Far later than we expected, Liberate had Miro without issue. Unfortunately, she had edema that blocked the flow from her rear left quarter, caused mastitis, cost two vet visits, and potentially lost her a quarter (a drama that played out over the next few weeks).
What a beautiful addition to our herd. From Enterprise, OR she had perfect conformation. Jamin lent a truck, Jamin's friend lent a trailer, and Courage and I drove down. All went well on the trip back and unload. She was due in the first week of April, so we got her just in time! With typically Brown Swiss agility and confidence she walked from the trailer and after a few hours calmly integrated into the herd, unequivocally the biggest and the strongest (though later she let Feliz take the spot). She doesn't tolerate being petted, but she is gentle and has never kicked with conviction.
While not terrible, both cows' hooves needed some trimming. Shammie, the mini-horse had already been done by a local farrier who did not do cows. We tried with our trimming kit and failed. Feliz had tips break off. Amy referred the trimmer to us since he was coming through from Othello. The cows impressed him greatly with their tameness and intelligence!
Jewel boldly led the way in, mooing moderately distressed while tipped. She then started eating immediately after being let out. Feliz followed Jewel's lead and didn't even growl while sideways (yes, she roars like a bear when mad). As bad as it looks, it is fast and painless compared to trimming in a stanchion.
Purchased for $1200 on July 19th, little Jersey Isabelle "Belle" arrived well-trained. The seller did not know her age (guessed 5 years old) and had a "friend" deliver her, arriving at mid-night due to traffic after nearly 12 hours in the trailer. Belle freaked when unloading immediately breaking through the fence to be with the other cows. That may have been her last bold moment. She was as gentle and sweet as we have known, never kicking or objecting to come in to be milked, though she had a quirky way of licking her teeth. The moment she knew where the stanchion was, she would compete to get into it. She let down perfectly, milked out easily, was only 3 years old, tested A2/A2, and had great handles. Her downfall was her poor fertility, probably hinted at by her crooked teeth and tiny frame. She had been with a bull for a month and was supposed to be bred. Then, we AI'd her unsuccessfully.
She gave a total of 161 gallons of rich milk from the latter part of her lactation before we dried her on November 11th. We invested $25 to find out she was A2/A2 with a simple hair sample, $110 to AI her, $6 for a blood preg-check, (we learned to do a blood draw from the tail-no vet needed) and around $250 to have her vet do a farm call with exam and check for TB and Brucellosis. We sold her for $1500 to someone who picked her up. She taught us the value of fertile cows, and we are now committed to Brown Swiss crosses.
Days before calving: it's a bulge; it's a hernia; it's edema! Thanks to Peter in Emmett, Amy, and the vet for their free consultations!
Miraculous, we think so. We were going to use our little trailer and new, low gas mileage truck to drive to get the new 3/4 Brown Swiss x 1/4 Holstein, conveniently near my parents in Payette, ID. The day before, pastor Dean offered his nice, newer diesel truck, and another friend offered a much better and safer trailer. We made the drive in comfort, got great mileage, and finished the round trip without incident. Oh, and another friend paid for the cow, unexpectedly, as part of a broader investment in the efforts here. We were blessed - it is a joy to participate in God's work building community, with community! Thanks to all for the help and love!
Jewel's calf Kato was born on 11/10/20, without incident, though it was cold, so his first night was spent in the laundry room where we caught his first "pie" on a towel.... She freshened at 5 gallons/day. Excitedly, we tested her and found she was A2/A2.
After 32 of the largest birds the first week and 47 the second, we managed to butcher nearly 80 birds in two half days (started with 105 chicks). This was aided by our new plucker and the Mills family (thanks Eric for representing the 2nd day). Our speed improved greatly between sessions. At around 7lbs live weight and 4.8lbs in the bag, the end result was around 380lbs of carcass weight in 10 or 11 weeks. We have much room for improvement, but at a value of $5/lb to us, this was a huge win.
Daryn taught Courage how to connect Shammie, launching a new era of charioteering on the farm. With Kyra not able to walk with me, I pulled Kyra briefly while carrying Shalom. Shammie is definitely tougher than me.
Josh: Founder, father