Thursday, March 29, 2012

Get ready, get set

Yesterday Kris and the guys dried up the cows.  This means we're not going to milk them for a bit before they have calves.  So drying up means - you check if they're pregnant, give them an antibiotic so they don't get an infection by halting their milking, and put a sealant on their teats.  (For more detail, check on my post here.) 

It takes all day to do it.  Then we let them out onto the pasture for the first time this year!  It's so nice to see them out there again.  Kris said they were excited to get out there too. 

The vet came today to check the ones that didn't seem pregnant.  While yesterday they checked from the outside, by feeling the cow's side, today the vet checks from the inside. Yes!  Just the way you're imagining!

He also used an ultrasound machine, which was a first for us here.  He put the wand inside the cow, then he had a headset.  One of the eyes of the headset was a screen that showed the ultrasound.  Kris and the guys all put it on, and Kris said it was just like looking at a human ultrasound.  There's a grid on the screen, so you could gauge exactly how big the calf was.

So we're only milking the non-pregnant or recently-pregnant ones.  (Once the pregnant cows have calves, we start milking them again.  They have to have a calf every year to continue giving milk.)

Now, you may be wondering, doesn't that mean that we don't send much milk, and that our milk check is really small?  Answer again - yes!  But it's the same every year, so we plan for it.  It's not like it's a surprise, just like we won't be surprised when the calves are all born on a Saturday when we're having people over.  It's so predictable!


mom said...

it also won't be a surprise that you wont't actually see one of those calves entering the world - again!

Aimee said...

I think this is your year, Carla. You have to see a calf born.

Given that the average dairy cow weighs over 1000lbs, I'm not sure how willing I am to be part of the strategic wand placement - though it sounds really cool.