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Miss Pickles earns strike one

From the Farm

March 8, 2013
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

Several weeks ago I wrote about one special cow that just had her first calf.

Miss Pickles.

Nobody around here, except for Joey and I, likes Miss Pickles.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

She is a little bit rambunctious in the milking parlor, which has led to a few issues and complaints from other employees on the farm.

You see, Miss Pickles doesn't really like to get milked all that much. She tends to stomp around a little bit. She was "this close" to having the cuffs put on to prevent her from kicking the milking unit off.

I stuck up for Miss Pickles and wouldn't allow the cuffs to be used on her.

Each milking she eventually does kick the milking unit off, which means one of the milking people has to take the time to walk back over to her and reattach the milking unit.

It does waste time.

There is one way that keeps Miss Pickles from kicking the unit off, but I am quite sure that there are only two or three of us that take the time to care for her.

Molly, Joey and I understand that Miss Pickles needs a bit of extra attention.

The trick is to spend the time petting Miss Pickles while she is milking. All a person has to do is stand by her and rub her backthigh? I am not quite sure what it's called.

Upper leg?

Hip?

It really does waste a lot of time.

Believe me, I would prefer to rub her head, but it's impossible when she is getting milked.

We just can't reach her head.

Besides, she gets plenty of head rubbing and neck scratching when we bring her down into the holding area each morning. She patiently waits by the door for me to scratch her head. When I venture out into the holding area during milking to bring in another group of cows, Miss Pickles walks over to me looking for her morning scratch.

She really likes to be super-scratched right behind her ears.

I also think that Miss Pickles feels her long winter coat is a little bit itchy at this time of year. I can't imagine. She has long reddish-brown hair that has bits and pieces of sawdust packed into it. She's probably hoping for spring, so she can shed that nasty long cow hair.

I love her.

She's so sweet, but I will have to admit she does have a few issues when it comes to producing a good quality product.

Because Miss Pickles likes to kick the milking unit off, she doesn't empty out her udder each time she gets milked.

That's strike one in our three-strike check list.

When partial milkings occur, nine times out of 10 that particular cow will develop mastitis, which is, in layman's terms, icky milk - milk that has to be dumped down the drain.

Well, Miss Pickles has mastitis in three of her four quarters. We have been treating her with various medications, but it just doesn't seem to be working.

Instead of having a nice soft udder, Pickles udder is kind of hard.

Joey isn't real happy that Miss Pickles is not up to snuff, We haven't had all that much luck increasing Joey's herd size by growing from within. He's lost quite a few cows to strange maladies: heart issues and human negligence to name two.

So we are not giving up on Miss Pickles yet.

We will continue to stand next to her during milking and scratch her upper leg.

We will continue to try all treatments possible to cure her mastitis.

I will continue to scratch her neck each time I see her in the morning.

We are going to try our best to prevent her from getting strikes two and three.

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

 
 

 

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