Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Admitting Defeat. Accepting Failure.

It is with much shame and sadness that I am admitting defeat with Hazel after only three days. She is leaving at 10AM tomorrow morning. :(

Tonight's milking was an utter nightmare. I couldn't even milk her out all the way. I was growing frustrated with her repeated attempts at putting her hoof in my pail, when suddenly Hazel changed her tactic and launched her foot directly at my stomach. The force tossed me three feet back, and pain shot through my torso. All I could think to gasp was, "Holy Mackerel!" As I stood up, bent double with my arms wrapped around me. I couldn't help it anymore... I cried. And cried. And cried. Hot fiery tears from pain, from knowing that this was the end of the two of us, that she would have to go back, and worst of all: I hadn't even finished milking out her first side. Her right side was still engorged with the day's worth of milk. She still kicked the entire time and finally I gave up on using a pail; I just milked her out right on the floor and dodged her feet as best as I could. All that milk... Wasted.

I need a milking machine. If I knew I could get one before the week was out, then I would keep Hazel. But it'll probably be a couple weeks yet before I can get that miracle contraption, so I must do the hard task of giving her back. I really don't want to though. She really is a sweet cow, I just take forever during milking and she hates that. I love her color, her sweet face, her funny moo... Oh man I do not want to lose this cow. But neither do I want to hand milk her anymore. Had I known that she had edema and cracked teats when I first went to look at her, I would have said 'No' on the spot. This being my first milking cow (I've always had calves in the past), I need a cow that doesn't have problems. A kicking cow is one thing, but a kicking cow that has edema and cracked teats is a whole 'nother story. When I first saw her, she had such an engorged udder that there was absolutely no way you could tell that she had edema. And her udder was so filthy that you really couldn't tell what was caked mud and what was a crack on the teat. Nope, I thought she was a perfectly healthy cow. And then I learned otherwise once she landed at the farm...

I wish I knew someone who could take her and give her the care she deserves... I'm worried that she'll end up right back at the auction after this, and most likely end up on the rail (i.e. at the slaughterhouse). She needs to gain about 300 lbs. and she needs some TLC on that big udder of hers. I thought I would be the one to do all that, and now I'm finding that I'm not... 

So has this adventure cured me of wanting a cow? Absolutely not. I will sorely miss Hazel, and now I can't imagine not having a big milking cow around the place. Plus, I know Peaches will really miss the bovine company. Hazel didn't work out, but that will not deter me from my ultimate goal of having a raw milk herdshare program. First, I will get a milking machine. Then I will get another cow. I'll most likely just get a good tempered Jersey from my local dairyman; I got a heifer calf from him a couple years ago, and I know a lot of people who have bought milkers from him. His prices are good, and he's dead honest about why he's selling each cow. But it probably won't have that pretty chocolate brown color that Hazel has... And she probably won't have that funny moo that sounds like a dinosaur, like Hazel has. But as long as she doesn't kick like Hazel does, or have udder problems like Hazel does, then we should be fine.

So off to bed I hop now... I am admitting defeat, and now I am accepting failure.

I'm going to miss Hazel...

6 comments:

Sarah Mc said...

so sorry to hear about Hazel ..I have awaited your blog posts about her... Perhaps you should keep her and not concern yourself with keeping milk for the moment but healing this poor animal... Just a suggestion I know how hard it is to care for a animal that is ill but she might be worth it in the end... perhaps the dairy man down the road can give you some suggestions...I know you and I both hate for her to go back to a home that is clearly lacking. I hope I don't upset you with this comment because I truly am rooting for you! Sarah p.s. if I didn't live on the other side of the country I would take Her.email me anytime daughteroftheplow@gmail.com

Tayet Silverspoon said...

I am so sorry to hear that! I hope you get things figured out with a new cow easily.

nancy said...

Sometimes things just don't work out. I view life as a experiment sometimes, you just have too see where things land....

nancy said...

And I hope you're ok? No cracked ribs, etc?

Anonymous said...

First of all, you have to take care of yourself and STAY SAFE. You have a good heart and you want to help this animal, but not at the risk of your own safety.

I rescue draft horses from slaughter- I understand how dangerous a kicking animal can be.
One well placed kick can mean death from a cow or horse. They are quick and powerful.

As much as I am sorry to hear that she is going back to a place that failed to care for her properly in the first place, I understand your decision. She must be milked everyday (you can't just quit milking cold turkey-like someone else suggested-that is not the way it works) and there is no way for you to milk safely-end of story.

Thanks for sharing your ups and downs. This is not giving up, it is self preservation and common sense.

Send her back and keep looking!
Heather in PA

Kristin said...

Do you not have an anti kick device? A cow with an udder like you describe AND a new milker is bound to be a bit.....upset by the entire new process. I sure hope you are not seriously injured.