The birth of Ultima to Feliz, half-sister of Trish (they were from the same bull) and second of our future 1/2 Brown Swiss 1/2 Jersey herd! She looks almost identical to Trish, but there are a few subtle differences. Trish is pretty like her mom Liberate, while Ultima is has distinctive facial features unlike Feliz. She also is much more like Feliz in temperament; she's more excitable, and we had a lot more trouble when we were first teaching her to lead. It took her a solid week to get the idea, whereas Trish led easily three days after being born. It will be interesting to observe them as they grow up!
Ultima with Shalom at 10 days old.
We feared that Liberate lost her quarter last lactation (a month after we purchased her) from edema. When Trish was born, we realized that her quarter was certainly not "dead," being full of milk. However, when we tried to milk it nothing came out. We tried to avoid edema this lactation by feeding grass hay, but she still had a little, and we tried our best to eliminate it quickly.
In the 5 days before we took her to WSU, it didn't get any better despite much massaging, Uddermud, and frequent milking. We took a milk sample to Potlatch vet to make sure it was not Staph. We squirted a mix of essential oils into the teat to prevent mastitis while trying to get rid of the edema. The Smicks loaned us their trailer, and we took her to WSU hoping they could save the quarter. Instead the ultrasound revealed that scar tissue prevented milk from coming out, and there was no mastitis at all to cause swelling/edema; the quarter was just engorged.
When dad suggested to the vet we might cull her, the vet (same vet that did her bowel blockage surgery) said, "I'm in love with her. If at some point you want to get rid of her, WSU does buy dairy animals for students to work with." Dad said we would let them know in July when the grass was done. The vet said to stop milking the quarter and never milk it again and the pressure would cause the milk producing cells to be eliminated (along with any risk of mastitis), and that she may produce nearly as much with three quarters as she would have with four!
She is astonishing us with over 8 gallons of milk per day (she overflowed the bucket with 4.7 gallons in one milking), and we hope it will go up to 10 when she gets on spring grass!
Meet Trish, daughter of our gentle giant Liberate and the first of our future herd composed of 1/2 Brown Swiss and 1/2 Jersey cows. She's growing fast, and she's adorable. We are teaching her to lead, and she is doing very well. She has beautiful conformation, and in temperament she already resembles her calm, nonchalant mother.
On January 12th, Quinta gave birth to an adorable, small, half Murray Grey bull calf. His moo is like the bleat of a lamb, and his personality is friendly and playful. We were on letter S of the alphabet and had recently finished reading the Lord of the Rings, and so Samwise was chosen almost unanimously, with dad wanting to call him Shrimp.
An aside note is, we decided that we would let Samwise spend his first day with Quinta, letting her lick him off and letting him get his first drink from her, as opposed to taking him away from her immediately. We decided we would do this for all of the births going forward.
Meet Rosey, the second calf of our cow Jewel and the second female calf born on the property. She is half Red Angus, hence her color. Adorable, sturdy, and energetic, she is already bigger than Pranky, who is nearly 3 weeks older than she is.
In early October, we bought a full Jersey cow, who we named Nosey because of her twisted face. On October 16, she gave birth to Pranky, who was supposed to be a girl... there was a 90 percent chance that he would be a girl. With a little trouble we got her into the stanchion, and she is now giving us about 4 gallons of creamy milk per day. Pranky is living up to his name, jumping and racing around his little pen.
With Eugene's help, Dad finished the roof that officially connected the milking facility and the future custom-exempt meat facility.
Perhaps five years ago, Courage officially asked me for a horse. I promised that if we ever had a place with pasture, she could. Finally, after a marvelous offer from a family moving to Oregon, we purchased a sweet, well-trained, 22-year-old mare named Shammie, a chariot, and a horse house (thank you Jamin for lending your truck) for $600. She eats only a ton of hay per year, which made me happy. Note Gabe, Ela's calf, grazing next to her.
For many reasons, we decided to sell our cows and switch from half-beef to full dairy breeds. The main reason is that a dairy cow eats a lot less per gallon of milk produced than a beef cow - even one that is half-beef, yet gives the same amount of milk.
A dairy breed is more likely to have health problems and not be as hardy, but our family drinks a lot of milk, and they are more profitable if you need them to give you a lot of milk cheaply. We sold Blessing and Delight and Delight's calf Adam to a friend of ours who raises beef cows. We sold Caramel, Blessing's heifer, to someone near Kamiah. It was sad saying good bye to them, but we already had some new dairy cows (my and dad's Christmas presents) picked out, so it was not as hard. We can still go see them. Unfortunately we did not take any pictures of loading them up.
On the same day as we sold Delight, Blessing, and Adam, we got the new cows. One is a Jersey-Holstein cross who is going to calve in a few weeks and produces five gallons-a-day upon freshening. We named them Elation, or Ela for short (an 'E' name). The other is a Brown Swiss who will calve at the end of March and produces six to seven gallons upon freshening. We named her Feliz, since we bought her form a Hispanic family, and she was our Christmas present: "Feliz Navidad!" It was very exciting getting them. Dad's sister and Dad's Dad hauled them for us from Prosser, WA. Since they were not trained to hot fencing, we built a T-post and wire fence with hot fence on the inside. A couple of shocks and they haven't even tried to go through it. They are still shy, but they are doing well.
Josh: Founder, father