Bringing a Cow Home

Apr
13

Transporting a cow is a significant operation. Luckily, we started out on a lovely spring day, and also luckily, we started out our experiences in transporting smaller animals, like goats, and worked up to sheep and donkeys. So we (cough, cough) knew what we were doing by the time we got to a cow.

It actually went pretty well! A good way to transport animals in the bed of a truck, if you don’t happen to own one of those multi-thousand dollar stock trailers, is with the use of plain old wooden pallets you can pick up for free many places.

52’s truck is out of commission at the moment, so we borrowed my cousin’s big yellow truck and lined it with pallets. You can attach them with rope and/or tie-downs. It’s a free set-up and you can take it apart once you’re done like it never happened. We had some hay and feed in there for the cow to enjoy on the trip.

When we got to the farm in Ohio, they brought her out using some feed.

They made a halter with rope to put on her.

We backed the truck up to a big pile of gravel.

They led her up the gravel pile using the feed….

….then on into the truck. The whole family got involved with the pushing and shoving. They had a bunch of kids!

I wondered if it took half a dozen or so people to shove her on, how we were going to get her off. I asked them if they wanted to come to West Virginia with us. They said no. And right about then they leaped into action as a family again chasing down the calf that made a break for it while we were all paying attention to putting the cow in the truck.

See to the left of the tree in the below photo? That wheel? That’s a kid on a dirt bike. No cowboy horses on this Ohio farm–they ride the range on dirt bikes.

I have to admit that this whole episode was really entertaining. Because it’s always entertaining when a farm animal gets out–if it’s NOT YOURS.

And there she goes, back in the gate where she belongs.

I blocked her from going on down the road and helped herd her to the gate. They thanked me for helping. I said, no big deal….. I herded a ram this morning before I got here.

Back to our cow…. She was tethered at the front of the truck to keep her from moving around too much.

Another pallet was put in place at the back of the truck and we were off!

Once we got back to our farm, we backed the truck up to a creekbank.

We got her turned around inside the truck and it only took a little pulling to encourage her. She came right off!

And started walking around our meadow bottom like a giant in Lilliput-land.

Look how big she is next to Boomer.

I think she could swallow him in one big bite.

Or step on his head and he’d go missing.

Only she wouldn’t do any of that because she’s very sweet and gentle. I’m pretty sure Boomer was more interested in her than she was in him.

I HAVE A COW!!!!!


I started milking her yesterday morning. I’m still in my learning curve, but it’s going pretty good, I think!!!! They were getting up to two gallons a milking from her, sometimes a gallon and a half. I brought home 3/4 gallon. I probably milked her a full gallon, but I spilled some. It’ll get better. I left her when I knew she still had a milk, but for the first milking, I figured I’d get out while the getting was good. She is sweet and gentle and she was very patient with me. She doesn’t kick. I love her!

I just stared and stared at this milk in my refrigerator yesterday. And took it out and examined it. And put it back. And took it out. And photographed it like it was artwork. (It also tastes sweet and wonderful and perfect.)

Me and my cow, we made that! Here’s a pic of me milking her for the first time yesterday.

Don’t you love my get-up?

Cut-off jeans and chore boots. I’m stylin’.

Morgan declared she was having nothing to do with this cow milk. I thought this was rather odd since she drank Clover’s milk (GOAT milk) with no reservations. I told her I wasn’t buying any more milk, so she’d have to drink water for the rest of her life. (We very very very rarely buy soda pop. She’s a pretty big milk drinker.) She insisted she would buy her own milk! Then she came home from school yesterday and declared, “I’m drinking this milk!” And filled up a big tall glass and drank it down.

Success.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on April 13, 2010  

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  1. 4-13
    3:06
    am

    She’s beautiful Suzanne! You’re a natural at cow wragling :moo:
    She looks so calm and peaceful, I’m sure you’ll soon be getting the full two gallons of milk. Your farm seems to be such a lovely place, and the animals that you’ve chosen are just perfect for you. :happyflower:

  2. 4-13
    3:20
    am

    Nice looking cow. Good top line, udder looks well attached and she looks in good condition. Your pasture looks pretty chewed down though. Are you feeding supplemental hay or do you have another pasture to rotate her to? I know it’s spring, but pasture won’t recover well if it’s grazed right to the ground. Another thought, has the cow been tested recently for TB, Brucellosis and any other diseases that might be communicable to humans. I always drank raw milk but it was from a dairy herd that had regular health checks so I knew the risks were low in drinking unpasteurized milk. Oh, and another thought, keep her milked out or she will dry up pretty quickly. We always milked twice a day and only went to once a day when we were drying off a cow. So if you are going to do once a day milking only, I would guess it will be really necessary to strip her out well to keep production from dropping off too quickly. We always dried the cows off 2 months before the next calving. Oh, and she should be vet checked to see if she is bred and how far along she might be. Sorry for all the unsolicited advice. I used to be a dairy farmer in a former life, so all these concerns just spontaneously erupted and spewed froth. Sorry if I was being too much of a pain in the butt.

