This morning I (Brittany) did the majority of the cowside chores so Sam could make it to his morning Zoom meeting at 9:00 sharp. Here's what a winter morning looks like for us here on the farm.
5:00-5:30: roll out of bed, make a pot of coffee, and eat some breakfast. The older we get, the less we like to go out on an empty stomach. We've gone soft. We also throw our barn clothes on the space heater in the kitchen so they're nice and toasty as we change out of our sweats and get ready to face the cold.
6:00-6:30: I usually head out right away and feed calves before milking. I've got 10 of them on milk right now so calf chores take a little longer than normal. However, this morning it was so cold that I headed straight outside to start putting milkers on around 6:30. This morning, the milk hauler came to pick up our milk and he's usually here around 8:15, so I ran the plate cooler to cool the milk even more quickly so it would be a nice and chilly 40 degrees when it went on the truck.
7:30: Finished milking. It takes me about an hour to milk 35 cows by myself. Sam filled feed carts with silage while I milked, so he wasn't completely out of the picture. Feeding cows is equally as important as milking them!
7:40-45: I got the milkhouse set up to wash the milkers with our automatic pipeline washer and changed the filter sock. The pipeline washer has a jar each for detergent and acid to clean out the milking machines and pipeline. We'll run a cycle with sanitizer in the afternoon before evening chores, and I'll use the sanitizer rinse water to clean out calf buckets, nipples, and bottles after the wee ones are fed.
8:00: calf chores! This is usually my favorite chore of the day. As much as I love their mothers and big sisters, the calves are my wheelhouse on the farm. I feed them milk replacer, and they grow astoundingly well on it. I was a dummy, though, and used water that was way too hot to mix the milk replacer up (which meant standing around for much too long waiting for it to cool down). If milk is too hot or too cold, the calves won't drink it. For reference, ideal feeding temperature is anywhere from 100 to 110 degrees and when it was all mixed and ready to feed, it was at 130 degrees. Not good.
8:30: done feeding baby calves; off to feed and water weaned calves and younger heifers. This is a much faster job that maybe takes 10 minutes.
8:40: all done for the morning. There's a hot cup of coffee and bacon awaiting me in the house. Then, in about 8 hours, it'll start all over again! It should be a little warmer this afternoon, though.
Thanks for reading along! You'll get to meet all the cows in upcoming blog posts, too. Take care and stay warm, friends.