Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Collection of Misfits...

Today was herd health day at the farm.  Every 3-4 weeks the vet shows up to check the health of our new fresh cows, vaccinate cows and heifers, dehorn calves, pregnancy check cows that were bred, and check any cows that we need to have examined.  Today was an excellent herd health! We had a a good report on our fresh cows, vaccinations went well and most importantly we had a number of cows that were confirmed pregnant!  When looking over the list of cows that were pregnant, I decided that we had a small collection of misfits.  It was interesting reading each name and thinking about that cow's life history.

Cows varied in ages, but each was a misfit in their own right.  First we had a 12 year old cow, Terry, who is the oldest cow in our herd.  She has had numerous calves, and again, is pregnant and due in July. Terry isn't the prettiest cow in the barn but she milks well and has calves...she stays healthy.  We love her a lot.  Second on the list was Zhilgen.  She's a special heifer because she beat the odds.  As a heifer she had a serious surgery.  The vets told us that she wouldn't be able to have a calf someday, but we bred her anyways, got her pregnant and she successfully delivered a heifer calf.  After that, we were told that she couldn't have another calf, but after a couple tries, we are successful!  Third and fourth on the list were 2 cows that delivered calves months ago, but due to their high milk production they were not able to become pregnant.  After many tries we finally got them to conceive, even one with twins!  Fifth and sixth on the list were heifers that had many  tries as well, but we got them pregnant.  Finally, was Yevette!  Yevette was a heifer that was born 33 days premature, and against all odds she survived!  With a lot of TLC from Jon and I we nursed her, got her to grow, and now....she's pregnant with her first calf, due in July!  We are so proud of Yvette and how well she is thriving!

After Herd Health, I walked through the calf barn and saw another misfit!  On Thanksgiving Day we welcomed 2 new heifer calves.  These girls were very fortunate that we had our Thanksgiving Dinner at Grandma's house, which is next to the dry cow lot.  We were able to rescue them from the frigid weather, preventing frost bite.  The first calf, Izzy did great from the get-go, however, the second calf, Thankful, wasn't doing so great.  Thankful wasn't able to stand up, her legs were deformed, her ligaments were weak and unable to support weight.  We nursed her and nurtured her.  And finally today....6 days after her birth....she stood for the first time!!!!  I was so proud of my little calf, I gave her a hug!!!  Thankful was also a misfit, but with a little dairy farmer care she thrives.  Dairy farming is all about saving the misfits....they are worth the time and effort.


  1. We just had our vet come out a couple of days ago as well for pregnancy checks and calf vaccinations. Have a great evening Shannon:)

  2. Gosh. I've read so many of your posts tonight and can tell you really do know your herd and love each one. Im in a place right now where I am trying to research & learn as much as possible about where my food comes from and how the animals are born, raised and ultimately die. Im struggling. There is so much information out there. Im practicing a pescatarian diet until I can figure out what I am ok with. I worry that if I drink/eat dairy that Im in turn supporting the slaughterhousds and possible inhumane slaughter practices... but then I see how wonderful you treat your herd, & how you care about them and I want my family & I to drink/eat dairy but I still have that guilt about the killing part... ugh. Its such a spiritual struggle for me right now. Regardless, thank you for your blog. Before I found this, it was mostly gloom & doom so its great to hear it directly from a dairy farmer and restvassured knowing that cruelty & injury arent dominating the industry


I write this blog to share my passion for my cows and farming, please be respectful of that. I reserve the right to delete those comments which portray hate, call names, and are out right disrespectful. If you have an honest question, I will respond, to explain what we do on our farm, why we do it and how we do it. Please read with an open mind. My time to blog is short, as most of our days are spent caring for our beloved cows. Thank you!