Somebody Got In Trouble

Apr
5

And guess who it is!

Unbelievably, our year-and-a-half-old Jersey bull suddenly, inexplicably, decided to start sucking on Glory Bee last week. I’ve had plenty of calves suck on other mothers over the years, but this bull didn’t even grow up with Glory Bee. He’s her boyfriend! I noticed the milk supply taking an abrupt nosedive as well as finding Glory Bee’s teats somewhat abused and cut, then caught him milking her side by side with Baby Belle. That meant that when I separated the baby at night, so I could milk Glory Bee in the morning, the bull had the dairy store all to himself! And was not only taking my milk but being a bit rough with her. Separating him from Glory Bee before milking isn’t convenient right now, nor a good idea since he is, after all, here for a reason.

Which isn’t to milk her.

Which is why he’s sporting a new piece of jewelry.

He doesn’t like it, of course. We’ll see how long he keeps it on. But for now, he’s the new poster child! Glory Bee wore some weaning jewelry for a while when she was about a year old. Several years later, I found her on an animal activist site (using MY photo of her wearing a weaning ring) as the poster child for farm animal abuse, which sparked quite a bit of amusing comments when I posted about it in The Poster Child. This post is copied below to commemorate the bull’s new trinket (and for your entertainment).

Original post “The Poster Child” from 2016

It was interesting timing that I caught this incident (which surprised me) on camera several days ago:
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I haven’t seen Moon Pie get under Glory Bee in a very long time. Generally, these days, how I wean is that I don’t wean. Once mama gets pregnant again, the older baby will give up to the younger one. For example, when Moon Pie was born and Dumplin had to step aside.

Note Dumplin’s distress here as she realizes a new baby is in town and she’s been edged out:
img_1694
However, in Moon Pie’s case, there was a year when I missed out on a bull. Glory Bee didn’t get bred again until the following year, so Moon Pie never had a new baby come in to take over at a time when she would have gotten herself out of the nursing habit. Apparently! Because apparently she is still taking nips at mommy’s milk wagon. She probably isn’t doing it very much, since this was the first time I caught her, but she’s doing it.

There are all sorts of reasons for weaning more actively than I do. For one thing, it’s just hard on the cow to never get a break, their drying off time before their next calf. And of course, an older calf doesn’t even need the milk from mommy. And when there’s a new baby, it’s the new baby who needs it, not an older baby who is old enough to have babies herself.

Unless you completely, and longterm, separate a mommy and older baby who isn’t wanting to wean, they might never stop. (Evidence: Moon Pie.) Many people are much more active about weaning than I am these days, but I did attempt to be more active toward it when I first had cows and I used a calf weaner. Also coincidentally, when I posted the photo of Moon Pie sipping on Glory Bee’s udder, someone mentioned calf weaners in the comments. And also also coincidentally, I’d recently had brought to my attention that Glory Bee is (also apparently!) the poster child for animal rights activists opposing calf weaners.

See this post here for my attempt at using a calf weaner in Glory Bee’s young heifer days: Silence of the Calves.

If you’ll note the date at the very bottom of that post, it’s October 2011. (Glory Bee was born in September 2010.) And also note how big Glory Bee is. She’s almost as tall as her mama, BP, and still attempting to nurse. Glory Bee was over a year old at that point. At the time, we were trying a calf weaner on her. Here is the original photo:
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Here is the same photo, stolen and used by activists opposed to calf weaners.
theantinursingnosering-lg
Really?! Seriously?!

You can find the post with Glory Bee’s photo used to oppose calf weaners at a website called Vegan Street here.

Did they actually look through the entire post from which they took the photo? Again, my original post is here: Silence of the Calves.

Glory Bee is quite obviously an OLDER CALF, in fact a plump ripe young heifer ready to be bred with a baby of her own. And in case anyone wonders, that weaner is not drilled into their nose or anything. No piercing. It’s got little plastic balls on the ends of this thing you hang from their nostrils. It’s annoying to the animal, I’m sure, but it doesn’t hurt them. And honestly, Glory Bee flung that thing off her nose and into the woods within a few days. I eventually found it and I keep it in the milking parlor along with some other things that I show workshop attendees as curiosities. As I stated above, I now use the new calf route for weaning older calves. Which apparently doesn’t work all that well either! I’m not real intense over weaning anymore.

