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Calf Sharing

Colonel's Blog, Earthdate 20 Jan 2023...

Hey Y'all!

Happy Friday!! We awoke to a chilly subfreezing morning with the prospects of plentiful sunshine and near 50 degrees today. Morning rounds went well with nothing significant to report. We are constantly looking for efficiencies in our routines and think we may have identified potential improvements. We will adjust the timing on who gets fed when in order to gain some time back in our day. Additionally, we would like the dairy cows to have better digestion of their feed so we will begin giving them hay about a half hour before we want to milk and feed them their grain. I'll chat about the magic of the rumen one day soon and discuss why we want them to have hay or grass before their grain. We made some cheese yesterday and vacuum sealed and froze some of the cheese we made over the past few days. We didn't get to the new sheep paddock, maybe today. We will also go pick up feed today from our local non-GMO feed mill for the hogs, birds, and dairy cows. We will also make things with milk--definitely yogurt and probably more cheese.

Our plan for the dairy cows on our farmstead was to calf share. Obviously it wasn't in our plan for Happy to lose her calf and thus we adjusted and now milk her twice a day. We could get a bottle calf and attempt to graft the two of them, but we made the decision not to go in that direction. With Betty, we will stick with the plan to calf share. That means that we will share the milk she produces with her calf. For the first couple of months, she will produce way more milk than her calf can consume so we will milk her twice a day simply ensuring we leave enough for the calf so that it continues to thrive. As the calf begins to consume more, we will separate the two of them for the night. After the evening feeding/milking, we will put the calf in the barn and shut the gate. That time of separation will allow Betty's milk supply to build up and we will milk her in the morning. We will then release her calf to enjoy the milk the rest of the day, only to separate them again in the evening. We get a twofold benefit of bringing milk into the house and growing a calf. As the calf continues to grow, it will get more and more of its nutrients from grass and hay until finally we will wean the calf and continue to milk Betty. I assume everyone has noticed that I continue to refer to the calf as 'the calf.' We need to name it! Most animals on our farm don't have names, but the dairy cows have to have a name. I included pics of the calf's morning bath and her contented look post bathing. What should we name her?? Leave us a comment.

Daily Farm Report for 19 Jan 2023:


22 Chicken eggs

9 Duck eggs

2 1/2 Gallons of milk

2 1/2 Gallons of colostrum--we froze it for future use on farm babies


Whole hog reserved for April

Cheers! Rich & Shelley

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Jan 22, 2023

Looks like a Bambi or nacho Maybell or Buttermilk. Cleopatra or daisy Mae


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