This weekend we brought home our 3 month old heifer (girl) calf whom the girls promptly named Daisy. How perfect. Why the cow? So after milking a dairy goat for a season (goat intro to come) we decided that we have a house full of chevre lovers(and oh how we loved the pounds of fresh homemade cheese) but truth be told we all really prefer cow milk for drinking and whatnot. So, we endeavored to find a dairy cow that would fit our needs as well as our land. Enter the Irish Dexter. The Dexter is the triple threat of the cow world, good for dairy, meat and teamwork. It is a miniature breed so it naturally produces less milk (2 gallons per day versus 4-6 gallons like a Jersey cow) than a full sized dairy cow. Perfect--we are only a family of 4 and we have day jobs so can't be tied up in the kitchen processing milk for hours a day. It needs less pasture since it is smaller. Ding Ding again--since we only have about 2 acres of quality pasture to graze right now. And the real deal sealer for the minority leader of the house was that we can breed her with a beef style Dexter and have a beefy offspring for the freezer and still get quality butterfatty milk from mama moo. This is a rarity since most dairy cows aren't the best for beef and most beef cows don't make very decent milk.
daisy: adjusting to her new barn..and the camera flash
So...trick #1 will be to halter train her really well. Get her to walk with us, follow us around, and be OK with us scratching and snuggling and eventually, milking, her. We learned our lesson the hard way with our little goat kid who is now a major social misfit. We let her go the "natural" "attachment parenting" route. Just left her with mom. The "other way" of raising is to pull the kids away from mom after they are born and bottle feed them. Ack! I mean, what an injustice to pull a little goat kid away from her mama. And since I nursed my own human kids to 3 1/2, you can bet there was no way this lactivist was going to get between that kid and that udder (except to steal some milk every day for my precious cheese addiction) Well guess what--big surprise--the only thing she attached to was her mama goat. So now we have two lovely alpine dairy goats (whom we bought and bottle fed from 2 days old) and one unruly free range crazy alpine goat that we can hardly touch. This will not happen again! Daisy thankfully had 3 lovely months of mama's milk and now it's time for her to "attach" to us. Fingers crossed!
So here is Daisy. She's about to get a ton of lovin' and if all goes well she'll be making us milk (and yogurt and cheese) in just 2 short years!