But, for Glory Bee of all cows–the most spoiled brat cow on the planet–to be used as an activist poster child against weaners?

I don’t know whether to laugh or just roll my eyes.

What do you think about calf weaning tools like this one? Mean, useful, whatever, hit me with it. I’ve got the poster child cow, that must make me the hotline….or complaint desk….or something!

By the way, when I posted about this on my personal Facebook page after I was made aware of it, Morgan just went off, dying of laughter over someone using spoiled brat Glory Bee as a poster child, and began a long round in the comments of puns, mostly by her and my friend Sarah (who also has milk cows). Here are a few of the best ones:

Morgan McMinn: This is funnier than the people coming to the farm complaining that the barn is dirty.

Morgan McMinn: And even funnier than the lady who thought we were starving our very fat horses.

Suzanne McMinn: I’m not sure what to do right now. My cow is so offended.

Morgan McMinn: You need a cow lawyer.

Morgan McMinn: Some one with real mootivation for for this case.

Suzanne McMinn: Someone who would really milk it for all it’s worth!!

Sarah Farris Manry: Someone who won’t let udders get away with this infringement!

Morgan McMinn: Gotta be some one who isn’t afraid to hoof it through the work!

Sarah Farris Manry: Someone who’s ready to horn their way through the mess!

Suzanne McMinn: Glory Bee is so upset, she might never be the same. The bull might have a suit for loss of consortium!

Morgan McMinn: Someone who has a real beef with it!

Sarah Farris Manry: If something isn’t done there’s going to be a lot of crying over spilled milk!

Sarah Farris Manry: I bet Glory Bee is so mad she’s seeing red! Or maybe she’s so mad she’s seeing spots and the bull is seeing red!

Morgan McMinn: Our dairy beloved cows are being disgraced by this propaganda!

Sarah Farris Manry: No worries! With the right lawyer, Glory Bee’s side of the story will be herd!

Sarah Farris Manry: Plus, I’m sure that Glory Bee will post pictures to assure the public that she is treated bovinely.

Morgan McMinn: We need to ring the cattle bell to raise awareness of the offense!

Sarah Farris Manry: More Cow Bell! More Cow Bell! More Cow Bell!

Betsy Ross Pensiero: Well, this is sure a great cowllection of advice.

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Gingersnap Has the Last Laugh

Mar
25

This is Gingersnap.

This is Gingersnap when she was baby, in one of my all-time favorite videos. That’s her mama, Moon Pie, with Gingersnap (her baby) on the left and Pumpkin (Glory Bee’s baby) on the right–both of them nursing on Moon Pie at the same time.




Gingersnap and Pumpkin were both born in early spring 2016, within a few weeks of each other. Their daddy was the Dexter bull I had on the farm in 2015. I always preferred Gingersnap over Pumpkin, considering Gingersnap the superior heifer of the two, partly because Gingersnap was naturally polled (which is a handy feature) plus I just liked her better. She was a mild-mannered little heifer, and when I say little, I mean little. Moon Pie is a smaller-statured cow than Glory Bee, and the daddy was a Dexter. It was clear from the start that Gingersnap was going to be a small cow. A small cow can be a handy feature, too, and if I’d kept either one of them, I would have kept Gingersnap. But if I keep every baby born on the farm, I’ll have a lot of cows in no time. I did have a lot of cows at that point, and last year started selling cows as the labor, fencing, hay, etc, was a lot for me to handle by myself. (Recall that also by this time Rodney had had his accident, leaving me with a different perspective on keeping so many cows.)

And so, despite the fact that I really liked Gingersnap, I decided to sell her. I sold Pumpkin first, before she was a year old. I had no trouble selling her, so I thought it would be a snap to sell Gingersnap, the so-called superior (at least in my mind) heifer of the two.

Ha.

By this time, Gingersnap was around 15 months old. When she was 13 months old, I’d gotten the Jersey bull. Bo the Hereford had already been gone for a couple of months by the time the Jersey came. I’ve heard lots of bad stories about how mean Jersey bulls can be, but this one was really sweet. He was 11 months old when I got him. He came from a local Jersey dairy.

