Solution!

Feb
26


Yesterday’s beekeeping class was great–we got to look at and touch and play with real hives! This is a top bar hive, which is the kind of hive I want to use. I’m still not planning to start keeping bees until next spring. I’m just in learning mode. (Pictured: SarahGrace, who is also going to beekeeping class, and Leslie, who is one of the beekeeping gurus and also makes top bar hives.)

But back to BP and Glory Bee. Some of you know SarahGrace from the comments and/or the forum. She has a farm about 10 miles away (or something like that–in the county). Her neighbor has a bull, and his bull is with her cow right now. She has invited BP and Glory Bee to come stay on her farm with her cow and the bull! This is perfect because one of my biggest concerns about sending my cows somewhere was that they wouldn’t be personally supervised much. No one supervises their cow like someone with a milk cow, so being able to send them to stay with someone’s milk cow is a great comfort.

With all the upheaval in the past three months, and a lot of busy work in the coming months with the studio project, this is really not a good time to make any big decisions on other tangents. (I’ve looked into AI training. It’s not cheap nor is the equipment. The class alone is $500.) Long-term, it may be something I eventually decide I have to do, but I have other things on my plate right now. I’m relieved to have found a farm situation where I’m actually comfortable leaving them.

As of now, the move is planned for next Saturday, and I’ll be leaving them for a few months. I don’t know whether or not BP will get pregnant again, ever, or not. She might surprise us! Or not. But she will go, too, as she is Glory Bee’s sun, moon, and stars, and will act as Glory Bee’s magnet on an unfamiliar farm. Glory Bee is 17 months old and she is cycling. I believe she was in heat last week.

If Glory Bee comes home bred, the best stories are yet to be told–when I start milking her!!!!!





Comments

  1. NancyL says:

    Congratulations on a perfect solution! And you know the farm and the farm keeper – wonderful! How often will you visit your girls?

    And how is Coco? Will Morgan go with you to visit her this weekend?

  2. liz2 says:

    Like your solution for BP & GB, although I will miss them while they are away. I’d love news about Coco & Chloe.

  3. Rose H says:

    What a great solution Suzanne, I’m so pleased for you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have trouble leaving our cat when we take a holiday, goodness knows how I’d feel about a milk cow! ๐Ÿ˜†

  4. twiggityNDgoats says:

    Perfect solution! This will give you time to get your cow pasture fenced and growing well before you need it. Thanks to SarahGrace!

  5. wanda1950 says:

    Good! I was afraid you’d get hurt by an on site bull. And I don’t totally trust GB either. Hope BP can be a mama again but Glory Bee will probably have to go into therapy if she’s not the only child anymore.

  6. TeaCup says:

    Knowing GP, that will be an adventure.

    Glad you found a solution to the breeding problem that works!

    Best —
    teacup

  7. SarahGrace says:

    This time I walked away from the bee class excited, not overwhelmed, and eager to get started. However, I’m going to wait until next year. I want to make sure I have things planned out where I want things planted and where I want the hives.
    I’m excited about the cows coming for a visit! I wonder if B.P. and my Bessie knew each other from where they came from? I’ll be telling my Bo-Bo’s later today that they’ll be having company come next weekend. I’m sure they will be waiting eagerly on Saturday. Glory Bee and Buttercup can compare notes on their orneriness. B.P. and Bessie can commiserate over their young ones. :cowsleep:

  8. CATRAY44 says:

    Yahoo! He always makes a way! That is and awesome solution!

  9. lattelady says:

    This is a good solution for all concerned. Yes!
    I can only imagine Glory Bee being milked the first time. That should be the basis for many a tale (or tail, as the case may be :devil2: ).

  10. Bev in CA says:

    Wonderful solution. Love the way things can work out. If you have a friend with a stock trailer that would be a great way to transport both of them. Low down trailer ramp and some grain to get them in. It will be a god thing when you have milk again. Miss learning more about cheese, etc.

  11. Glenda says:

    That sounds like a perfect solution!

