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From the Farm: Everything comes in threes

January 24, 2014
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

They say things happen in threes. I say they happen in multiples of three.

The Three Wise Men.

The Three Musketeers.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

Triplets.

The six calves born on Sunday. No set of triplets, but it's a multiple of three.

You read that right, we had a total of six calves born Sunday morning.

It was officially our weekend off, so we didn't get involved in too much of the action, until later.

This is only the third time since I have lived on this farm that I can recall having so many calves born in one day.

Usually, having so many calves born in one day involves a cow giving birth to multiples. That wasn't the case Sunday morning. Nope, there were six cows, including two Jerseys, which had babiwes. Of the six calves, only two were females.

There was a seventh calf born Monday, that one was also a male.

It's a lot of work to feed six newborn calves. It's also a lot of work to milk six new cows, especially if four of them have never been in the

milking parlor previously.

It takes a lot of time to feed six calves with a bottle. Some catch on to it like their instincts were never in question. Some are born with no

sucking instinct and it takes a few times to get them to figure it out.

Zack, our herdsman, like Steve, believes it's a lot easier to teach male calves to drink from a bottle.

Whatever. I don't share that opinion. I have no scientific proof that female calf-intelligence seriously out-weighs the male gender bovine. If I did have proof, it would ruin all the fun between the three of us morning-chores chaps.

Steve's phone rang at approximately 10 a.m. That's when I knew we were going to be summoned out into the winter to help with something.

Apparently, Silky, Russell's show cow, tried to exit the headlock going forward. That's not a good choice, but hey, we have all made bad choices at some time or another. We tried not to make her feel like a doofus.

A headlock is exactly what it says. The cow will stick her head in between two pipes, when the thick part of her neck enters, it pushes to pipes

inward and it locks her into that spot. She can still move her head around and it is not, by any means, painful. What's painful is when a grumpy cow decides to kick a person, which they are very capable of doing when put in a headlock.

Silky is one of the tamest cows I know. She acted like getting it was just another day of getting stuck in the headlock and that these humans would get her out without a problem.

There she was, laying on the ground half-in and half-out, chewing her cud and occasionally trying to wag her tail. Russell was giving her hugs

around her neck; maybe that helped her demeanor.

We ended up taking the headlock out of the wooden frame and tipping it forward over Silky's head.

She just lay there, regurgitating and re-chewing. Typical day for her.

So, if the theory of it-happens-in-threes holds true, does that mean two more cows are going to get stuck in the headlock?

If so, I can only hope it will be two more really tame and satiated Jersey cows. I know a Holstein would flip out if we had to work with her while

she was stuck in a headlock.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at kahoffman@newulmtel.net.

 
 

 

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