Self-Weaning

I insert medicine into Sienna’s teat to help her dry up.

My family milk cow has decided all on her own to wean her calf. This is extremely unusual, and I’m still not quite sure what to make of it. I should mention that it is her adopted calf. I had some difficulty getting her to accept him, but, eventually, she took him as her own and let him nurse whenever he wanted. Now, she’s decided to reject him again. 

Honestly, I don’t blame her. He’s now over five months old. I usually wean her calves at three or four months old. It seems the bigger they get, the rougher they are on their mamas. I guess Sienna had just had enough.

However, when my cow up and decides to wean her calf without my knowledge, it can cause some problems. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have Sienna on a regular milking schedule right now. She only gets milked when my son separates her from the calf, which is about three times a week. 

Unfortunately, my son had gone four days without milking her, and when he tried to milk her last night, she wouldn’t let him touch her. She was extremely swollen. I have no idea how long it had been since she had let the calf on her. But, the other issue was her teats. What happens when you let a teenage boy take over milking your cow? Things go unnoticed. All of Sienna’s teats were cracked and cut up. The calf had done this to her, which is no wonder she wouldn’t let him nurse anymore. But, obviously, she was super sore and didn’t want us or the calf to touch her. I had to use a stick on her to get her to stop kicking, so my son could get her drained enough for the calf to take over. She still didn’t want to let the calf suck, but the stick can be pretty convincing.    

I need one syringe for each teat.

After putting some udder balm on her, she was let out with her calf. This morning, it was obvious that the calf hadn’t been allowed to nurse again. I decided it was time to dry her up. After she was milked out, I put a syringe of ToMORROW into each of her teats. This is supposed to help keep cows from getting mastitis when you dry them up. I definitely think it helps. I put more udder balm on Sienna and then put her out to pasture, away from the calf. 

I use Udder Balm as a salve for the teats. Bag Balm is also a good brand.

I checked Sienna’s udder to make sure she didn’t have mastitis. I don’t think she does. That would have been one reason she wouldn’t want to be milked. She’ll be uncomfortably full for a few days, but then she will dry up. I don’t give her feed while she dries up, as that would only increase her milk supply.

I’m still perplexed by her sudden switch not to allow the calf to nurse anymore. Yes, he was rough on her, and, yes, she’s expecting another calf in a little over two months. However, those reasons aren’t usually enough for a mama cow to kick away her calf. Animals can certainly be unpredictable.

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