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Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Big Letdown...

Since that (&$^*@ Daisy still hasn't had her calf, Mabel is still the only one who gets the privilege of being milked every day. Usually, the evening "squirt" is easier to get the flow going than the morning one.

I think Mabel likes to play games with me, especially when I get her out of bed. She enjoys the grain, but likes to make me work for the milk.

Lately, I've had them in a small pasture up the hill from the barn, so they like to trudge up - and OVER - the hill so they are out of "earshot" in the mornings. This makes me walk 3/4ths the way out there before they can see, or hear, me. They stand up, work their radar around and STAND THERE.

So, little old cow-trained me, marches up the hill, pokes them with a stick, and they get a move on toward the barn.

It didn't take but a few days before I got tired of this "game". I could have just closed the pasture gate, but I need them to eat down the pen and let the others rest a few days. They even added a new twist to the game - the radar would come up, but they would stay laying down until I was within stick poke range, then grumble and get to their feet.

Like I said, I tired of this "fun", so I decided that I just wouldn't fall for it no more....I still had to trudge up the hill so they could see me, but gave them a "take or or leave it" deal....

"Ok, you two want breakfast? Are you HUNGRY?"

Up goes the radar....

"Come on! Get to the barn!.....

Long pause, lots of radar movement and blinking....

"OK, come and get it, or I'm giving it to the goats...."

At this point, I turn around, and head back to the barn. I can only imagine the disbelieving and horrified looks the two exchanged. It MUST have been a few tense moments when they realized their little game was up and they might miss breakfast.

Hiding inside the barn and watching out a window, I was amazed how quickly they caved. In less then 2 minutes, two worried cows came RUNNING down the hill to try and catch me before I doled out their morning fare to the evil goats. They came barreling into the barn, snorting and shaking their heads. It was obvious that they were miffed at being out foxed - well, outfoxed on THIS one, anyway.

Mabel still has a few "tricks" up her hide.

Every morning, I clean her up, rub her down, massage her udder, etc, etc, and she STILL holds her milk up for as long as possible. Once she gets going, it comes out in a nice stream, it's just GETTING her to that point that can sometimes be nerve wracking.

In the past week or two, I've taken a new course - it's a variation of the BBQ sauce approach. I "strip" the good teat, while rubbing the back of the udder for a few seconds. If that doesn't work right off (and it NEVER does....), I try this -

While maintaining the rub on her udder with my right hand, I move my left hand to her back....

In my best Homer Simpson voice, I stroke Mabel, and say - "SHORT RIBS....MMMMMMMMM..."

Apparently, Mabel gets the message right off, and lets the milk flow.

So far, I've used this method almost two weeks, and it has worked EVERY time. This makes me wonder a couple of things -

How does Mabel know what short ribs are?

And -

Where are they hiding the TV?

I can't even watch the Simpsons.....

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