AND so he built a milking stanchion. Because no self respecting body, except for the odd cow, wanted to be out in the gardens or the fields yesterday. The wind was horrible. Later in the morning the rain cleared out and back came Mistress Wind and she was in a Howler of a mood. Sending us all scuttling for cover. So John took cover in the barn – my barn – and built us a milking stanchion. Stanchion is a French word I think. Stand is probably a more American word?
Meanwhile- the weather was so grim that I thought I had lost the kunekune but they were both tucked up in the back of their hut. Snug – and grumpy at being bothered by me crawling into the hut and peering over their straw bale wall to see if everything was alright. “Of course everything is bloody alright,” Timatanga Moana grumbled, muttering on about the damn cold wind and can you please get that damn ugly slobbery dog out of my bedroom. (You can tell they come from New Zealand stock). I looked back to find Boo peering politely over my shoulder. He looked at me and I looked at him and lifting our paws lightly we both backed out – not wanting to tangle with a grumpy pig.
“She is looking awfully fat.” whispered Boo as we both moved in tandem, in reverse, on all fours, out of the hut.
“I don’t know why,” I said, “I never give her any grain.”
“I can hear you..!” Tima called out to us. “I am right here you know!”
“Snort.” said TonTon. Who was very sensibly waiting three steps back from the door of the Kunekune hut moving even further back to let our bottoms out.
You see John had the day off, because of all the rain, so he set to and remade the hay feeder in the milking shed into a milking stanchion. (I realise now how spoilt I was with Daisy in her good days before she got sick. She would just stand in the milking shed, I did not even need to chain her up. Though there must have been a training period. But I can’t remember it).
The Stanchion (or Stand) is a gap that the cow puts her head through, with two upright bars on either side of her neck, one of which will slide across and close around her so she can comfortably eat and move her head about, but she cannot back up. Remarkably this made a great deal of difference to Lady A. Once secured she began to eat her sunflower and oat treats. And each time she lifted her foot to kick, (only four times this session) I sung “Lift.” and John lifted her tail in warning and she put her foot back down. Then I sung”Down.” and he relaxed. Each of these directives was told in the same sing song voice I use to talk to the cow. It would probably sound quite bonkers to the outsider. But all she is learning is repercussions. She kicks – her tail is lifted by some unseen force. Foot down – tail down.
(On the right of the screen -above- will be the goats milking platform but we do not need to worry about building this stanchion and platform until this coming winter- first things first). “First things first.” is such a sensible saying, don’t you think?
This is not an overnight fix. Lady A is in training now. It takes a good two or three weeks to train a cow sometimes longer so she and I can work as a team without Our John the reluctant policeman. Cows are not dogs, they are not terribly clever, so if we do the same thing in the same order every evening we will develop our understanding. I am determined that Lady and I will work together. Her udder is lovely. Her calf is lovely. We will work it out. We have time. Milking season has only just begun!
Mr Flowers is such a calm peacock. No eggs yet though. Soon maybe?
I hope you have a lovely day.
Love your friend on the farm, (and everybody needs a friend with a farm! So do not hesitate to set up a time to visit – you are one of The Fellowship of the Farmy after all!).