Barn loft view of calf nursing

Nine years ago this week, I brought my first Jersey cow home to the farm. Not long after, she gave birth to a beautiful, mischievous heifer calf we named Rosalie. Our Rosie grew up and eventually replaced her mama as our family milker. She’s since gifted us with nine calves (including twins) and a whole lot of milk. #9 made her appearance in the cold, dark hours before dawn Saturday morning. I found her resting in a low spot near the far corner of the barnyard, out of the wind and already dry, with Mama Rosie standing watch close by. The farmcollies had already announced #9’s arrival and were pacing the fenceline, hoping for a chance to lick the new baby. (They were out of luck.)


Jersey cross calf nursing

Rosie’s a gentle cow, handled since the day she was born and quite comfortable with our family. She’s properly protective of her calves when she perceives a threat, but easy for me to manage in the milkstand and generally trusting. She’s always let me do whatever I wanted with her calves, so health checks and immunizations haven’t been difficult.

#9 is thriving and has already learned to grab a quick meal whenever I appear . . . just in case.  I do check Rosie’s udder frequently, but thus far I haven’t had to milk off the excess to keep her from becoming uncomfortably engorged. That’ll change in a day or two as Rosie’s production ramps up. And then the milking games shall begin.