My Cow’s a Good Sport

My four-year-old son milks Sienna. He’s actually pretty good at it.

Today, I’m going to brag on my cow. There have been times in the past where Sienna has been extremely frustrating, like when she refused to accept the adopted calf I wanted to put on her. However, despite those few instances, Sienna’s really been a good sport. She puts up with about anything.

As long as Sienna’s in her stanchion and there’s feed in the bucket, she’s happy. She doesn’t get bothered by any hubbub going on around her. She doesn’t mind who’s milking. She doesn’t care if it’s noisy or quiet. She doesn’t mind an audience either. Like I said, she’s a good sport.

This is our farm dog, Sadie, who is half border collie and half kelpie. She’s always dirty. She loves being outside, “herding” anything, and getting into mischief. It was difficult to take this photo, because she can’t sit still.

Usually, it’s just me, Sadie, and Lily in the barn at milking time. Lily is the barn cat who steers clear of Sadie, my dog. Sadie is very hyper. She can’t sit still for thirty seconds. If she’s not running in and out of the barn or barking at Lily, she’s nosing up to the bucket to catch any scraps that Sienna drops to the ground. Why a dog wants to eat cow feed is beyond me. But, Sienna doesn’t mind any of Sadie’s shenanigans. When Sienna’s not in her stanchion, however, she doesn’t hesitate to put Sadie in her place.

A family friend tries her hand at milking. The 13 year old enjoyed it so much that she’s been back to milk several times.

Sienna’s been the coach for many a beginner milker. When guests visit our farm, many of them like to try their hand at milking a cow. Sienna stands like a champ. She doesn’t care at all that she’s never seen the new person before. The newbie tugs and squeezes, sometimes struggling to find the right motion and grip to get milk from the teat. In truth, Sienna’s has a lot more patience than I do.

I’ve had small children try to milk while their parents stand by and take photos. Sienna doesn’t even mind the paparazzi treatment. The first time I had so many people in the barn at once while I showed a beginner to milk, I was worried Sienna would be nervous. She wasn’t. A milk cow isn’t nearly as finicky about people as a horse.

It doesn’t bother Sienna when her calf and I milk her at the same time either. She also doesn’t mind a strange calf nursing from her… as long as she’s in the stanchion. I’d like to boast that Sienna and I have some special bond or something, but, in reality, I think it’s just the feed. That works for me though, because then I know that no matter who milks her, she’ll stand for them. She’s an old pro.

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