Fighting Over Milk


Yesterday, Glory Bee beat me to Beulah Petunia’s udder. She latched on and didn’t want to move. I sat down with my bucket and pushed her aside. Or tried to. I had to set the bucket behind me and use both hands to shove her. She moved, but came right back, determinedly jamming her mouth on one of BP’s front teats. And thus began a push and shove that lasted on and off for about 10 minutes, with frothy milk slobber flying left and right out of Glory Bee’s mouth every time she got hold of BP and I pushed her off again. There was calf slobber all over BP. Of course, all the while this ferocious battle of wills was going on under BP, mommy just kept right on peacefully munching her feed.

Nothing much bothers BP when she’s eating. She’s focused.

I knew I couldn’t let Glory Bee win. I had to show her who was in charge. I don’t know how much that calf weighs, but she feels like she weighs about 5000 pounds. She’s heavy, and she’s strong, and I wasn’t sure I was gonna win, but eventually, miraculously, I finally pushed her back for the last time and she stayed up by BP’s head until I took my bucket away and told her it was her turn. I petted her and patted her and scratched her while she nursed.

And then later BP got confused and tried to go out the milk stand sideways and I can’t even tell you all the trouble that was because she really does weigh 5000 pounds. Or something.

I went back to the house and ate two sandwiches! I think I burned 20,000 calories out there!

Anyway. I WON. Till I went back in the evening and had to conquer her all over again. This time, she tried to take her share from the other side. I let her–after I showed her that I was taking the two teats on my side and she could only have her two on her side. I had to hold onto my two like my life depended on it, but we finally managed to share.

This calf’s trying to kill me.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on October 26, 2010  

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44 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 10-26

    I can just see this battle! You made me SMILE tonight!!!! THANK YOU

  2. 10-26

    That calf is defnitely teaching you a few involuntary lessons,you can now add “calf wrangler” to your CV!

  3. 10-26

    GB: “I’m NOT trying to kill you. :no: REALLY. You just don’t understand me. THOSE TEETS are on MY MAMA AND THEY BELONG TO ME! :hissyfit: I think I need a drink! :shocked:

  4. 10-26

    Tie GB up until you are done getting your share of the milk. Just be sure to tie her up before you bring BP into the milking stall.

  5. 10-26

    Suzanne, I just found this link (from the same page as the link on another post on how to make a calf halter). It’s about how to halter break a calf. Thought it might be useful and that some of the others might want the link also.

  6. 10-26

    Oh yes, I am going through similar milkings with Willow and her calf!

    I think my next thing is to try to make a divider between her and the calf, so she will think the calf is nursing because she can just see his rear end.

    It’s funny until you are in the midst of this little situation yourself……I know. I did chuckle though. I knew it was coming.

  7. 10-26

    Glory Bee actually looks pretty thin to me. You can see her ribs in that first picture. Should you be taking any of BP’s milk while Glory Bee wants il? The very fact that she’s trying to get more says to me that she possibly needs more.

  8. 10-26

    She is a poster child for the got MILK? commercials! Imagine if she’d been a twin! She’s just trying to fatten up for winter.

  9. 10-26

    Karen Anne, that’s just the angle of the photo. She’s NOT thin.

  10. 10-26

    She’s the most beautiful calf I’ve ever seen and my 15 month old Grandbaby sure loved watching the video of her the other day. We watched it 3 times and every time Glory Bee mooed, she laughed.

  11. 10-26

    If I had to look at the gorgeous face every day, I don’t think I could focus on milking. GB’s eyes mesmerize me!

  12. 10-26

    Glory Be is a beautiful calf. Oh, and those eyes… :jackolantern:

  13. 10-26

    and look at those eyelashes.

  14. 10-26

    She is such a girly girl looking baby!

  15. 10-26

    She needs a hat. Or a garland of fall flowers to drape over her forehead. I think that would make her better about sharing.(sorry…that’s all I got. I live in Dallas.)

  16. 10-26

    Girly looking and beautiful, yes, but a powerhouse I’m sure when she’s determined to get her share (all) of the milk! What a cute monster! Sending you strength to continue to fight the good fight!

  17. 10-26

    Glory Bee IS the most beautiful calf I’ve ever laid eyes on. look at that face. It stands to reason that such a beauty would have attitude. :yes: :airkiss: :heart:

  18. 10-26

    So cute, I grew up on a farm with milk cows. I remember dad sqirting milk at the cats. My job was to wash the milkers. Ooooh the cream was so good on desserts. Good memories.

  19. 10-26

    Your calf looks so good! What a healthy baby!

    Finally (after we weaned our herd last week), the bovine decibel level is way down and everyone has settled into eating their silage and hay. Today the winds are 45-60mph so I expect to see some of the smaller bunch fly by the window – kind of a Wizard of Oz moment – or maybe portents of winter…

    Good job on udder-sharing. We had lots of twins this year and it’s nice to see how Mother Nature accommodates for milk quantity: the more you milk, the more she gives…..8-)

  20. 10-26

    My granddaughter and I made bread from scratch the other day. I haven’t done this for years. It didn’t raise. I made it following a recipe from my 4-H years. I didn’t see on the back of the yeast that I could pour it right in with the flour, but I let it desolve first in water. Was this wrong. We were so disapointed. We had to throw it to the cats. They liked it.

  21. 10-26

    Ramona, I always let my yeast dissolve in water and sugar first before adding the flour.

