It seems we have an escape artist in our midst, and that is NEVER good news on a farm. So, who is the culprit? A doe-eyed, very fuzzy, and adorable, little beastie with horns.
Yes, indeed. Our sweet little Charlie somehow managed to get out of his night stall into his Mama’s stall. So at 6 am the next morning, as we walked into the barn – milk pail in hand – ready to do our morning milking, what do we find? A calf next to his mama licking his milk-covered lips with a satisfied look on his face and a very full tummy. We put Charlotte into the stanchion, hoping maybe there was something left for us. Nope. He happily stole every last drop. So what did we do? We fed them and went back to bed. 🙂 Nothing we could do about it – so lets get some extra sleep!
We contemplated milking her later in the afternoon to be sure to keep her production up, but there didn’t seem to be any extra later. And it has decreased her overall production, which I was afraid would happen. So we are increasing her dairy ration and making sure to empty her fully each morning since then and hoping it will slowly come back up.
We don’t know how he got out. His stall was unlatched, so either he, or Charlotte, played with the latch enough that it came undone. OR they had help from their feline friends the barn cats.
Last fall we went into the barn and found Charlotte loose inside eating out of the feed storage bin. Luckily she didn’t get sick from this incident. Somehow she had gotten her stall unlatched, but we couldn’t figure out how. A few days later it was unlatched again – this time she hadn’t pushed the door open and was still in her stall, but it was unlatched. A few days later it happened yet again. Then, finally, my son saw what was causing the issue – the barn cats used the latch as a step when they were jumping down from the top of the stall wall. It would jiggle it just enough to unhook it.
So it might have been the cats, it might have been the cows. Either way it needs to not happen again because it really messed up our milk production. So we have made some adjustments in hopes that we will not have another escape incident.