Dearly Beloveds, I have gathered to you here today…(pause)… to brag about my cow. Sweet Caroline is living up to her name. I have been working with her, getting her really used to the halter and lead rope. It’s been two weeks, roughly, and this morning was the first test. Yesterday I turned her out with the herd. I always hate the first week or so when adding a new cow to the bunch. They reestablish a pecking order and they are so mean about it! They butt heads, prod with horns if they have them and I just don’t like it. So far, Caroline hasn’t gotten it too bad. She took to G.W. (the bull) within minutes of being out there. That was nice.
Anyways, the test. I always did my training in the morning and was planning to do the same today. I just wasn’t quite sure how I was going to get the halter on her and make our way quietly to the barn or get the others out of the barn and keep her in. At this point carrying a bucket of grain will get everyone’s attention and would not be of any help. Instead I just went with some healthy alfalfa hay for breakfast. No one was in too big of a hurry to exit the barn as I tossed the bales into the corral. They made their way single file to the pile. Lucy, Wheezy, G.W. Gus, Humphrey. Caroline was already out in the dark. I’m sure they ran her out of the barn between last night and this morning.
I went back to the barn and grabbed a handful of grain and the halter and headed back out in the dark. It has been raining all season and the barnyard is pretty soggy in places, most notably the duck pen and the run between the barn and corral. I was able to get Caroline separated from the rest without any running around or kicking. She got a few licks of grain and a bite of hay. She was just standing calmly beside me in the dark. I slipped the halter over her nose then behind her ears. She threw her head just enough to tighten the slack a little crookedly. I tried to adjust it a little but she wasn’t interested. I pulled the rope and we made our way through the slop to the barn.
It was a little stop-and-go for the first bit, but I didn’t fall in the muck and she was preforming better that I would have expected after only two weeks. I closed the door behind us as I didn’t want any uninvited critters in the way. We made a couple short laps around the pen, walking up to the milk parlor door and around again. I tied her loosely to the fence while she ate another handful of grain and I cleaned the pen. Then we removed the halter and she was sent outside to finish her breakfast.
Disclaimer: The milk parlor door doesn’t lead to a real milk parlor. It leads to the where the milking stanchions used to be and where my homemade stanchion sits until we get the old ones rebuilt.
Update since I started this post: She’s still doing great!