  12. SwissMiss says:

    I’m so glad you have found a way to get BP and GB to a bull that you can live with. I was really worried about you guys with a bull on the place. BP may surprise you and get bred. Since she will be with 2 cycling cows, she may cycle herself. The last bull’s semen may not have been compatable with her, it happens. GB might not have been quite old enough to cycle at that time, Brown Swiss mature slower than other breeds (and GB looks more Brown Swiss than Jersey). If SarahGrace has a vet that has experience with dairy cows you might want have him check BP’s reproductive tract. Given that she is mature, she could have cystic ovaries or a lingering infection. Sometimes the cysts can be popped and you get another calf. She may just need a little assistance in getting pregnant again. There is also a hormone shot that can be given in an attempt to make her cycle. Since she will be with a bull it might be worth the $ to take a chance on it if her reproductive tract checks out okay.
    An idea occurred to me when thinking about Coco recovering at the vet’s. If you are interested in aquiring another cow in milk for your workshops since there likely wouldn’t be a calf until late Nov/early Dec, have you thought about putting the word out at the Humane Society. You have already established a relationship with them (1 new kitty). Maybe they would come across someone who just can’t care for their cow anymore but doesn’t want to send her to slaughter. I’d have a vet check her over and test her before you brought her into contact with your girls to be safe. A neglected cow you could handle, an abused or sick cow wouldn’t be a good idea as she could be very difficult to work with.
    I’m so happy you aren’t getting a bull. They are such unpredictable creatures, anything can set them off. A cat crossing their pasture, a dog barking (and not necessarily your dog), chickens scratching and clucking nearby, the scent of another bull or cow on the breeze, even the scent of a random person can trigger the pawing, bellowing and head butting. No bull :snoopy:

    Jeanne

  13. Barbee says:

    Wonderful!! Thank you, SarahGrace! (Sigh of relief)

  14. Dottie says:

    THANK YOU SARAH GRACE !!! Sounds nice for BP and Bessie to share time together BUT not so sure it’s a good idea for Glory Bee and Buttercup to
    have time to swap TACTICAL MANEUVERS. If Buttercup is even 1/4 the brat
    that Glory Bee was as a calf this is going to be great fun.

  15. SwissMiss says:

    Sorry forgot to put this in my previous post (too excited over no bull at Sassafrass Farm).
    Take the time to pretrain Glory Bee for milking. Use BP to show her how it is done. Start a couple of months ahead so there is no reason to hurry and slowly work her through each step. Get her accustomed to everything involved in being a milk cow. She is such ornery girl that I don’t think she will take well to just having to start being milk cow without a little prep work. We use to start on our 1st calf heifers about 2-3 weeks ahead when we could. After we started halter breaking all calves it was much easier. Anyways we would entice them into the parlor with grain (and a little sweet calf starter in the beginning, not too many could resist that yummy treat). That was usually the hardest part was getting them to enter the milking parlor willingly. After that they had to learn to stand in the stanchions until we released them. We started with tieing them to the supports, then taking the halter off for just the stanchion to hold them, getting use to someone approaching on the side and across the back and front while they were locked in. Started brushing them so they were use to us touching them and most cows like a good brushing with a stiff bristle brush, it gets into all those hard to reach itchy spots. We always started with the sides and back and worked down to the tummy and udder area. We would put the belt on them so they were use to the feel of it and would put a milker next to them and eventually a running milker so they recognized the soundand would put an empty bucket milker on the belt so they would get use to the weight and movement. I would have loved to had a milking machine like yours. Tried really hard to talk my folks into one for taking to the fairs. We usually started with 1 older, calm cow in the parlor (bribed with some extra grain to stay at work overtime)so they didn’t feel so seperated from the herd. If it went well before they calved they were coming in at the end of milking on their own for that little bit of grain. The little bit of grain also is good in that it sets the rumen up to be digesting grain before the stress of calving throws their metabolism off. I know there are recommendations on how soon to start feeding ahead of calving for a producing cow (it has been too many years I don’t remember the procedure). Check with the extension service or google ketosis in dairy cattle. The idea is keep the cow from going into ketosis, you don’t want them too fat at calving (really ups the risk) but you don’t want to wait and flood the digestive tract with grain that it isn’t use to processing either after calving with all the hormones in an uproar. Anyways it was much easier to introduce a heifer to milking string that we invested the time in ahead than one that we didn’t. That was usually a rodeo that involved at least 3 of us and bad tempers and bruises all around. We were a small dairy farm with 3 girls that showed in 4-H and cared for the young stock. The heifers were somewhat use to us being around them and providing food. Plus we had the time and girlpower to put into making it easier for everyone/cow most of the time.

