Rosie’s calf, otherwise known as Herman Beefsteak, is growing bigger and meatier all the time. He’s also getting more and more cheeky and unruly as time passes. Fortunately, his respect for electric fences is increasing as he grows in size and becomes more likely to hit the live wires as he dashes underneath. Still, at times we look outside and find that he has managed to become separated into a different paddock from his mother, who bellows at him in annoyance.
A couple of evenings ago, Kevin and I wandered down to the cow paddock to milk Coco. Kevin had separated Coco from her calf in the morning, and we were eagerly anticipating all the creamy milk that would be saved up for us. When we reached Coco’s paddock, there was Herman Beefsteak, licking Auntie Coco’s neck and looking very pleased with himself. We were soon to find out why. Once Kevin started trying to milk Coco, he found that her udder was almost completely empty. Little more than a few miserable squirts of milk could be coaxed into the bucket. That cheeky little devil Herman Beefsteak had managed to feed off Coco and had drunk all the milk.
Poor Rosie was very disgruntled and eager to be reunited with Herman. Her udder was full of milk, but Herman Beefsteak showed no interest in feeding off his mother. His belly was full. Henrietta Hamburger, on the other hand, was ravenously hungry after having been separated from Coco for the day, but she had to be satisfied with the little bit of milk left in Coco’s udder by Herman. Coco was getting fed up with people and calf messing with her empty udder. Kevin then suggested that we try to milk Rosie. Problem: Rosie has not yet been trained to go into the bale, and was very distracted by all the goings on with Coco and the calves. We tried to coax her into the bale. Alas, she seemed to suspect that we were luring her into some kind of vile trap and would have none of it. As we trudged back to the house with our almost-empty milk bucket, Kevin declared that as far as he was concerned the cows, calves and milk could all go to the devil. None of it was worth the bother. Indeed, it had been a very frustrating evening in the cow paddock (for all but Herman Beefsteak).
The next time we separated Coco for milking, Kevin took extra care to shore up the electric fence around the gate. We needed to be doubly sure that Herman would stay in his own paddock. Kevin’s efforts were rewarded with an abundant haul of milk from Coco. Things were back to normal, and we walked back to the house feeling blessed to have such lovely cows and delicious milk. . . not to mention two healthy calves fattening for the freezer.