Or two…

We have two (technically, we have a cow -means she’s had a calf before- and a heifer – means she’s not yet had a calf).  Sheby is red/brown and looks like a Jersey.  Snowball is black (a misnomer, I know) with slightly curly hair and reminds me more of a Holstein.  Both are sweet, but very to fairly pregnant and very skittish.

We’ve had them for almost a week.

This morning, I was able to brush their necks up to their shoulder.  This is the first time Snowball has allowed contact at all and the first time Sheby’s allowed this while I stood.  (Apparently it’s scary to look at all of me at once in the morning??  Or perhaps they, like me, don’t like feeling ‘towered’ over??)

They are starting to come into their stall as soon as someone is in the barn.  Any one of my children and my dog can enter while they eat if they don’t move too fast or do something startling.  They have not yet kicked my dog (encouraging to me, since he’s the most annoying of all of us.  For awhile he thought it was fun to enter their corral and make them stand if they lay down… as a fellow pregnant creature, I took pity on the cows and chastised him properly!)

They allow my children to feed them through the bars.  They back away or shake like there are flies on them when they are first getting used to our patting.  I hope that’s all they do when I first reach for the udder.  Something tells me that their reactions then may be quite a bit stronger.  For this reason my gracious and talented husband is planning to build a containment stall to assist with the milking.  Something where only my arms are in danger.  I suggested that we just get me a set of pads like the baseball catcher wears.  Nobody thought much of that idea.  Pretty sure the cows would need more time to get used to that than they will a stall.  I’m hoping to get them halter trained sometime in the not-too-distant future.  That would be ENORMOUSLY helpful.

My four year old and I mucked out their stall for the first time yesterday (they have free access to a box stall and a small outdoor ‘arena’ where their water is kept.  Because of the very saturated mess that we found under the top layer, we’ll be doing this more often from now on.  Fortunately, my son loves ‘scooping the poop".  It’s definitely handy to have an enthusiastic partner during these kinds of jobs.

We also cleaned out the chicken brooder (otherwise known as an old stock tank).  That was INFINITELY worse than the cows!!! Chickens are little, cute, amusing when they fight over carrot tops… and RANK!

We’re planning to corral them in a dog kennel from now on.  I look forward to skipping the scraping out of the tank and the relatively simple procedure of moving the kennel and shoveling the mess into a wheelbarrow.  Less close contact, see?

Our ducklings and layer chicks will be arriving tomorrow.  Lithany has claimed the ducks as her own, one of which is sure to be known as ‘Lucia’.  Sheby is also apparently "her cow".  That left Snowball to be Orion’s.  She graciously told me that I could have the calves.  Pretty sure she’ll change her mind when they get here.

We’ve been toying with our wood burning stove in the basement.  It doesn’t seem to help SIGNIFICANTLY in the heating arena, but the kids think it’s the best ever.  They are dying to do marshmallows in it. 

So we’re having a cow.  Or a ball.  Or both.