In our area of the mountains there aren’t really any farms or ranches. I’m pretty sure we own one of the only dairy cows for at least 30 miles. So when I say “we are drying-off the cow this week” to people they look at me funny and ask whether we are using a towel or a hair dryer. Lol. 🙂
I explain that drying-off the cow means that we are going to stop milking her, causing her body to stop producing milk, thus leaving her “dry.”
She is due to have her calf in 8 weeks (well actually we have two possible due dates, she is currently 8 weeks from the first possible date). So we will leave her dry for the last 8 weeks of gestation so her body can focus all it’s energy on growing the calf. We will begin milking her again once the calf arrives.
As I researched this whole “drying-off” business I found that, like everything else having to do with the cow, there are many different opinions on the proper way to go about doing this. And it can be tricky because you don’t want the cow to get mastitis and drying-off is a time with a high chance of that. Being that this is our first time, we picked from all the possible choices and we will see how it goes.
So this morning was our last milking :-(. We have been decreasing her grain slowly over the last 6 days, which has brought her milk production down to about 3/4 gal per day. Now we are going to not milk her for about 3 days, then milk her out completely (this milk will be thrown away because I’ve been told that it isn’t good), then squirt some drying-off teat medication up in the teats (eeek! this part makes me squirm) to help prevent infection, and then we will be done.
I’ll let you know how it all goes.