Auction: Seeking Jersey Cows {part 2}

{For part 1} When the kind man returned with the “catalog” it was nothing like I expected.

was surprised to hear there was such a thing as a catalog because I expected it to be a thick manual with glossy pictures and fully complicated details on every livestock and piece of equipment – like a catalog JC Penney would put together if they were in the business of selling cows and farm machinery. Instead we were handed a piece of blue paper with a grid on it providing information on each cow in the barn. One side listed animals numbered 126-157 and included the animal’s ear tag number, its name (they were named!), when it last freshened (calved), when it was bred (if applicable), and for a few the cows due date was listed. The other side we saw was labeled “HEIFERS” (cows are not called cows until they have calved for the first time, before this time they are called heifers). We quickly realized our focus was the cows numbered 126-157.

We started methodically checking each cow. We found that while they were listed in numerical order on the “catalog”, they were not organized this way in the barn. We pulled out a pen and crossed off every cow that was clearly part Holstein. We decided we wanted a cow that was expecting relatively soon, and one that was currently milking, hopefully already bred. We found more than one cow that we loved but both being due months from now – around the same time, we didn’t like the idea of being overwhelmed with two cows worth of milk at once.

Dash, Fay, Emma, Hope, Gabby and Rosy were all dry. I looked to see how low their bags (udders) were, how long their teats (the part you grab to actually milk) were, how straight their legs fell to the ground from their hips. I sent Josh between the cows to test their personalities. It was important to us that we have a friendly easy going cow. We found that Dash, Fay, Emma were all nervous seeming. We recognized that this was an incredibly stressful day for the cows. Cows like routine. If you change things up it makes them pretty nervous. We knew this. Gabby, Rosy, Emma and Hope were all relaxed, even with the increased activity in the barn as more bidders arrived. Emma and Rosy were both were expecting calves within days of the auction, according to our blue sheet. In fact, Josh thought Rosy may have already freshened (calved). Emma’s rib and hip bones were even more prominent that the other cows and with her expecting so soon we decided that was a responsibility we weren’t ready for yet. But if she was going for the right price at the auction, we’d consider her. Gabby seemed perfect, although I wasn’t too excited about her name. Hope seemed older, her bag was big and uneven, her feet splayed. She probably wouldn’t go for much but she was perfect for us.

Heidi and Baby had both freshened in December and were both open (not bred back). Heidi had a tumor which could be a concern but maybe it would make her go for less too. Baby was sway backed, maybe she would not be popular as a result. Both passed the “personality test”.

Maybe Sassy would be a good idea, she had been bred back in February giving us a big cushion until she calved and a cow that was currently being milked.

Little One was not so little, and we wanted a smaller cow.

Shadow had a ‘T’ on her hips, presumably meaning “treated” for mastitis – we didn’t want to bother with that.

Ashley had the perfect name, it being my sisters who was less than pleased with the idea of cows in the world, but she was way too jumpy.

Then we saw Daisey. A beautiful tan gentle soul with big brown eyes and her name was Daisey (okay, so it wasn’t Daisy, but it was close). I wanted her. She was the one. She had freshened in February meaning she only recently calved so was being milked and we could choose who to breed her with when we were ready. I loved her.

When we noticed Sweety we saw she had all the benefits that Daisey offered, except her name was Sweety, not Daisy (I was going to change the spelling of her name, of course).

Then we thought we should look over all of our options again and organize who was going to get preferential bidding action on our part.

Noticing a gentlemen who looked to be in his mid to late 40’s putting down hay, adjusting this or that, talking to the cows.
And then he started talking to us: “This isn’t the first herd I’ve had to see go,” he said sadly.

Oh, that’s too bad,” I said suppressing my excitement about our newest additions to the farm and remembering again how common this sad story was – a farmer losing his farm.

Yeah,” he continued, “I used to have a herd of my own, we had to sell it. Now these cows. I try to come and help down here whenever I can and these are great cows, they’re well loved.”

I noticed they were all named,” I said, encouraging him to tell more.
“Oh yeah. Roger and Kathleen love these cows and they named them all,” he said. “The cows know their names too. You call them by name, they’ll come.”
“We’re hoping to get a couple of family milk cows today,” Josh said by way of explanation and perhaps to reassure the man that the cows would be well loved with us too. “Do you think they’d be okay with hand milking? Are they gentle enough?”

Definitely,” the man replied with enthusiasm. “You wouldn’t go wrong with any one of these cows. All gentle and friendly.”

Who do you think we should bid on?

For {part 3}



Auction: Seeking Jersey Cows {part 2} — 2 Comments

    • I’m totally setting it up for a Daisey success …. you’ll see.
      I’m glad you like the detail – I feel like it’s a million part story and I should condense it!

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