We have seen big cats around here and by her wounds that had to have been what it was. Thankfully, 3 days before Annabelle died she gave birth to her second and last heifer. The girls, fittingly, called her "Angel". A picture of Angel will be coming soon.

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