Thursday, 29 June 2017


 Introducing Poppy.

It's time to start thinking about training up another house cow to replace Lavender when the time comes. We're very happy with Lavender's breed - Jersey (dairy breed) crossed with Murray Grey (beef breed) - so I ordered a calf from the same breeder just as soon as we knew she (Lavender) was well again. 
As you know, she had been Love sick and we held off on our plans until we knew she was well enough to supply milk for the next four months, for the calf.
When the dairy owner phoned us with the news that a heifer had been born, we arranged to collect her when she was five days old. I'm not sure, but I think she was with her mother for two or three days, before being taken away and tied up in a small enclosure where she wasn't able to walk around much. So I'm hoping she had her mother's colostrum for those first days.
There were two heifers to choose from and when we checked their little teats, the other heifer had six little teats. That would be a problem, so I'm really glad we checked that important detail.
I discreetly slipped the tiny  homeopathic Arnica pillule (against shock) into her mouth as she was suckling my fingers, and before we lifted her into the calf carrying cage on the back of the ute.
(Some conventional farmers think I'm a little bit strange with my ideas of bio-dynamics, homeopathics and organics. Each person has their own ideas and I would never push our way of life and our beliefs onto anyone else unless they asked me about it, or wanted advice.)
It was early afternoon when we got her home and settled her into the small calf shelter in our calf yard. She had been fed in the morning, but she looked very thin and dehydrated so I mixed up a litre of my home made electrolyte drink to hydrate and settle her.
1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon honey or sugar, dissolved in 1 litre of warm water.
In some of my previous posts I have detailed how important it is not to over feed new calves, so the electrolyte drink is a perfect way to settle a new 'brought in' calf without overloading its developing belly.
In the evening she had 3/4 litre of fresh milk watered down to make it up to 2 litres.
That's my general DAY 1 treatment for brought in calves unless they have other issues like visible diarrhea. In which case I would put 2 teaspoons of garlic water into the electrolyte mix, and dilute the next feed of  half milk and half water to make 2 litres.
For the first couple of nights I like to confine a new calf to the small shed, with some dry straw to lay on. One of the reasons, apart from keeping her warm and dry,  is so that I can easily find and inspect her new fresh droppings. For this first few weeks I'll be constantly on the lookout for changes to her poo; colour, smell and texture. I'll be obsessed with poo!!

The following morning, after checking her poo, she drank her first proper feed of 2 litres of fresh milk from the calf feeder.  Then I opened the gate and let her follow me out and into the calf yard.

She discovered she had legs.... and they could move..... fast!   They could kick up in the air too. It was such fun to run from her adopted Mum (me) to the end of the yard and back again.

"This running caper is so much fun and I feel so clever. Look out Mum, here I come!"

In the next few days I'll start training her with a halter to lead, tie up, and put her head into the (small training) milking bales. If I do this now while she is small, she will respond easily, with no stress, and will be a valuable and well mannered house cow in the future.
No doubt you will see many posts about Poppy's progress in the coming months.

*The methods I use are what I have researched and learned, though trial and error in some cases, during my years of cow ownership and calf raising. I am in no way advocating that this is the only correct way, but it's what has worked for me. A lot of my actions are ruled by my gut feeling; that and constant searching for alternative and natural ways of animal health and maintenance.
By sharing what I have learned, I may be of help to other owners and animals to minimise ill health and suffering.


  1. What does Lamby think of its new sibling?

    1. Lamby is not terribly impressed with Poppy, she tried to suckle his ears.

  2. What a little cutie, Sally! It seems to me that you know what you are talking about and if it works for you that's the most important thing.

    1. Chel, she is the cutest little darling, and she will be a great companion to Lavender.

  3. Poppy is adorable!!! I can just imagine the hilarity of her antics:) Meg

  4. Nawww, little sweetheart!! When ever I see a new calf out in the paddocks, I keep it to myself, I want those babies with their mums for as long as possible and without being tied up!

  5. so cute! what is your plan to get her tame enough for housecow duties one day?

    1. Liz, she is doing well at her training. Her evening milk feeds are taken in the small calf training bales, with a few minutes of restraining her until she stands calmly. I've also started halter training for few minutes each morning after her feed, I lead her around the paddock. She's small enough for me to control now, and she happily follows me because I'm Mummy. We stop, stand, walk. I tie her up, pat her all over, under her tummy, around her little teats, and pick up her feet all round, just like training a young horse. She's doing really well, this one is really smart. Just a few minutes each morning and night makes all the difference.

  6. Welcome Poppy, you are a darling! Love hearing your farming practices Sally, always written with such respect and knowledge xxxxJude fairy wren cottage

    1. Thank you for your kind words dear Jude. :)

  7. Poppy is home to award winning Chef Jerry Traunfeld in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, WA. We offer happy hour, dinner and late night menus daily.


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