Monday, January 20, 2014

Molly-Moo's Milking Parlor
Time is quickly approaching for Molly's calf to be born. In fact, this morning as we were mucking her pen, I was messaging her udder (I always do this when she gets her morning feeding to get her used to me touching her there for future milking...she does wonderful too!) and we noticed that she officially has colostrum coming out. The kids are counting down the days!
THUS, we needed to figure out what we were going to do for her milkings and where we were going to hold "baby calf" during the night time where he/she can still be right beside mama, but not nursing. We'll take the morning milk for ourselves and then leave one quarter for baby and baby will also stay with mom throughout the day. A once-a-day-milking schedule should be sufficient for our 7-member family. Should we need more (cause I have some recipes on my brain), we'll switch to a twice-a-day milking, 12 hours apart.

We decided to utilize the little barn we already have for her (in case of a rainy day). The bottom of the barn just needed to be restructured so that it was stronger. Plywood it is! Two sheets did the job.

We also wound up sliding some 2x4s under the main frame to give it extra support.

Then, we measured Molly's body to see if we did need to put in a little "wall", how long/wide it would need to be. She's quite calm for me so far when simply messaging her, but full milking takes time and she may want to move around.

Rob decided it would be best to just put a hole into the wall where she could stick her head through the head stanchion to hold her in securely until we're done milking her. 

She did great as we tested it out.
After the stanchion was built, Avy helped dig the hole so that we could run some boards and a gate across the front of the barn. This way, we can lock baby in at night (while still seeing mama) and then switching them out in the morning. I may save one of the first milkings to fill our calf bottle and allow one of the kids to feed baby while I milk mama. It will be hard for baby to wait for his/her breakfast, I'm sure and there won't be much left after we milk.

Norah is giving her "two cents" {smile}.

Just look at that belly! Her sweet baby is so precious to feel kick and turn inside her. Molly is due two days before Valentine's Day.


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