The Birth of our Family Milk Cow!

The milk is really flowing now, Elsie just had a bull calf!

Elsie is our first family milk cow from two seasons ago.  She calved one week after Faith, our second family cow, so we have two jerseys with calves!

The best part about this birth is that Andrew caught it on video!

The day before, we noticed all the signs that she was going to go into labor… her hiney was swollen and giggly, she had clear fluid coming out of her hiney and her utters were so big they looked like they were ready to explode. Usually, our cows have their babies in the early morning or at night in the woods and we never catch the birth. This time was different, Elsie went into labor under a tree in plain sight from our house and in the early evening!

If you don’t want to see Elsie’s birth, don’t watch this video. But, I bet your curious, so I’ll be sweet to you and share this moment on our farm.

Click the below triangle to watch the YouTube video.

So we have a problem, we have two cows in milk and they have two calfs. We have tried all the tricks in the book to keep calves with their mother and still have enough milk for our needs.  But, it never works and this year is no exception. They’re too smart. They’ll let down at milk time, but then they tense up and stop letting down after about 4 minutes and won’t let another drop out! It give us about 8 lbs of milk (almost one gallon) and a hair line of cream. This is not good. It’s way to much effort to get all the equipment out, bring the cow up, milk, take the cow back, strain the milk, clean up the equipment for just a hair line of cream. That makes you tired just reading that, doesn’t it! πŸ™‚

We know how much these cows give a day in cream and they’re holding it all in for the calfs. We milk our cows for the cream! The skim milk is just a bonus and we use it for hard & soft cheese and yogurt, but we really put in the effort for the cream! We’re after butter, ice cream, creme frache, sour cream, coffee cream etc. etc. etc…. we want cream!

With Elsie’s first calf, two years ago, we ended up seperating her from her baby and I bottle fed her baby three times a day with fresh milk. The calf took 1.5 gallons total every day. Elsie was giving us about 4.5 gallons of milk. So we had plenty and the calf also had plenty. Win- Win.

Last year when Faith calved, we kept the calf for a few weeks and then she went to a new home. So we didn’t have to bottle feed a calf. This year, is different. We have two Jerseys and they have two calfs.

Elsie is a devoted mother. She barley ever lets her calf out of her sight and always knows where it is. She produces enough milk to feed up to four calves. On the other hand, Faith really is not the best mother. She lets other cows take care of her baby and will go half the day not knowing where her calf is. She’s doesn’t doat on her calf like Elsie does.

This weekend we’re going to try to get Elsie to adopt Faith’s calf. We’ll put Elsie and the two calves in a pen together. And put Faith in our opposite field as far as we can away from the babies. It’s no fun to seperate Moma cows from their babies, they call out to them and it’s painful to see, but we have to do it. Afterall, that’s why we have them… so we can share their milk!

We’ll probably have to put Elsie in a halter and tie her to the fence to give Faith’s calf a chance. Hopefully, all will go well and we’ll milk Faith and keep all her milk and Elsie will take care of two calfs. We’ll see how it goes πŸ™‚ It’s going to be tricky tricky!!!!

We need to name our two new bulls, do you have any ideas? 

Elsie and her new bull calf, minutes old.

Elsie (on the left, she’s brown) and her bull calf, 10 minutes old with Faith (on the right, she’s black) with her bull calf, born one week earlier.

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  1. http://Sara says

    Hi, I appreciate your blog! I have a jersey heifer about to calve in a few weeks. Can you tell me how far apart mother and calf need to be once they are separated? We have pasture area on both sides of our home, but mother and calf will still be able to see each other fairly well. Of course, we can separate with cross fencing in the pasture mother is in, but I didn’t figure that would be a solution that would make sure they don’t end up together. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!

    • http://Rashel says

      The ideal situation is that Mama and baby can’t hear or see each other, but we’ve never been able to accomplish that πŸ™‚ the only thing that is a no no is a common fence… It’s hard if they can touch nose and also if you have a smart mama cow, she’ll allow the calf to drink through the fence by going up next to the fence. When we separate they can usually see there calf and can hear it… but can’t touch. There’s a field in between.

      After about a month (depends on the cow) usually the separation has been done and you can have a common fence.

      Hope that helps! All of this is situational and depends on your cows πŸ™‚

  2. http://Jenny says

    What is your breeding cycle to keep your dairy cows in milk? I think I saw that you keep 2 dairy cows. Is that so you alway have one giving milk for you family at all times?

    • http://Rashel says

      We milk one Jersey cow once a day for 10 months and take two months off (we drive to a dairy 5 hours round trip every two weeks to pick up milk).
      We breed our cow back 2 months after she calves (so we’re milking while she’s preggers)
      We dry her off (stop milking) at least 60 days before she calves.
      We use a bull to get the job done πŸ™‚

  3. What a wonderful life and testimony you have, and I can see that you are full of faith! Thanks for your sharing! I am a missionary, aged 65, and I found Weston A. Price, etc. this weekend. My son and family are about to get milk cows. I am looking forward to sharing their milk and learning to make cheese. I have been making bone broth this weekend…. My husband is strong and healthy, but I am failing. My knees are hurting, and I am too heavy. Suggestions? Thanks for your confession of Jesus Christ! He is Lord! I am blessed to read about and to see your youtubes. Advise me of books or eating choices I should notice. Thanks so much!!! –Joy

    • http://Rashel says

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found the WAPF and you’re getting a milk cow! It doesn’t get any better. You can find my page on facebook… there I answer many of your questions in my posts. Just subscribe to this blog by email and check in on facebook and hopefully that’ll help you out. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  4. http://Kelly says

    Awww so cool! Love your website!

  5. That was an amazing video! Thanks for sharing!

What are you thoughts?