I separated Big Mama from her calf yesterday afternoon. She is NOT happy with me. The calf didn’t seem to care yesterday but by this morning was downright annoyed with the whole situation. They are separated by galvanized panels and nonclimb horse wire on all sides. They can see each other which is alternately comforting and frustrating, but nursing through the fence is not possible.
The constant bellowing has the neighbors’ livestock talking too. Bellows of concern and sympathy from Miguel’s cows and brays of annoyance from Tomas’ donkey. Things should quiet down in a few days. Lucky for me, most of the racket is during the daylight hours and I am away from home for work most of those hours on weekdays.
Big Mama has access to the big pasture now which is positively overgrown with winter grasses and the spring coastal. I will be feeding her half rations of the pelleted feed for the next two or three weeks to help her dry up. Less feed should give her even more incentive to wander down to the big pasture and the distance will help her wean emotionally from her calf. She is bred back and should calve again next fall. This will give her six months or so to rebuild physically. As aggravated as she is with me right now, this is for her own good. Even the pacing up and down between the pasture and the barn is good for her.
I had concerns about turning Big Mama out with the horses because of her horns and her cranky attitude but I found out this morning, those worries were unfounded. Big Mama was the first to show up for breakfast this morning but when the horses came up behind her, they made one half-hearted charge in her direction and Big Mama ducked for the safety of her feed stall. She might have ruled the front paddock these past several months but she definitely doesn’t rule the pasture!
I ordered two of these from Jeffers online this morning.
Not the goat, just the halter. Dexters are small cattle, regular calf halters fit most full grown cows. But medium sized goat halters like these supposedly work great for the calves. They should arrive by the end of the week and then it will be a rodeo to wrestle them onto the calves. Big Mama’s milk supply should dry up in a month or so, but I will be keeping them separated until her calf and Lulubelle are gentle enough to halter and lead. That’s what I’ll tell them when I’m wrestling the halters on them too …be good and learn your lessons, then you can graduate to the big pasture!