Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Finally!

Last night was Jasper's first night in the pen and we had been warned that mama and baby might bellow all night long until they get used to the separation.  I heard mama a few times, but not all night long.  I did hear her at 630 when Tony got up though, so I got up too.  We went out to see how this new plan was going to work and though there are a few bugs to work out still, it was an amazing difference!  We moved Jasper to his side of the milk stand and tied Elsie up insde.  I got ready to start and Tony lifted the panel keeping Jasper out.  We assumed being on the left side that he'd nurse the left teats, but he wanted the right ones.  Tony had to hold him back while I milked the right side, and he kept trying to take over, but I got half a gallon of milk in what seemed a very short time!  I was able to put the bucket on the ground and use two hands and she never kicked my side.  She did swat at him a couple of times, the first time depositing unsanitary grass into the bucket, so the chickens are happy today too.  However, she never kicked at me or on my side.  I stopped at half a gallon, am sure I could have gotten another quart or more.  I think I felt her let down her hind milk, but not sure what that feels like.  We also learned that what we thought was a sufficient "butting" of the udder to encourage more milk flow was woefully inadequate!  When Jasper does it, Elsie's whole middle jumps-no wonder they say that a calf can damage the teats at 3 months of age.  He startled me every time he did it.

I'll still need Tony's help tomorrow, and if Jasper won't settle for the left side, I'm wondering if we should let him have the right and I'll milk the left?  I know it needs to be consistent, just not sure if we can go ahead and switch sides since it's early in her milking career.