December 6, 2010
Monday: It is a very cold day. I hate getting out of bed at 4:45 to go outside and work on these days. The warm bed with a quilt is much cozier. Anyway, I was up at 4:45 to walk my 4 pound Yorkie Poo dog, named Teddy. Then we started milking our 90 cows. I don’t think the cows care for this weather either. I have 7 calves outside in hutches. I keep them in the hutch for 6 weeks. When they were born, it was nice weather. These calves are about 4 weeks old. Now it is cold to feed them and the water is frozen. I have 6 calves in the barn now. It is a lot better to feed in the warmer barn than outside. We found the parts for our water heater and it will be installed tomorrow. I went to the grocery store this morning for my mother and myself. My mother is 82 years old and it is hard for her to get around so I do her shopping. Then I had a little time to clean a little more on my house. Bill came to work tonight so I could do other things. We ordered fruit from Talawanda FFA and it was delivered tonight. Edward was hurrying to get the work done so we could leave to go bowling tonight.
December 7, 2010
It was very cold today. We started milking at 5:40 this morning. I milk around 90 cows and it takes about 2 hours. Today I will explain our feeding system of our cows. We have a belt conveyor with 4 silos. We feed the cows four times a day. It is a TMR which is a total mixed ration. We include hay silage, which is a combination of alfalfa, timothy, clover and grass hay; corn silage, which is whole stalks of corn chopped up; and wet brewers grain which is the discards from the Trenton Miller Brewery. These loads are delivered approximately every 2 to 3 weeks; grain mix which is a mixture of high moisture shelled corn, protein, soybean meal and dry distiller grain; vitamins and minerals. I will go into detail about milking in a later blog. Today after my dentist appointment, we went to West Chester to drop off a injection pump from our Oliver tractor to be fixed. Hopefully it will be finished in a few days. At 4 p.m. I go out to feed my young calves their milk and I feed warm water and clean feed. Bill is not working tonight so I start milking at 4:30. We usually never have a breakdown but tonight was the night. The propeller fell off the milk pump so it wouldn’t pump milk. We milk 16 cows at once, then we will bring in the next 16 until we are finished. The milk goes in a receiver jar to be pumped into a 1,500 gallon tank in the milkhouse. The propeller on the receiver jar pumps the milk into the tank. It somehow fell off. I called the repairman, John from Surge. He came in approximately 45 minutes and fixed our propeller and I was back milking. Usually milkings take about 2 hours to do approximately 90 cows. I am usually finished around 7 p.m., but tonight it was 8:30, a very long and cold night. The cows were agitated that it took so long.
December 8, 2010
I was up as usual to start milking at 5:30. It was very cold out and the cows really didn’t like the cold. It will usually take me longer to milk when it is cold. I was done around 8:30. Then I had to feed my young calves, both inside the barn and outside in the hutches. Edward was doing the feeding. We also have several other farms we need to go to every day to feed and check on our livestock. He usually does that while I am milking and working with the calves. We come in around 9 a.m. to eat breakfast. Then the time between milkings, we will grind feed, or repair or place straw in pens, or whatever is needed. We start again at 4 p.m. to do the chores. Today everything is working in the milking parlor so that is a big help for me. Bill is here tonight. I am working on a Christmas present for my daughter. I am a quilter and making her a Christmas wallhanging, named Winter Roses. I am almost finished with it.
December 9, 2010
Very cold again; I feel like I am in Alaska like my son. Of course he says it isn’t cold here, it is cold in Alaska. Anyway, we started milking as usual. My doors had moisture on them and one didn’t want to open. We finally got it working. It is really hard to work outside in this cold weather and keep everything operable. Our water heater still wasn’t working, that we have been fixing for a week. Finally our plumber, Rick, decided fiberglass insulation was causing the thermostats not to work correctly. He took some of it away and now it works. We took off the outside door to the milking parlor and took it to our shop. We took it apart and fixed it, so now it is working really good. Thank goodness all the other equipment is working.
December 10, 2010
Today is a little warmer; it feels good to go outside. The cows were a lot happier this morning. Everything worked well in the milking parlor. It took me about 2 hours to milk. I then fed my young calves. We have a delivery coming today of a auger so we are waiting for that to come. This afternoon, Ed and I went to pick up the fuel injection pump for our tractor. Our employee has already installed it on the tractor. Bill was here to milk tonight. We had a cow give birth to a heifer calf. We placed her in our second group of cows and put the calf in a pen in the barn. After we milk her, we will give the colostrum milk to the calf. This milk contains antibodies that protect the newborn calf against disease. The job of antibodies is to identify specific pathogens. This will help the calf to fight disease later on. We have our cows arranged in two groups. I milk 48 cows in the first group, then we bring up the second group. This way we have enough barn space and feed bunk space for all the cows. My holding pen off the milking parlor only holds approximately 48 cows at a time. This holding pen holds the cows waiting to be milked. After milking, they are released into their cow lot. When this holding pen is empty we will bring up the second herd.
Edward has written up a schedule of his chores approximately: 4:30 a.m. Our milking system will be sanitized with chlorine so we can begin milking shortly. This system is controlled by a computer panel in the milk house. It also cleans the system with 3 different washes when we are finished milking. 5:30 AM Rosemary starts milking. Edward will pen the first group of cows in the holding pen. He then mixes silage and then feeds half of it. He will feed all the older calves on our fairy farm. By that time, it is time to bring up the second group of cows to be milked. He will check our dry cows and heifers for a cow that may have given birth. He mixes feed for our dry cows and heifers, then will feed these cows and heifers. We have calves at two other farms to feed and check. He will then go to help his parents feed the steers at their farm. He will then come home to feed the second feeding of silage to the dairy cows. 9 a.m. He rechecks the dry cows. He feeds hay to the dry cows and heifers in the breeding pen or at our other farms. He may put down straw if needed for bedding. He may feed the dry cows again if they are out of feed. 12 noon If dairy cows are out of feed, he will feed silage again. Between noon and 2 p.m. he will mix feed again for the 3rd feeding. 4:15 p.m. Start cleaning the dairy cow floors. He will pen up the first group of dairy cows to be milked. Either Rosemary or Bill will be milking the cows. Edward will use our skid loader and clean the cow floor. He will then feed the 4th feeding of silage to the cows. Around 5:20 to 5:30, it is time to pen up the second group of cows to be milked. He cleans their pen while they are out of it. He will check our dry cows and heifers again to see if any gave birth.
December 11, 2010 Saturday: we started the day as usual, milking. Bill is off all weekend so it is me doing the milking. We put down straw and fed hay to all the livestock. The weather is supposed to be bad tomorrow so we are trying to prepare for it. We have a cow due to have a calf so we put her in our barn closer to the milking parlor. We won’t have to bring her up through ice or rain tomorrow from the dry cow barn. Right now it is raining and cold.
December 12, 2010
Sunday: we had better weather this morning than we do tonight. We did the morning milking and other chores. We decided we had better clean the dry cow floor and the breeding pen floor before the snow comes. We also fed hay. We had another cow going to have a calf so we brought her up to the front barn. She still didn’t have the calf but at least she is in a closer place to the milking parlor. We went back out at 3:45 to feed calves and milk. We have snow on the ground and it is cold. We really don’t care for the snow as we have to haul it off so our cows can get around. We hauled 3 loads of snow off our dairy cows floors. I don’t think the cows are enjoying this weather either. I was not done working tonight until after 8 p.m.. I am ready to go to bed now after a very busy day outside.