Monday 16 June 2014

Introducing Bella, Daisy, Mulga-Bill & Willow

These gorgeous girls greet me at the beginning of every day. What's not to love about those faces?
Daisy (the spotted one) is a Jersey X Friesan who we raised from two days old and trained to be our house cow.  She is now three years old and has had one calf in October 2013 while friends Anne and Klaus were staying with us, having their first farm experience. Daisy birthed easily while we stood and watched in awe.  Of course we had to name the little bull calf Klaus.
Daisy is still giving us lots of milk when we milk her just once every day in the evenings. Some of her milk is used for feeding the two calves Mulga-Bill & Willow.
Bella (the brown one) is a beef cow that we once thought might be half Friesan so we trained her to be milked as well. She is so very quiet and has been a wonderful foster mum who takes any new calves that we give her.

Mulga-Bill drinks from a store bought calf feeder while Willow drinks from a home made one.  It works just as well as the fancy feeder that cost around $70 a few years ago and for a cost of less than $15, is much more realistic to the frugal small farmer.  (Photos & directions of how to make coming on a later blog.)  Each calf has their own feeder for the four months duration of their milk drinking to prevent any cross infection of scours or anything contagious.
These two calves are fed 2-3 litres of milk twice daily and run with the big cows grazing the paddocks and with access to hay.
Bella is drying off now after fostering Bubble who was weaned  last week and moved to a new paddock with Klaus and Lavender.
We bought Mulga-Bill as a young Angas bull calf last month and is our new breeding bull who will grow and run with the cows. With lots of gentle handling he has become quiet and shouldn't be too much of a problem when the testosterone kicks in. We also plan to loan him out to other small breeders so he is being trained to walk onto our trailer while he's young and small enough to coax and manipulate without giving him any negative experiences that he will be sure to remember. Cows have memories like elephants.
There is something so very special about cows. The smell of their breath and their trusting nature is enough to melt any heart and calm the most anxious of moods. Impossible to hurry, big and gentle, these are what connect me to the earth and its bounty every single day.


  1. Sally, I am just taking my first tentative steps towards a self-sufficient lifestyle (we're in Truro). I completely love your blog and look forward to future installments. We started in May and now have chickens, a pig, and a cow (and a pathetic insect eaten veggie patch!). I was wondering if you send your larger animals away to be butchered or do you use a mobile butcher (or do you do it yourself)? I still have soooo much to learn and you are quite an inspiration!

    1. Louisa, our first steps were tentative too. Good on you for taking the first steps. Like us, you're bound to learn as you go while making plenty of mistakes. I'm still battling with insects in my veges, particularly earwigs, but I refuse to give in. Some of the butchering is done here by us, some is done here by a mobile butcher & some are sent away due to ridiculous laws that demand they are processed in a licensed abattoir to sell the meat directly to our customers. We much prefer our animals to finish their lives here in a stress free environment. We always buy at least two pigs as I believe they grow better with company. I'll do a follow up blog about pig growing which may interest you. Thanks for your positive feed back & hope we can continue to share our stories.


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