  22. 10-26

    Too bad you didn’t get Morgan to video this episode! Hey, maybe you should and then send it to America’s Funniest Videos!

  23. 10-26

    What a great story! Quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs :)

  24. 10-26

    Just look at that face, you are stealing her milk like stealing candy from a baby ! Funny stuff, does it haunt you at night yet?

  25. 10-26

    As a veterinarian, I would recommend that you work on getting her some manners. Poor mannered dairy calves can grow up to be dangerous dairy cows and usually get sent to freezer camp or McDonald’s.;-)

  26. 10-26

    @ Karen Anne: Modern dairy cows make much more milk than a calf needs or even should have. Of course that doesn’t mean a calf won’t try to drink more than they need or even is good for them. Nature sees to it that as the calf eats more grass (or hay or grain), their digestion changes so they drink less milk and in turn, the cow produces less milk till she stops producing milk all together. We milk cows long past when a calf would be doing so which keeps them producing milk longer. We repay the cow for this bounty by providing her with extra care, shelter and richer feed than she would get out in the wild. It’s a trade off, in the best of situations, a very fair trade.

  27. 10-26

    I admit, it sounds really mean to me, too. But I’ve never raised or cared for cows. And, thinking on it, it certainly doesn’t seem unrealistic for a toddler to not want to share something that she loves!
    IowaCowgirl, we’ve got the same thing happening over in my neck of the prairie (the crazy wind, I mean). So many smashed pumpkins in the streets, here! They’re blowing right off the porches!

  28. 10-26

    Shes just doing what comes natural, there is enough for both of you I think. :bugeyed: :bugeyed:

  29. 10-26

    but just look at that face! and those eyelashes!! i wouldn’t be able to stop kissing her :airkiss:

  30. 10-26

    For whoever was concerned about GB being thin: Dairy calves are loose and lanky.They do not look like chubby little beef calves.
    They only need a gallon of milk a day, half in AM, half in PM. along with grain, hay, and water.
    Suzanne: You could save yourself a lot of trouble by just giving GB her milk in a bucket.

  31. 10-26

    Jersey Lady, any tips on getting her to drink from a bucket? I tried to give her a bucket with some milk in it last night and she wouldn’t bother with it!

  32. 10-26

    Keep her well away from her mama and eventually she’ll learn to drink some other way. Sounds mean, but a calf won’t starve in a day. To bucket-break a calf, dip your fingers in the milk, then put them in her mouth and try to guide her down into the bucket. Harder than it sounds; don’t wear anything nice–you’ll get milk all over you. Just be more persistent than she is. Anyway, if you can’t win, may as well get rid of her now. A cow that knows she can boss you around is dangerous.

  33. 10-26

    Get a bucket with a teet on it. thats how deacon cows are fed. you hand it on the fence. but I imagine GB will have to be away from BP. Other wise she will want the real thing.

  34. 10-26

    GB is very cute. And quite the booger. You might have to pen her up when ever you do the milking. And if you do, try not to look at that those big brown eyes pleading with you.
    Love the pictures.

  35. 10-26

    Suzanne-Sorry to leave you hanging.We were under a tornado warning and the internet went out. Will GB suck your fingers when she is hungry? Dip your hand in the milk and put 2 fingers into her mouth. Once you get her doing that you can lower your hand into the bucket so that when she sucks on your fingers she is sucking up milk.After a bit you can try to take your fingers out of her mouth but keep them near her lips so she keeps sucking.You might have to stand over her like riding a pony and hold the bucket with one hand while you have the other hand in the milk.It may take a couple times for her to get the idea of it.After that she will just dive into the bucket with no help. You will need to hold the bucket so she does not knock it over or make or buy a bucket holder. It may be messy the first few times but after that easy peasy.

  36. 10-26

    Thanks, Jersey Lady!

  37. 10-26

    Glory Bee is so darn cute :snoopy: I can not stand it!!

  38. 10-26

    She may not be completely weaned or like the idea of sharing but you did stand up to her. And you didn’t let her chase you around like “Mean Rooster” did. Good job!

    I know nothing about raisin’ no cow babies, but could you put her in a separate area from BP? I’d pen her in somewhere (sturdy!!!) where she could see me milking BP. Yeah, she’d complain, but hopefully she’d see that you are the boss. And then let her in with BP only when you are done.

  39. 10-26

    I am just wondering, how long does a calf nurse from its mother until it eats just feed?

  40. 10-26

    Maybe you could sell Calf Slobber Cheese. I just remembered my dad calling meringue pie “calf slobber pie.” I never understood – now I do! Seriously, I’m picturing GB’s drool in your bucket & it’s not very appetizing.

  41. 10-26

    Suzanne, you are most welcome.
    JoJo, you asked about weaning time. We bottle feed two weeks, then bucket feed to eight weeks.By that time we like to have our calves eating two pounds of grain a day, with hay and water always available. Once they are chowing down on the other groceries, we back off on the milk by diluting it with water a little more each day. By twelve weeks, our calves are weaned. Different folks may do things differently. This is what works for us and our vets think is good practice. Remember, we are talking about dairy calves here, not beef babies.

  42. 10-27

    Good for you! I would have already lost the battle with just one look at that sweet face. Hope you get her weaned before milking time turns into WWF Royal Rumble!

  43. 10-30

    :happyfeet: I love this calf!! Send her to my farm anytime! Julie

  44. 10-30

    She is so beautiful. Does she know she is a beauty queen?

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