ornery milk cow

primrose

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ive had this girl since a heifer. she was always very sweet and loved her scratches. this winter before she calved i halter broke her, taught her to stand tied, and trained her to walk into the stanchion while i secured her head and brushed her, and sat beside her messing with her udder/belly/legs. she calved and it all went lovely. this is her first lactation and ive been milking for almost two months. she had been very gentle, no kicking or anything so we started calf sharing. she gets the calf for the day after milking and then i pull it off for night. she is suddenly turning really ornery. i keep a halter on her, but i still CANT catch her without roping her. if i dont rope her she keeps her face in the corner with her butt to me. and she will wait for me to come close so she can get a kick in if i try to come up and grab her halter. she still comes to her name when i call. but no scratches aloud, shows no friendliness what so ever. not sure that im doing anything different, other than that she would like her calf ALL the time and me never preferably😂 she still milks lovely once i actually get her into the stanchion, but im tired of the fight lol. ive never let her get away with anything... but any tips? do cows just tend to get ornery as they age? or is it the calf? shes jersey x fleckvieh cross
 

farmerjan

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No they don't just get ornery as they get older. She has just decided that she wants her calf and not you and that is that.
What did you do before you started calf sharing? You said you milked her for about 2 months... were you bottle feeding the calf for that time and then decided to let her have the calf some of the time? That is probably part of the problem. You needed to start the calf sharing from the start... and the calf cannot go out with her in a larger field... she has to come in to the calf... and stay in a smaller lot or pen with the calf most of the time she is "sharing with her...????
Some cows are great about it. Some are not. I have one that comes in twice a day and eats grain and has 3 calves on her. Last year she took anything I gave her. BUT, I started from the day she calved... put her calf in the pen, added the 2 calves I wanted her to "adopt" and within 2 weeks they were hers. When those calves got weaned we had a heifer that prolapsed when she calved and died that night after the vet put it back..the other 3 were off the cow for 2 days already.....but when we brought the calf to the barn, she started talking to it, DS asked if she would feed it, I said we could try, and after 2 days it was her calf... Weaned it off when the vet said she was about 5+ months bred; she didn't rebreed this time like before so it worked out real well....
This year I did not see she had calved already; vet had checked her and said she was 5+ month, s and I was not expecting her to freshen until early JUNE, not mid May... so she was about a month further than he thought. The thing is, once they hit 5 + months, it is hard to get an exact due date because of the fetus being down over the pelvic bones, and it is not as accurate when they do the ultrasound. So anyway, she had her own calf to herself for at least 36 hours... and so she is not wanting to "bond" with the new calves she is feeding. I may never be able to turn her out with them but I am hoping that in about a month they will be older and more aggressive and she will allow them to feed out in the pasture.

I would either let her keep the calf and not separate her... but to offer her grain in the stanchion and hope she will allow you to milk once a day regardless of what the calf has had to drink... or take the calf completely away and go back to the old routine of just milking her.... and hope she goes back to her old nicer self.

One other thing, most "pets" are the most miserable of cows to milk. They are fine until things don't go their way.... I see it all the time on the dairies that I milk test for...for cows that were show cows and such and handled all the time.... and I have seen it with many of my own animals. It is one thing to have them be friendly and agreeable, and another thing for them to be "pets" that want to be affectionate.... until they don't want to be affectionate. Most that are calm and okay to work around, will get to be more friendly after they have been milked for awhile and then like to be handled more.
 