    I really look forward to seeing you make hard cheese. That’s something I’ve never done and would love to. It’s not so much the cheese making that I can’t figure out. it’s the aging. How can you be patient enough to let it sit that long?

  3. 4-13
    3:36
    am

    Yes, I agree with Sheila. If it were me I would be stripping her right out if only milking once a day, cows dry up really quickly milking like this. Also one tip, cows are really dirty around the rump (poo and such) I would be putting cheese cloth over my bucket to stop the poo dropping in. You can make lovely crochet edged covers which tie or elastic on. No matter how much you wash a cow’s backside you always get debis dropping and if you drink raw milk like us you need to keep it clean. She’s so pretty, it would be lovely to see her in some long grass.

  4. 4-13
    4:39
    am

    Well done!Do your hands ache from the milking?
    i love the cattle transporter,so practical. Sadly it would probably be illegal over here and you would have had to hire a closed in trailer.

  5. 4-13
    5:18
    am

    Well done! Please tell me you are sitting on a stool and not just squatting……..

    She won’t give as much milk for a few days. A move or drastic change will cause that. Once she settles in to her new home, she will be back to normal.

    I kind of disagree with Sheila, I thinks she needs a little more fat on her. I would gradually increase her feed especially until the grass gets really going good.

    My cow was extremely wormy (she had been running with goats that I knew from my vet had a serious worm problem). This is a simple matter of taking a spoonful of her poop in a plastic baggy to the vet. He can tell you very quickly.

    OK, no more unsolicited advice……….maybe. I love milk cows.

    Hope your hands don’t get sore. I hadn’t milked in over 4 years and mine didn’t. They did get tired though and I had to rest them now and then.

    Are you getting foam on the milk? That is a good sign you are milking correctly.

    The milk is just the best tasting. I think we comment on how good it is at least once daily.

    Wait til you have it icy cold with some of those delicious cookies you make!

  6. 4-13
    6:00
    am

    To answer questions–

    Yes, our pasture needs to grow back and for now we’re feeding a lot of supplemental hay and feed. We’re fencing in two more areas for pasturing and will be moving her to one and the sheep to another to allow the meadow bottom to grow back before rotating them back through there, so this is temporary until we get those fences up.

    I just met this cow so I’m pasteurizing her milk.

    And yes, I’m sitting on a stool, not just squatting!

  7. 4-13
    6:03
    am

    I’ll bet Morgan will love this milk better than any other! :heart:

  8. 4-13
    6:29
    am

    I’m learning so much from all the comments here! I have a 5 month old Jersey heifer (named Daisy, actually!) who is a long ways from calving for the first time. But I’m getting a dairy goat this weekend, so this milking thing will be very real for me! And I love advice. Lots of luck, Suzanne. This is great!

  9. 4-13
    6:49
    am

    Love the stories about how you get your animals home. Glad miss cow made it home safe and sound.

  10. 4-13
    6:49
    am

    I’m so happy for you. Now you can make cheese, soap, etc. with all that milk. Must be a dream come true. PS: How is Clover taking all this?

  11. 4-13
    7:00
    am

    Beautiful Beulah gives magnificent milk! Glad she’s home with you now.

  12. 4-13
    7:06
    am

    For anyone who’s interested, we’re talking more about milking (how to, solving problems, etc) here in this topic on the CITR forum:

    https://chickensintheroad.com/forum/the-old-barn/milking-a-cow/

  13. 4-13
    7:30
    am

    What a sweet and cooperative cow. The milk looks delicious! I think you are going to really enjoy this experience.