    Jeanne

  16. Lajoda says:

    Suzanne,
    It is true, the squeaky wheel gets the grease! After posting yesterday (the minute after I sent it) I thought this girl does her homework, surely she’s looked into mail order bull semen, but since you hadn’t mentioned it, and no one else had, I thought I would.I even thought that a vet might provide the service if you obtained the semen.
    This morning I get up thinking with all your readers and a lot of them in your neck of the woods, surely somebody has a bull available?
    Today, problem solved. I think your luck is turning, (well deserved I might add) could you please just take a minute and rattle off the first 6 numbers that come into your head between 1 and 53? There could be something in it for you. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Laura

  17. MissyinWV says:

    Yay! Glad you found a solution ๐Ÿ™‚ and it’s wonderful that the girl’s will be close enought for you to visit!

  18. grammyscraps says:

    I’m so happy that you found a solution for your “girls”. I was really fearing that you might resort to buying a bull and agree with so many of the comments yesterday. Things do have a way of working out…You Are On Your Way!!!

  19. Andrea.tat says:

    I can’t wait for the GB milking stories bwahahahaha. So glad you found a solution that is less scary then bringing a bull in.

  20. bonita says:

    Q: What did you like best about your beekeeping class?
    A: I found a bull for my milk cows.

    Another slap upside the head from the Universe!

  21. kiwigal_nz says:

    Sounds like the perfect solution! I have to admit I did feel very nervous at the thought of you having a bull on your property.

    :cowsleep:

  22. Lajoda says:

    Suzanne,

    You got a charm :clover: thing going on right now, I thought I’de play the FL Lottery if you’de pick me 6 numbers! lol
    Laura

  23. whaledancer says:

    I’m happy you found such a good solution. Your girls will be close enough that you can visit them and bring them cookies, and with them at SarahGrace’s farm you can rest easy that they’re getting good care. And now you’ll have time to prepare your fields for them. :moo:

  24. TeaCup says:

    I have both raised beds and not. After reading Steve Solomon’s book Gardening When it Counts I will never view seed catalogs and raised beds the same way. Mr. Solomon is the fellow who founded Territorial Seed Company, so he knows about the industry and has spent a lot of time and energy testing vegetable seeds and growing plants. He’s against raised beds and intensive biodynamic gardening, for a lot of very interesting reasons backed up with data.

    He also makes an online library of vegetable garden information available. You can find that here:

    http://www.soilandhealth.org/

    teacup

  25. JeannieB says:

    Milking GB would have to be easier that Clover!!! We went through a lot of drama and trauma with Clover didn’t we!! Congrats on the bull situation.

  26. Miss Judy says:

    Ha…so the old adage is true. It’s not what you know…it’s WHO you know! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. princessvanessa says:

    About keeping beehives. I hope you don’t have bears in the woods around your farm. I grew up in the rural area about 35 miles outside of Seattle and there was a bear who regularly broke into a neighbors beehives.
    I am only concerned for your safety! As far as I know, that bear only raided after dusk and before dawn. If the topic has not come up in your beekeeping class you might want to ask about bears and/or other beehive invaders that might pose a threat to you and yours.
    I bet beekeeping is an interesting class. With the bonus of finding a boyfriend (bull) for BP and GB.

  28. Jan Hodges says:

    Yay for SarahGrace from me too! I am so glad you have found a solution that will work for you, at least for now, this time, and maybe again. My neighbor’s have had another neighbor’s bull on their property for a month. I gather he is very gentle for a bull, but still unpredictable. Last Friday he was laying around on the ground instead of being up eating, they were pretty worried. Turned out all right, but they got him home on Saturday. Their cow was really mad. The bull is huge. A bull seems like a really overwhelming thing to own. I am single and working my little space alone too, and I am sticking to goats. I’m a lot older than you, though.

  29. Angela P says:

    :snoopy: :snoopy: Im soooo happy to see you ARE doing TBH, shew! For a minute there Suzanne you scared me! I thought you were going to do the “L” kind…lol. Weee happy Day!!!!
    Dont wait until next spring. Jump in girl! We are here to help you!!!! Now order those bees!!!
    :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy:

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