Friday, May 8, 2009
I never thought I would say this, but I love cows. My husband grew up with cows, but the past few years have been a first for me. What gentle, wonderful creatures. I should actually say "little creatures" because our cows are Dexter cows, an old breed that originated in Ireland.
They are a lot smaller than your typical cow, therefore easier to handle around the barn yard. Our cow had her first calf last summer (my first calf, too) and I was so pleased at how easy the birth was. We bonded that day, Molly was in labor and I sat with her under the trees, keeping the flies away from her. When the time came for the calf, I was right there with her. Not that she needed me. Instincts kicked in and everything went smoothly. It was a happy day for both of us, and Emma entered the world. Emma is half Hereford, half Dexter (Molly was already bred when we got her, or else we would have bred her with a Dexter).
When the calf was born, we thought we would try letting her nurse and also try to milk Molly as well, so that we could get a little milk. That worked for about 2 weeks, then, the little pig got all the milk. I am not sorry, because Emma has grown into a beautiful cow. All that good milk, all she wanted, was good for her.
Dexters make a nice homestead cow because they produce a decent amount of milk, are good for meat, plus, with the addition of a yoke, are good workers. We haven't tried that with ours yet, but it is in the plans for the future. I would love to be able to use our own animals to haul out our firewood (no noisy gas engines). They are quite easy to train, ours love carrots and apples, and we have them trained to come when we ring a bell (we always give a treat.....I think bribery is a great thing).
I hope Molly's labor goes as easily this year as it did last, and I hope I can be right there with her.