  14. 4-13
    7:59
    am

    I’m not a farmer but always wanted to be one!! I come from farm stock!! But my (deceased) husband had to be near his golf courses! He was also a cop and worked for the city so that put a crimp into moving much into the real country. I only have 1 acre. I’m allowed animals but not enough land. But I could have chickens : )) Who knew there is so much to learn about a cow and probably goats and sheep for that matter. I wish I had done this whole farm thing about 30 years ago. I love the whole transport story! I think you’d have to have a closed trailer here too but what ever works to get her home? I’m sure she will be a very contented cow at you animal heaven! I drank raw milk at my uncles farm when I used to stay there in the summers. Never knew the difference at that age. I’m glad you’re pasteurizing it though.

  15. 4-13
    8:00
    am

    I love the picture of Boomer bowing down, saying “Come on! Let’s play!” TOO CUTE.

    Suzanne, I hope that when I eventually get to my rural/farm/sustainable homestead, I can take in on new challenges with as much gusto as you do!

  16. 4-13
    8:01
    am

    You’ll get it all……look at everything else you’ve learned! You are so brave to jump into one thing right after another!

    And yes, I do love the chore clothes….that’s what I’d be wearing! LOL!

  17. 4-13
    8:02
    am

    :cowsleep: I’m am going to watch your cow progress closely. Hopefully this will be in my future too. She is a very pretty cow and I’m really excited for you!

  18. 4-13
    8:21
    am

    Don’t let her eat wild, green onions or her milk will be flavored. I can just imagine the milk with the thick topping of cream.

  19. 4-13
    8:41
    am

    What Sheila said. All important stuff. Congrats on getting a non-kicker. Mornings are so much more pleasant that way.

  20. 4-13
    8:50
    am

    Love your chore clothes! I was out hoeing in my garden a few weeks ago – in my pajamas! Had to beat the heat here in Florida. I wish I had enough land for a few goats or a milk cow. She’s very pretty!

  21. 4-13
    8:56
    am

    The only bit of unsolicited advice I can conjur up is to get a REAL milk bucket. Your stainless stockpot works but you need a real one to be a real cow milker!
    And she is so pretty and sweet looking. She has that “I trust you and you can trust me” look in her eyes

  22. 4-13
    9:40
    am

    She is so sweet. It’s impressive that she didn’t kick when she was being loaded into the truck. As I keep hoping for a farm one of the things I’m looking forward to is watching my family squirm as they learn where real food comes from. City kids, all. I’m enough of a city kid now that I might even have a couple of squeamish moments. Cleaning chickens after butchering leaps to mind.

  23. 4-13
    9:45
    am

    She is a beautiful bovine! I can’t believe she would just hop in the truck – I’m showing this to my cows. They are recalcitrant girls.

    And I dress just like you….looks normal to me!!

    Will you be acquiring a little butter churn and milk separator??

  24. 4-13
    10:25
    am

    What a fun adventure! Cute! Cute! all the way through. Hope she can get a few more ounces on those bony hips, though. I noticed the other farm has a Boomer look-alike. At first I thought it Was Boomer, but then I thought: Naw, not poor ole carsick Boomer. Wonder if he had ever seen a cow before. Exciting day on the farm place! :happyflower:

  25. 4-13
    11:08
    am

    Your new resident has such a beautiful face!!!

  26. 4-13
    11:34
    am

    Ah, another Karen who sneaks out and does chores occasionally in her pajamas :-) This was easier when I had a more secluded yard.

  27. 4-13
    12:04
    pm

    She’s really cute! Have you chosen a name yet? What Sandra said about them getting into the onions reminded me of part of a poem written by my grandmother’s cousin (he wrote a book about our family in @1975 called Mountain Memories). It was about Ramps: “The milk and the butter had to go in the gutter if the cows grazed on ramps in the woods, for the milk was so tainted that maids likely fainted if they milked while the cows chewed their cuds.” Good advice!

  28. 4-13
    1:15
    pm

    I need to show these pictures to my “Girls”, also. My sweetest, most tame heifers plant their feet like mules when they are led onto a trailer.`

    Suzanne, your farm attire looks alot like mine. Also been known to run out in the field to check a cow or calf wearing my “work clothes” (high heels and skirt). The neighbors are no longer surprised by anything.

  29. 4-13
    1:34
    pm

    Hey Suzanne!

    Boomer :woof: is going to be wearing some :moo: Cow Patties sometime soon! :yes:

    Angela :wave:

  30. 4-13
    2:11
    pm

    All I can say is WOW, you have a cow! I’m very happy for you and glad that you are pasteurizing the milk. I worked with a women who grew up on a dairy farm. Her dad didn’t want them ever drinking raw milk, something about a child getting real sick. I know that some people are very happy drinking raw milk but I wouldn’t want to go that route. But what do I know about it, I’m just a city girl who gets her milk at the local market. ;0)

  31. 4-13
    2:57
    pm

    Will you do a post on how to pasteurize the milk? I think that would be very interesting.

