Archive for June, 2010

Ready, Set,…Milk!

June 29th, 2010 by Kim

Happy Independence Day from Hope Refuge Farm!  My prayer is that we will not lose the freedom we have left to raise our own and provide our family, friends & neighbors with fresh, nutritious foods from our family homesteads.  I enjoy being as independent as possible from the commercial food industry.  Last week I had a mini celebration as I walked past the shelves of milk in the grocery store, giving thanks for my little red cow.  Having our own fresh, raw milk and knowing it’s not tainted with pesticides, hormones or antibiotics has been wonderful.  If you’re hoping to soon be milking your own family cow, here are some ideas on what you’ll need to get started.

My parlor includes a sturdy stanchion with a neck chain and a movable feed trough.

Ready!

First of all, you need a clean milking area, and believe me, it’s nice to milk somewhere that you have storage space for your equipment so you don’t have to carry it all out to the cow each day. I decided I wanted a nice, well-lit, easily cleaned parlor with work & storage area right there.  It’s probably more than necessary if you just have one cow, but the last thing you want is dirt or soiled bedding getting flicked into your pail of milk. (more…)

A Calf is Born!

June 11th, 2010 by Kim

1) Around 5:30 I checked on her & found that baby's feet were just emerging.

Finally, after all this waiting, we have a calf!  Sunday, May 30th, Eavie gave birth to a healthy black….bull calf (sigh).  We’ll assume daddy Mace is proud of him, but he’s in a different pasture right now & can only see his new boy through the fences.  Calving is an exciting time on the farm, but when you’re new to cattle & it’s your first go round you can have a lot of questions and uncertainties.  It’s hard to know what to expect.  So here’s a bit of our experience to help you prepare.

Sunday morning when I checked on Eavie before leaving for church, I thought it best to leave her penned in the corral with the barn stall.  Her udder was more swollen & hard and her vulva very relaxed.  It wasn’t as significant a change as some of my other cows have shown, but enough to make me keep her in.  When we got home later in the afternoon, she was showing definite signs of early labor – restless, frequent peeing & pooping small amounts, sniffing the stall over, keeping an eye on where the other animals were but not calling to them.  A couple hours later it was camera time.

Some people prefer to let their cows do their own thing, besides the Dexters don’t usually have problems calving.  With our mountainous pastures, though, I like to keep my girls in the stall & corral where they’re handy so I can keep an eye on them JUST IN CASE something does go wrong.
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