Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Elsie vs Tony, Round One

So much happened today that I wanted to share here, but the topics don't mix, so you'll have to come back to hear about the other things.  I've written numerous times about how cantankerous our cow is.  Read more here, here, here, here, well-you get the idea!  Most of the time she's at a pasture we used to own, but there's no grass growing anywhere and she'll be calving in April, so we brought her to the house again.  I was thinking I'd start working with her to give her a second chance at being a good milker.

Today was the first attempt at that, and as the title might suggest, it was a battle!  Given that the price of hay is close to $21/bale with tax, we're trying to find some less expensive alternatives and still give her and the 2 pregnant does good quality feed.  Alfalfa pellets are somewhat less expensive, so I bring the goats to their milk stands and give them some along with cheap produce.  Today I also soaked a batch for Elsie using apple cider vinegar.  A friend had read that it helps to calm cantankerous cows.  I found the wording ironic, as that's what I've been calling her for a long time.  Elsie the cow-not the friend.

While I worked with the goats, Tony took the container of ACV alfalfa pellets into the pen for Elsie.  She was loving them and ate almost the whole batch.  Toward the end she lost interest.  He offered it to the goat buck who is also usually on pasture instead of here with is.  I went in to check on dinner and upon my return I hear Tony yelling at one of the animals.  As I got closer I could see it was Elsie and that he was giving her "what for".  I asked what happened because he was also holding his head.  Apparently, she decided to jump on him while his back was turned, but he turned just as her front legs were coming down on his shoulders!  It knocked him to the ground and he thinks she stepped on him, but you know how those things can be-it happens so fast that it's hard to recall just what did happen!

He has a bump on his forehead and a few scrapes (likely obtained from giving her "what for") and is feeling better now.  We put ice on the bump and he took a hot bath with Epsom salts, eucalyptus essential oil and lavender essential oil.  I'll be keeping an eye on him thru the night though, just in case.  His pupils are normal and he seems fine, but we want to be sure.  Oh-his left thumb was hurting when it first happened-and an injury there would sure make it hard to play fiddle for a living!

Shortly after this happened I was back outside to take something to the pig and I noticed that Elsie had Boots (the buck) cornered.  That was odd because he rules the pen-even to the point of keeping her from getting the food she needs.  By the time I walked back up the hill to the top of the pen, she had him by her horns, pushing into his side.  We think the ACV might have made her "drunk" because she looked wild!  So much so that I wasn't going to risk the lives of the does by putting them back into the pen.  Tony tied Elsie to a post and reconnected the fence that divides the pen so that we could put the does in the lower portion.  Elsie was then untied.  However, I don't think I'll be trying to tame her and turn her into a good milker!