Friday, January 16, 2015

Separation Anxiety

Comet, the Jersey/Dexter calf, loves milk. So do we. Sharing is the only way to keep us all happy.
Every evening one of the chores is to separate Comet from her mother, Hailey.
The winter of 1986 found me fencing dams in back-blocks NSW for the Soil Conservation Authority.  Night after night we scoured the sky to see a glimpse of Halley's comet. After weeks of frustration we finally met someone who knew where to look and we could then enjoy the spectacle.
So when our Jersey heifer Hailey produce a calf, it seemed logical to call her Comet.
If Comet stays with her mum then it is not worth milking. If we remove Comet altogether and wean her then when we want to go away for a night we would have to find a stand-in milker (which we don't have) or milk production would really start to wane.
When I first started milking it was most convenient to milk in the late afternoon but now we are in the pattern of milking in the morning, generally between about 9 and 10. So during about eight daylight hours Comet gets milk and during the rest Hailey produces milk for us. It seems a good arrangement from our part but Comet would love to stay with those teats. Every night she attempts to thwart our plans, but so far - with some ingenuity, cursing and some help from the kelpie - we've managed to keep them apart. The end result is Comet is growing well and we haven't bought milk for months.

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