Friday, November 2, 2007

House Cow

We bought our "renovators dream" about two years ago when I was about 8 months pregnant with our third child. We had BIG plans. Two years later we have done nothing and I'm a bit fed up with it.
At the beginning of spring we dug up some garden beds and created a veggie patch . I've enjoyed growing vegetables so much that I have decided I am really going to get into this rural thing.
Actually, we live in a rural area but we only have a couple of acres with a decrepit old farmhouse on it. Still it is enough to try and be semi-self sufficient.
My partner doesn't share my enthusiasm for a house cow and chooks. But after much pestering he has commenced work on resurrecting the old chook house. And after days of , let's say lively discussion, he agreed on a house cow.
Our house cow, Brandy, arrived today. She is a 12 month old jersey cow. I had a look around at a few cows before I decided on her. A neighbour had some friesians that were in calf, but I wanted the jersey because they eat less and we only have about 3 acres of grass for her to graze on, and because the cream content in the jersey cow is higher. This is better for making cheese- which I also want to learn how to do.
I went and saw a farmer who had some jersey cows for sale. He got one into the yard for me to look at but as I tried to approach it, it ran away. I hadn't realised that cows need to be broken in.
Last week I saw and add in the paper for a 12 month old jersey who "will lead." This means she is used to having a halter on. So we went to look at her and were able to approach her with the owner and pat her. It was basically love at first sight.
She was delivered today. She cost $400 and it was $150 to have her delivered. Brandy is more used to people than she is other animals, so obviously we don't have to break her in.
Her previous owner bottle fed her from three days old and has been pulling her teats regularly to get her used to being handled, so that milking will be easier.
We have got her in the house-block at the moment and she is letting my partner, Bill, and I hand feed her, but when the kids approach she backs off.
We have bought a bag of calf muesli, $20, and a bale of hay,$15. The guy at the rural supplies store told Bill that is all we need to give her, if we have plenty of grass, and it will last about three weeks. So that's about $11.66 per week.
Our neighbour Sophie has given me a recipe for a natural tick repellent which is:
1 tbsp tea tree oil
1 tbsp eucalyptus oil
1 tbsp citronella
250 ml water
50 ml of cooking oil
Put it all in a spray pack and spray it down down the back and around the udder. She suggested I tie her to the fence while I am doing it because she probably wont like it.

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