On behalf of the milkers, I'd like to introduce to you all our cows:
Buttercup is our oldest cow. She came on to our farm straight off the dairy and as wild as a bull. I will never forget when the trailer pulled up with her on it, and there were these wild sounds coming from inside, as well as her kicking the insides of the trailer. She has done her share of dragging Andrew through the mud, chasing kids through the pasture, kicking the milk bucket and all kinds of other naughty things that a good cow should not do. It was because of her that Dad designed and built our first milking stanchion for Andrew (although it sill took 2 or 3 ropes to completely confine her).
Thankfully, she has completely come around, giving up her old ways, and is now the 'good one' out there. She has been hand milked and pet enough to know that it is not our intention to harm her. The smallest kids have even ridden her! Buttercup is definitely the 'thinker'. You can just tell when you walk by and she gives you that glazed over stare—like she's thinking up their next escape plan.
Susan (Black-eyed Susan) also came straight from the dairy and had this wicked problem of fainting on her milker when she was getting used to being hand milked. She would pant and sweat as she was tied and, eventually, could faint dead weight. Andrew got good at getting out of the way quickly, and saving the milk, but it sure was a pain. Sometimes she would lay there for minutes before realizing that she was OK and getting back up. She has come a long way, and the kids have been telling me recently that 'her eyes no longer stick out' (hence her name). She can be pet now, too, whereas she was untouchable when she first arrived here. These are old cows.. they just haven't been handled all their life, so it was scary. They're used to it now, though, and Susan adores the younger kids around milking time. Theresa is her milker and the younger kids take turns brushing the flies off to keep her still. She loves the attention, but she's partial to Michael.
Lily was born on our farm (her mother came with Buttercup, but has since passed away). Even though she was born on our farm and experienced a lot of handling as a calf, she was one of our most skiddish cows, due to the fact that we left her on her mom. We had a heck of a time weaning her; she simply did not want to give it up and would do anything for a drink of her Mom's good milk. We tried putting a nose ring on her with spikes on the end, so that nursing would bother her mom and cause her to kick. Unfortunately, she had a very patient mother who spoiled her to death and let her nurse even though it hurt. She came into milk for the first time this spring with the arrival of her first baby, Buddy. She was rather wild with her first milkings and shared Susan's fainting problem for awhile. We chose to bucket-raise Buddy since Lily seemed like a very confused first-time mother. She's pet-able now too, but is very partial to Andrew as a milker.
Paddy is our friendliest cow. We got her as a baby when we got Susan and she was also bucket raised by peoples' hands, so that seemed to make her so friendly. This poor confused cow spent the first several months of her life in a pen with sheep and male goats. Needless to say, she developed a taste for lanolin and licked our poor sheep bald. She was bullied by the horned goats at first, as she was very little and her horns hadn't come in yet. When the horn buds arrived, along with a growth spurt, the goats no longer challenged her and she got a cockiness about her... A neighbor commented that she was going to be one confused cow by her upbringing, but she seems fine. She's the first cow that we left horns on and we are hoping we don't regret that decision. When we finally admitted her to the herd of cows, Lily became terribly selfish of the attention that the older cows showed her, and has never been fond of poor Paddy since. Thankfully, Buttercup looks out for her like a good 'Auntie'.
We have a young bull coming this week to 'do his job' with the girls. We just found out that he got missed in the dehorning and still has his horns too. Ugh. That's not really what we wanted. He is going into the freezer as soon as he does his work, and hopefully not before...