Wednesday, July 18, 2012
kickers for a high step
This is Gertie. I milked her this morning, and yesterday. we don't milk the same cows every morning.
It just depends on who comes in to the milk house next.
She 'high steps' a lot during milking. Stepping around is annoying, but not a huge problem. High stepping, not so good. When I'm sitting there with a pail of warm, delicious milk squeezed between my knees and I see that hoof come over the lip of the pail, its all I can do to get it out of the way. No reason to cry over spilled milk is true, it happens all the time. At the same time, it is a lot of work to squeeze those teets and collect the milk. So I'm trying my hardest not to let her spill the pail containing all my (and her) efforts. I put the 'kickers' on her again this morning. There is not a good way to describe this. I have resisted using them on the cows, with general success. I tolerate way more stepping and moving around than Miguel does. With not any more spilled milk I might add...
So its this very unique relationship between the human and the cow. We ask her to come out of the pasture and into the milk house every morning. OK, Gertie does that. Then we ask her to stand still while we squeeze her teets and take all the milk she made in the last 24 hours. Milk that is meant to go to her calf. Oh, but we took her calf when it was 3 weeks old. Why? So we can have her milk. When Gertie doesn't stand still, but does the dreaded high step, I could interpret that as resistance. She doesn't want me to have her milk. Or maybe its that her udder is very tight & full and it causes discomfort when her teets are squeezed. (my nails are nice and short, I take care of the ladies that way.)
So then the kickers come out. That's the human part of the relationship where I'm saying to the cow, "this is what's up. I'd like you to hold still, but I need you to keep your feet down." It's a unique relationship. I'm still working it out in my mind and my heart...
The kickers are two wide, iron 'bracelets' we'll say, connected by a chain. Slip one bracelet onto her leg, just above the knee. Then pull tight and slip the other bracelet over her other leg. She can still lift her legs, but there is no more high stepping. For Gertie anyway. She responds well too it. Each day is a new day. She gets a fresh go every morning. Hopefully tomorrow she won't wear the kickers.