Saturday, August 04, 2012

Brand Loyalty

Broadway last March, with her heifer calf, Bloomingdale...a Poker daughter
how I wish someone was taking a show string this year so she could compete as a junior heifer calf.

I will always be a fan of the Holstein cow. They are the go to cow in the dairy world, utilitarian and productive, hard working, and lovely.

However, the little colored cows sure do have a lot of personality.  

I don't like milking the pretty little brown Jerseys...seems like every one we have ever had is temperamental and persnickety...but they are excellent grazers and convert feed to milk impressively. We had a half-bred Jerseys some call them...and she gave a phenomenal amount of milk. She was a witch and getting it out of her was life-threatening, but she made a lot of it.

The milking shorthorns are tough and beautiful in their red coats that shade from copper to burgundy. The ones we have come from a bull that threw a lot of milk as well.

Both breeds seem to excel as lead cows. (A lead cow is the one that takes them out to pasture and brings them back in for milking.) A smart lead cow can save a lot of running and chasing.

Yesterday morning we all stood around out in the barnyard waiting to see which cow found the open north gate first. New pasture...or one they hadn't been in in a month at least. There was new grass out there waiting for them..all they had to do was walk to it. First they had to find the gate. That's where the lead cow comes in.

We were taking bets it would be Heather, Liz's old retired Jersey, who found it first. Heather is a great lead cow; she knows all the fields, and tends to notice the gates.

Hordes of Holsteins walked right past the gate and collected in a group around the heifer pasture gate, which was closed. Heifers walked right on by. Heather came out and walked by too. They all began to mill around in confusion. Why was the gate closed?

Then out came beautiful Broadway, our oldest milking shorthorn cow. She walked right over to the open gate. Stopped to lift her tail while she contemplated what she was seeing. (Cows poop whenever anything happens..walk in, walk out, get milked, get fed, be hungry, pause to think for a all brings out the fertilizer production system in a cow.)

As soon as she had that out of the way she strode confidently off to the north. She knew what was out there waiting. Soon Heather saw her and charged right off the bridge as fast as her little Jersey legs would carry her.

Heather and Liz some colder time in the past

That's all it took. Even the young heifers who had never been in the big pasture followed and they were off. They came in last night with bulging bellies, and, hopefully, full udders...


NumberWise said...

Wonderful story - and so true to a cow's nature. You understand cows and work with what is natural to them.

threecollie said...

NW, thanks, I kept looking at this post and seeing something wrong...I wrote it early this morning amid much confusions. Then with the kitchen calm and peaceful I saw it. Hordes, not hoards. lol

NumberWise said...

Did I, the Proofreader Police, miss that???

threecollie said...

NW, I couldn't believe it when I finally saw it. I knew something wasn't