Molly came home last night. She is our first cow, we had loads of milking goats before. She is due w/ her second calf in a month. She came from a dairy and has never been milked by hand or handled all that much. She is scared of us. Won't take food out of our hand or let us pet her. We would put our hand through the fence hoping she would sniff us, but so far she will not. I understand this of course. I was concerned b/c she had not eaten yet, but finally did this afternoon.
We were thinking we would be bringing home a cow currently milking, but the one we looked at had a bad leg so we chose Molly instead. How can we get her prepared for milking? How do we get a halter on her? Does she always wear the halter or do we take it off when not needed?
Should we put her in a stanchion, we still need to build one, to get her used to it. In stanchion should we touch her udder? What if she doesn't want to go in the stanchion, LOL. For a kicker, do you tie up both legs or just the one closest to you?
Thank you so much for your help!!!!!!!
Last Edit: Sept 28, 2010 16:17:39 GMT -5 by barnydhppy
First off, relax ;D, you have only had her a day! She will settle down over time- she has a lot to adjust to. And coming from a dairy she most likely is not used to a lot of one-on-one contact with people except for milking times. Spend time talking softly to her, working around her area (while ignoring her, no trying physical attention on her), let her get used to you and your family and how you smell and move and sound.
Milking- since she has already gone through one lactation she will understand basically what is expected of her at milking time- stand still and let her udder be fussed with. She may be impatient with handmilking in the beginning because a machine is a lot faster and doesn't get upset if she hits it with her tail.
Build a stanchion and put her feed (grain and treats or tempting hay) on the other side so she has to stick her head in to eat. Do this for a week until she is comfortable, then start locking her in. When she is fine with being locked in (she may already be used to this from her dairy life depending on their management system) start touching her sides and legs and udder. Brush her, pet her, praise her, make it a rewarding experience.
I don't leave halters on my cow at all full time. I only use an adjustable rope halter when I need to tie her up somewhere. I think at this stage with Molly trying to get her into a halter would just stress her out more.
Missing my Isabelle, cow of my heart
28 January 1998 to 4 May 2015
You are having a far better 1st day with Molly then I had with Isabelle. She realized we were foolish humans who didn't put up electric fencing and proceded to try and ripe the fence up. I spent about 2 hours shoving her head back through the stall gate while my dad and brother put up the fastest job of electric fencing ever and thinking all the while, almost in tears, how maybe we should take her back and get some nice little goats! The biggest animal I had been around up to that point was a German shepherd dog.
She was very wary of people for a long time, she was okay with me after a week or two, since I spent lots of time out with her, brushing her when she would tolerate me close by, sitting in a corner of the stall with her, etc.
Now, of course, she is a lap cow and starts drooling when she sees a brush.
Missing my Isabelle, cow of my heart
28 January 1998 to 4 May 2015
I know exactly how you feel!!!! If it weren't for this forum and Joann's book I would be at the mercy of my bro.-in-aw's knowledge of cows...and while it is considerably more than I knew before I started reading book and forum, I feel like I am on equal ground with him in the knowledge. Now I just need a few years of actual hands on experience.
But yes, relax. Try to enjoy just having her around. Tilly still hurts my feelings every day because she acts like she doesn't like me most of the time. But she stands perfectly still when I milk her. Well, she does still lift her legs every now and then but she hasn't really kicked me since the first week we had her. (this is the third week we've had her) I've gotten to where now I can tell when she twitches her belly skin she's about to lift a leg. I am determined to be Abbey and Tilly's best friend!!!!
Also remember that cows like to do the same thing the same way every day. Use that to your advantage. (i need to heed that advice!!)
Everyone here ALWAYS has great advice. Pretty soon we'll be among the veteran cow milkers and we'll be giving the advice!! Hang in there! Keep your chin up and don't let her hurt your feelings too much...(easier said then done)
Cows are not dogs. It is entirely possible to milk a cow 2 times a day and not interact with her much more then that and be just fine. Some cows do not want to be touched by humans ever and at all except for the udder and teats to be milked. Some cows allow more contact and some cows allow much more contact.
A cow will do what is expected of her, that is to go into a stancion or milking area 2X/day and move to where you want her to be (motivated by avoiding humans). This is a fine cow-human relationship and works well. I don't think people should worry about wether a cow likes them or not. Treat her kindly, attend to her needs and be responsible.
I LOVE my cow and she LOVES me, but I have the above described relationship with a couple hundred cows I work with. Not all of those cows could ever be "my cow" or share the type relationship we have.
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