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Thanks, Chubby

From the Farm

October 7, 2010
By Kerry Hoffman

Please enjoy a previous column, as I enjoy several days away visiting friends and relatives in Wisconsin. I should have plenty to write about, as I am making the trip with only my mother.

I swear I asked for something better than what I got on my birthday. I'm not greedy about gifts; I just thought I had something different on my mind.

In fact, I am pretty sure I did ask for a better gift than what I received nothing.

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Kerry Hoffman

Chubby, my nemesis, gave birth to a heifer calf, on my birthday. Consequently, as another thorn in my side, Steve promptly named the calf Kerry.

Chubby and I have always had a mutual agreement to avoid each other unless it's unavoidable. Milking is unavoidable twice per day!

Chubby is one of those transplant city cows we purchased several years ago.

She's big.

She's black.

In fact, she's almost entirely black. She's so black; I would consider her the black sheep of our cow family.

And Chubby is extremely fat. Do I have to be politically correct when it comes to cows? (I know Chubby can't read this, so I feel a little safer using the "fat" word.)

There is no other way to describe her, but fat. If she wasn't such a dork, I suppose I could find nicer words, but at this point I cannot. I did name her Chubby out of the kindness of my heart.

I think Chubby eats out of boredom. Who can blame her, I do the same thing, but around here, it is my firm belief that a cow has to earn her keep.

When we purchased Chubby from the "Urban Farm," she was just confirmed pregnant. The problem with Chubby was that she had already been milking for more than 400 days.

The perfect cow, which is my opinion, is equal to my beloved Angus (bless her soul), will milk for approximately 305 days. A perfect cow will calve and move into the milking herd with no problem. She should, health permitting, come into heat about 45 days later, and is confirmed pregnant about 30 days later.

It didn't work that way with Chubby. In fact, it's never worked that way with Chubby. Chubby is almost six years old, which means she has produced three calves in her life, and has been milked three cycles. Her first cycle was 362 days, the second was 581 and the third was 481 all too long. Her peak milk production is at 137 pounds of milk per day, the other cows average about 80. That's why Chubby gets to stay around here - whether I like it or not.

I wanted to get rid of Chubs a long time ago. She didn't fit in the old stalls at the time, and ate like a pig. She pounded the person milking with her knobby, hair-challenged, more-crooked-than-a-witches-nose tail. The person milking had to grab Chubby's tail, so love-bunny couldn't use it as a weapon.

She's not any better behaved in the milking parlor. As soon as she knows a person is ready to prep her for milking, she starts making her moves. She steps left, right, left, right and throws a mild kick in for show.

It's a good, maddening show.

Heck, she moves around so much, she could join the local square dance group.

Chubby is Chubby.

It wouldn't have hurt my feelings one bit if she would have delivered a healthy bull calf. But noooooo, she has to keep her poor genetic line present in our herd.

And to top it off, she continues those genetics on my birthday!

Just so you know, when Steve came into the parlor that day he was grinning from ear-to-ear.

"You are going to love your birthday present," he said. "Chubby had a beautiful heifer calf this morning, on your birthday! Do you know what we are going to name her?"

"Oh, I can only guess," I said. "Jerk?"

"Kerry!" Steve exclaimed.

Several days later, Kerry (the calf) is loud and obnoxious; she bellers for more food all day long. She is not at all like me!

Gee, thanks a lot Chubby. I am sure I asked for a better gift than that.



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