When I feed the cows their hay each morning, I love to take a few seconds to just stand there and listen to them crunch and breath in the sweet smell of hay and cow breath. It's meditative.
Lilly had her first calf a week ago today, just as the snowstorm started. She had a pretty red and white heifer. Yay! We got about 7 inches of snow that day and school was cancelled for 2 days. Since she's a first calf heifer, she had a lot of swelling in her stomach and udder, so I was really worried about frost bite on her teats. Fortunately, she's a small cow, so she and her calf fit in one side of a small shed that we sometimes use for baby calves and they were both able to stay warm in the subzero weather. I left the calf on her and also milked her twice a day for about 4 days until the temperature came up. I have separated them now to train the calf to nurse a bottle and tame her down a bit. In a couple of weeks I'll probably try to put the calf on a nurse cow. Lilly gave 20 lbs of milk each of the last two milkings and her udder is looking very nice. She lets down her milk quickly and milks out very easily. It's so exciting.
Now that Lilly freshened, I'm milking 3 cows (Daisy, Dharma and Lilly) and I'd like to stay at 2. So, I think I'll make Dharma a nurse cow for Lilly's calf. Dharma is only producing about 13 lbs per milking and she's been milking for 8 months, so her production won't come back up too much. I already have 2 calves on her sister Dolly, so I'm hoping the 2 of them can nurse the 3 calves. Then I'll be back down to 25 minutes to milk 2 cows with no bottles to feed. We'll see how it goes, but that's my plan.