primrose

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No they don't just get ornery as they get older. She has just decided that she wants her calf and not you and that is that.
What did you do before you started calf sharing? You said you milked her for about 2 months... were you bottle feeding the calf for that time and then decided to let her have the calf some of the time? That is probably part of the problem. You needed to start the calf sharing from the start... and the calf cannot go out with her in a larger field... she has to come in to the calf... and stay in a smaller lot or pen with the calf most of the time she is "sharing with her...????
Some cows are great about it. Some are not. I have one that comes in twice a day and eats grain and has 3 calves on her. Last year she took anything I gave her. BUT, I started from the day she calved... put her calf in the pen, added the 2 calves I wanted her to "adopt" and within 2 weeks they were hers. When those calves got weaned we had a heifer that prolapsed when she calved and died that night after the vet put it back..the other 3 were off the cow for 2 days already.....but when we brought the calf to the barn, she started talking to it, DS asked if she would feed it, I said we could try, and after 2 days it was her calf... Weaned it off when the vet said she was about 5+ months bred; she didn't rebreed this time like before so it worked out real well....
This year I did not see she had calved already; vet had checked her and said she was 5+ month, s and I was not expecting her to freshen until early JUNE, not mid May... so she was about a month further than he thought. The thing is, once they hit 5 + months, it is hard to get an exact due date because of the fetus being down over the pelvic bones, and it is not as accurate when they do the ultrasound. So anyway, she had her own calf to herself for at least 36 hours... and so she is not wanting to "bond" with the new calves she is feeding. I may never be able to turn her out with them but I am hoping that in about a month they will be older and more aggressive and she will allow them to feed out in the pasture.

I would either let her keep the calf and not separate her... but to offer her grain in the stanchion and hope she will allow you to milk once a day regardless of what the calf has had to drink... or take the calf completely away and go back to the old routine of just milking her.... and hope she goes back to her old nicer self.

One other thing, most "pets" are the most miserable of cows to milk. They are fine until things don't go their way.... I see it all the time on the dairies that I milk test for...for cows that were show cows and such and handled all the time.... and I have seen it with many of my own animals. It is one thing to have them be friendly and agreeable, and another thing for them to be "pets" that want to be affectionate.... until they don't want to be affectionate. Most that are calm and okay to work around, will get to be more friendly after they have been milked for awhile and then like to be handled more.
thanks for the advice! i took her calf away and she has been back to her sweet old self! it never worked to leave the calf on full time, she would refuse to let her milk down for me. so its either part time calf sharing or none at all for her! and none at all seems to be the best! if i do calf share again i will definately try your idea of her only comming into a pen with the calf, and not let it out with her! so every lactation is a new chance to start fresh with 'training' them to calf share etc. is what your saying?
 

farmerjan

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No, not normally do they change attitude with the calf sharing so much as the fact that I didn't catch that mine had calved for at least 24-36 hours and so she bonded with only her calf... If I had found her with her calf in the first 12 hours or so, gotten her in and found 2 more to put on her by the next milking, she probably would have been fine... she has done this twice before and done a bang up job of raising them... but I have gotten her and her calf into the pen within 12 hours or less... actually within about 3-6 hours..... so when she came back in for the next milking, there were 3 calves that "were hers" and she would look at me with this" are you sure they are all mine???" and was much more agreeable to letting the others on and accepting of them. This time she had a chance to process that she really only had one.... and although the other 2 really do help with the relief of the pressure... she is just being stubborn.
Luckily she LOVES her grain.... she is waiting right near the barn every time I have gone to put her in so it's not like I have to go find her or anything.
I had one that I used to raise 6-8 calves a lactation .... put on 3 or 4, keep them for 12-14 weeks, weaning them off as I was starting 3 more on her...then as they got to 12+ weeks, would put one or 2 more on her and let her take them to dry off time... SHE WAS A PURE SWEETHEART.... but with the cost of grain, when you wean them off at 12 weeks, they need more feed to get enough protein and all to grow... and at the time I was also younger and had more time to work around her... and more energy....and now I have found if a cow can raise at least 3 to weaning at 6-9 months... I can still make some money at it. BUT, it does take a cow that likes calves. It has been so bred out of so many that some just don't get it, or don't want to be bothered by a calf.... takes all kinds of dispositions....
 

farmerjan

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But, yes, her next lactation she might do just fine if you let the calf with her in a pen, or a small lot, then take it away and milk her out the next milking and then let the calf stay with her for a few hours at a time... or just bring her in to the calf.... she might have a different disposition about it the next time...
First calf heifers can be tricky some times too... you never know exactly what they are like after the total change of hormones...
 
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