He’s going on two years old here in a few months and he’s still a sweet and cooperative bull. He’s so sweet and cooperative, though, I’ve really been wondering about him and having my doubts about whether he’s up to the job. But– Well, let’s get back to Gingersnap.

So Gingersnap was 13 months old and the Jersey bull was 11 months old. She’s small, of course, being half Dexter, and they were about the same size at the time. They buddied right up when he arrived and stayed fast friends for the next few months. I’d get up in the morning and look out at the field, often finding them snuggled up after spending the night sleeping together.

Now fast-forward to Gingersnap is 15 months old and I’m trying to sell her. Which I think should be no problem at all. She’s a mild mannered, pretty little heifer and she’s been with a Jersey bull for for a couple of months! Yet I had very little interest in her when I started trying to sell her. Everybody kept saying she looked too little. Finally a couple from somewhere a few hours away decided they wanted her. They arrived at the farm with their truck and trailer. The man took a look at Gingersnap and immediately I could sense he wasn’t that impressed with her. He said she looked pretty small and was I sure she was bred? I told him, as I had told his wife before they arrived, that she was half Dexter, and that she’d been with a Jersey bull for a couple of months. I hadn’t had her palpated, so no promises, but she was likely bred.

I had arranged for Ross to be there that day to help load her. NO cow likes to be loaded, especially when they’ve never been loaded before, and especially when there are strangers standing there and they’re being taken away from their mother, their family, their farm, and everything they’ve ever known. Gingersnap was no different, and she was, to be honest, a bit rowdy about it. We just about had her on the trailer when she backed out and ran off into the barn yard. After I finally got her back into the alleyway where we could start all over, the man suddenly said, “I don’t want her. She’s too wild.”

I said, “She’s just scared. She’s a mild-mannered heifer. She’ll be fine after you get her home.”

Then he said what he was really thinking. “She’s no bred heifer. She’s not even old enough to be bred. She’s not 15 months old. She looks like a baby still sucking on her mother!”

Gingersnap was so insulted.

Okay, so she still liked to suck on her mother, but she was INDEED 15 months old and very likely bred! I felt like he was accusing me of lying about her age. Because he was accusing me of lying about her age.

Clearly, he didn’t deserve Gingersnap, so I told him that if he didn’t want her, he didn’t want her, and that was all there was to it. I certainly didn’t want her going to a home where she wasn’t wanted! He slammed the back door on his trailer and he and his wife got back in their truck and they drove a couple hours back home, probably fuming all the way about how they’d been scammed into wasting their time on a baby still sucking on her mother when they’d come for a milk-cow–to-be.

And I was thinking, how am I ever going to sell this little heifer? And Gingersnap told all the other cows how mean those people were to her, and sucked on her mama some until she felt better about herself. Because she could be 15 months old, have a boyfriend and be bred, and still need her mommy, you know?

Well, not too long after that unfortunate incident I got a message from an older gentleman who was very interested in Gingersnap. I was completely honest with him about what had happened when the first people came to get her. I insisted he bring at least one other man with him, and I arranged for someone to be there with me, so there would be four of us–and three of them would be men. I wanted plenty of men on hand! I didn’t want any repeat of trouble getting her loaded. And I emphasized that she was a small sized cow, because she was half Dexter, and she was absolutely 15 months old! The gentleman told me not to worry about it, he’d had Dexters before. He understood what Gingersnap was, and appreciated her for it.

He came to get Gingersnap with another man, as promised, and I had another man there also, as promised, and Gingersnap must have recognized a kind man and a good home when she saw it because don’t you know she just walked right on his trailer like she was getting candy for it. Three men weren’t needed. It was so easy, I could have loaded her all by myself!

And guess what? I just got a message from that gentleman this weekend with an update on Gingersnap. A few days ago, Gingersnap had a baby! A little heifer. The daddy was the young Jersey bull, of course, so that man got quite a deal in Gingersnap–a sweet little Dexter girl with a bonus Jersey girl tucked inside. He sent me a picture of Gingersnap with her new baby.

How’s that for the baby still sucking on her mommy now, hmmm? I think Gingersnap had the last laugh on that one! And I’m so very happy that she has a good home.

And as for the Jersey bull–he’s proven he’s up to the job now! I’m hoping he gives me a Jersey girl of my own–from Glory Bee.

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  1. May 3, 2017 - The New Imperial Potentate

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....






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