Because a farm just isn’t a farm without a cow we are proud to announce the arrival of our TWO new cows: Charlotte and Mama. Charlotte is a Jersey x Holstein drop calf. A drop calf is a term used in the dairy industry to describe a calf that is taken from it’s mama at a young age so that the mama can begin milking immediately and earning her keep. Generally the young males are sold to be raised as beef cows and the females are kept on the farm to be raised as future milkers. Finding a young calf was extremely difficult, but I finally found an organic dairy farmer in Enumclaw who was kind enough to offer me his next drop calf because he wanted to help a new farmer out! Charlotte was born on August 16, 2013 which is my sister Belinda’s birthday so I will always remember her birth date! Maybe next year we will have a joint birthday party!
Mama is our nurse cow who is a full Jersey. Jerseys are known for their big brown eyes, easy temperament and milk that is high in butterfat. I found Mama through a customer at my work who has a small farm in Enumclaw. His friend, Alex, had mentioned that he was thinking of selling his milk cow because he had too much milk and his wife had decided she didn’t want to make THAT much cheese. When we went to look at her I knew I wanted her because she was an absolute sweetheart. Alex told us that he usually milked her in the pasture and didn’t even bother tying her. He also showed us two very healthy angus bull calves that she had nursed. Finding a cow that is a good milk cow and will accept other calves as her own and allow them to nurse is hard to do. For us Mama is everything we were looking for in a cow.
Since getting the cows we have already learned so much! I swear Charlotte grows bigger everyday. She loves to cuddle and bottle feeding her is always entertaining. Mama is really starting to bond with Charlotte. At first we had to hold Mama while Charlotte nursed but now Mama is licking Charlotte (a good sign she is starting to mother her) and will stand still while she nurses (so long as she has a little grain). The fact that I spent six weeks unsuccessfully looking for a cow and then found Mama on the same weekend Charlotte was born is proof that both these cows were meant to be a part of our little farm. Getting them together has been an absolute blessing. We have no experience raising a calf but Mama does and she is teaching us every day and Charlotte is giving us a chance to get used to having two more animals in the barn before we take on the huge task of milking every day.
We decided on the name Charlotte after Ruby suggested it while feeding her a bottle (see the video above). Mama was originally named Dixie but Ross didn’t like the name so he just started calling her Mama. Since she is such a good mom and I had already nicknamed her Mamacita I agreed to consider it. But the name really stuck when we had the vet out to check her and we found out that she is two months pregnant! So she is now officially named Mama as she will be the first Mama cow on our farm and will hopefully end up mothering quite a few more calves in the coming years. Our vet estimates that she is about two months along. Cows have a nine moth gestation period so we will be expecting a calf sometime in March. When he preg. tested her he said he could hold the baby calf in his hand and estimate the age based on the measurement of its head. His guess is 62 days. So cool!