  32. 4-13
    4:34
    pm

    You have a beautiful cow!!! I love her!!!!

    Susan

  33. 4-13
    5:52
    pm

    I’m not a farmer at all, but I read every comment and enjoyed it all. I think it’s so exciting that You Have A Cow. I lived in the country when I was a child, and although we didn’t have a farm I loved to visit friends who did. I can remember trying my hand at milking a cow when I was about 6 years old. I also remember a farmer lady let me adopt a sweet little calf once. It was all mine. I loved the sand papery tongue. And then the next time I went to visit everyone was whispering. No one wanted to tell me my calf “Star” had died. I guess that’s why I hope my suggestions of Beulah or Millicent ends up being The Name. After Star I always deep down wished I had a cow.

  34. 4-13
    6:09
    pm

    Jersey milk is the richest milk of all.

  35. 4-13
    6:52
    pm

    “I just met this cow, I’m pasturizing “had me laughing out loud!!!

  36. 4-13
    8:54
    pm

    You can drink your milk raw if you are careful for one thing (which I know you are), and for another, I put a few drops of colloidal silver in the raw milk to kill any bugs. Raw milk will give you live enzymes and also, your body knows what to do with the fat and cholesterol that’s in raw milk. My grandmother had her own cows forever, drank the milk, ate the butter and didn’t have a cholesterol problem because it wasn’t processed. It was milk just like God made it, straight from the cow.

  37. 4-13
    10:14
    pm

    What a beautiful face she has.. :heart: :moo:

  38. 4-13
    10:31
    pm

    We had two Jerseys. The endless supply of milk made it easy for me to practice my cheese making skills. The soft cheeses were SO easy. I got brave and started with cheddar. I had so many wheels of cheddar that we used an old refrigerator so I could have a place to age it. The humidity thing was a bit hard to control, but many of the wheels turned out good. I used to start a batch of mozzarella before we had company. Folk would sit at my cooking island and watch me stretch the cheese. I got to be quite a “showman”. Our friends loved it. It was amazing to see how many adults would beg(like puppies) for a warm cheese sample. I never had any leftover!!!!!!Enjoy

  39. 4-14
    2:05
    am

    Oh, Patrice, I know just what you mean about the mozzarella. People are nuts for it.They are so intrigued and it is so easy as Suzanne shows in her pictorial.

  40. 4-15
    11:51
    am

    Cuddle up to your cow! :snuggle:

    How I was taught to milk was to put my head cradled in the crook of the cow’s belly/leg area, and my knee against her leg, foot back. This will place your knee and part of your leg between the cow’s leg and the milk pail. This will put you slightly forward facing. This will give you extra protection and your milk too, in case she does decide to kick one day, or in case you do buy/train another one who may potentially be a kicker.

    You will find too that it is easier to move out of the way and scoop up your pail. You will get to learn every twitch she has and would be able to predict when something is off before it happens.

    You will want to wear a ball cap, though! You have long hair…you would want to tuck it all up. I did this as a teen and a young man came by and saw me at a distance. I was in my very baggy overalls then too. He mentioned that he was just shocked to see all of this long blonde hair come out of that cap. ;) He thought for sure that I was a boy until then! I thought that was so funny!

  41. 4-15
    12:11
    pm

    You will want your manure pile a good ways away from your milking area, as it will flavor the milk.

  42. 4-15
    12:22
    pm

    I like your offending driveway. It reminds me of my grandpa’s hill up from the barn, trees and all, except you would need to flip your picture. Oh, good memories! Mmmmm…

  43. 4-15
    12:47
    pm

    You mentioned in one of your posts that you had trouble milking the back two teats. What we have always done is to push the hip of the cow away from the side that you are on, and tell her to stand. You do this until she stands with the back leg that is towards you is back and the other is stepped forward. You don’t want the two legs too close together either, or she will move and shift so that she doesn’t feel like she’ll tip over.

    Our cow has a good udder and good muscles for it. Once you are done milking the front, she will actually pull her back teats so that they are pointing forward. That helps.

    For that swinging tail, you could either pull it to the side with some twine and tie it with a slipknot. Our cow doesn’t like this, so we tied a big hair clip to the twine and clip it in the hair part. She doesn’t mind that.

    Just a few ideas to try!

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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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