Monday, May 21, 2007

Hmmm...Babies sure do get big in a HURRY!

We had an interesting morning. For the most part it was relatively routine. Get up, milk cows, feed calves and such. We were down to the last bit of milking, and Mom and I were sitting on the concrete bench like thing that runs along the one back wall, talking about making up some stalls for the babies in the main barn. This will require moving some older heifers out into pens, and then moving the little calves into their stalls.

The talk moved to which animals would be put in pens and where. One former 'Name the Calf' contest heifer, Takala, will just be run in with some other yearlings, as she is no where near ready to breed, along with Magma, our first and currently only red Holstein. Then there are two others, the Blitz and Medina, a big March yearling by Kenyon (who is also Takala's sire). We breed most of our replacement animals either Jersey or Shorthorn, based on calving ease as a result of the calves being so much smaller than the average full blooded Holstein.

But these are two of my best babies. Medina has a lot of potential, and I am really fond of her sire. The Blitz is just a wonderful animal. Big and sleek, she is really fairly correct and I am anticipating a decent show season with her if I can keep her growing the way she is. I really really want to breed them both to an old Holstein bull, Cal-Clark Board Chairman. Pretty much anyone familiar with the Holstein breed knows him. He was the sire of To-Mar Blackstar. Who was one of the most influential bulls the Holstein breed has ever seen. I've got one other Board Chairman daughter left. A coming five year old out of my old Straight Pine Elevation Pete daughter.

Mom told me I'd better weigh them both, as she was uncertain as to whether they would both be big enough to breed to a Holstein and be able to safely have the calf. Blitz we figured HAD to be big enough. She stands next to her mammoth dam, and looks good there. Medina we weren't to sure on. She looks big, but looks can be deceiving. We figured if she was over 675 or 700 lbs we could be pretty safe.

So after milking I dug out my weight tape so that I could get a relatively accurate assessment of their actual size. I figured first I better do Medina. She can be a bit screwy at times, though all in all she is nice to work with. I slid the tape around her barrel, made sure it was good and tight, and checked the reading...

And darn near fell on my head. She weighed in over 900 lbs, just barely, but over none the less. I thought maybe she would be over 800, maybe up to 850, but not THAT heavy. I told Mom who was coming to see what I had gotten for a weight, and she didn't believe me.

So I weighed the Blitz to see where she fit in. Because if Medina, who is the smaller of the two, weighed that much, Blitz was gonna be big. The Blitz's weight equaled 968 lbs, with me rounding down.

And then our next question became, if they are THAT heavy, what is Mandy, the tallest cow we have, weighing in at. Well we got our answer of 1468. She is a big girl. Alan wanted to weigh Bayberry, his show cow, who came in just a bit lighter than that, around 1430. We have some heavy cows. And yet they are still extremely dairy. My goal is to one day have a ton plus cow. It will be a long ways off, but I'd say we have made a good start.

And both my babies are DEFINITELY getting bred to Board Chairman. Now if they'll just settle and give me some heifers...

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