Dara's Baby is finally here!!
Dara had her baby at 4:00am yesterday and he is very healthy and very large. Thankfully, she had no trouble giving birth and by the time I pulled on my boots (yes I ran out in my pj's, robe and tall green Hunter Wellies) she was cleaning him off and urging him to get up and get going. This is one of the many times we are so thankful for 100% grass feeding. We haven't had to assist a birth in years. Grain feeding causes the moms to gain fat in the birth canal and babies can get stuck and must be assisted by pulling - no fun for anyone. So, even though our calves might be hefty, like this big boy, the birthing usually goes smoothly.
Dara was born in 2004 and had her first calf at two and a half. This is her fifth baby which is amazing when you understand that the average dairy cow only gives birth to two calves and rarely lives through the second lactation. Hormones, grain feeding and milking up to five times a day makes it possible for cows to produce a lifetime of milk in one and a half lactations. Our oldest cow still being milked on our farm was 18years old. She gave us twins when she was 16.
Since we only milk once a day, allow calves to nurse naturally on their mothers as long as possible, feed only grass without any grain supplementation, and don't use any hormones, we are expecting Dara to live a very long life on River Cottage Farm. Our goal is the healthiest, best tasting milk. Everything we do on at River Cottage Farm focuses on quality over quantity.
Dara is a good producer and we should be getting three gallons a day from her. If you are on our waiting list for a cowshare, give us a call and we can get you started with your milk right away.