I met a cow today. A different one from my little Guernsey/Jersey heifer... This was a lady in her element. A Jersey/Holstein cross, weighing in at 700 lbs. and milking a whopping 6 gallons a day. Yep, I met a cow today.
And why was I traipsing about looking at cows that were not my own? Dear friends, this farm girl is looking for her next addition. I need a milking cow. I had seen and inquired about another Guernsey/Jersey cross cow, and this one was milking 4 gallons a day on her first lactation (be still my beating heart!), but I had not the money for her at the time, and the gentleman could not hold her for the two weeks that I need.
So I began looking some more. And it just so happened that someone was selling a Jersey/Holstein cross, and they lived close by. Who was I to say no to such a possibility?? The address was written down, and the van fired up. We were goin' cow hunting. Personally, I think we ended up getting more than we bargained for as Mom and I found ourselves winding up an incredibly steep and curvy gravel road... Our wheels spun more than I care to hear wheels spin, and I mentally willed the van to keep on creeping up this hill that seemed more mountainous in terrain. More than once I declared that I would walk up the rest of the way; I didn't trust the van to get us there in one piece. Thankfully, when I feared I could stand the tension no more, the road leveled out and we came upon the clearing of someone's homestead. To my left was a corral with three cows and four calves. To my right were four horses; a dun, two sorrels, and a paint. Dead ahead was a small, tidy, white farmhouse and coming directly at us was a gigantic German Shepherd. I grinned at Mom who is known to NOT like German Shepherds at all, and got out of the van. The big dog turned out the be a friendly lug and my mind soon turned to the task at hand: the cow.
The lady walked me over to the corral and pointed out the bovine of interest. Chocolate in color, with a darker head, she looked like a sweet little Jersey. Had the lady not told me that there was Holstein blood in this girl's veins, I never would have guessed. She walked in a slow and graceful manner towards us; her overly pendulous udder slapped against her legs keeping time to the rhythm of her gait. Her head nodded with each step, and I smiled as I thought how much it looked like she was dancing to a song in her head. This girl knows music. The next 10-15 minutes were spent looking her over, asking questions and trying to get a feel for this cow. The lady was very sweet and told me what she new about her... They've been calling her 'Betty', and she was four years old. They bought her from the local auction, but before that she was from a dairy. She would accept foster calves, but preferred to not be bothered with youngsters. Our guess as to why she was culled was perhaps her udder. There was no way around this conclusion: it was *quite* pendulous. You could still put a pail beneath the ol' girl with no problems, but in comparison to some of the other cows you see in pictures, she looked a little dowdy. But nevertheless, I liked this cow. I really did. There was ONE thing though, that was causing some hesitance in me, and it wasn't exactly her udder (I can live with looking at a droopy bag). Her back teats are tiny! The two front teats are fine, and I can fit my whole hand around them. But with the two back teats I can only do my thumb and first two fingers. I think my hands might rebel at such a Cross Fit of milking those things twice a day, every day until I can get a milking machine. But I'm trying not to judge her too much, as it felt like she was pretty engorged, so it may not be all that bad...
In the midst of this cow critiquing, I happened to glance back at Mom who stood outside the corral's boundary. What I saw made me burst out in a laugh, which consequently spooked Betty. There was Mom alright, but instead of standing still and watching me, she was now throwing a clunky piece of wood to the German Shepherd who was adamant that he be played with. Mom later exclaimed that she felt a bit like the main character, 'Larry', in Night At The Museum, in the scene with the T-Rex wanting his bone to be thrown.
After walking around Betty a few more times, milking her, handling her, and watching her, I took my leave. I liked this cow, but I wanted to think on this for a bit. The lady willingly came down to my asking price, but I can't afford to do any buying for two weeks yet... So Betty might be gone by then.
One thing is for certain though: This farm girl will have a second cow by July... I can feel it in my bones.