Meet the Cows, Pt. 1: The Holsteins

Good morning, friends!

I promised that I'd introduce you to all the cows, and we're going to start with our Holsteins. Holsteins are the #1 breed of dairy cow in the United States and across the world, and probably the breed that most nonfarmers are familiar with. These black-and-white or red-and-white beauts produce the most milk by volume of any dairy breed and are also the largest at an average weight of 1,500 lbs. We breed our cows to be a little on the larger side, so most of our older milking cows are probably closer to 1,700-1,800 lbs.

Sam's grandpa, Harry Berg, bought his first group of registered Holsteins in the 1960s after milking grade Guernseys for the first two decades of his farming career. Until 2014, our herd was a closed herd (meaning that Sam's folks didn't buy any other cattle) so most of our homebred gals can be traced to those first six cows that Harry bought.

I'm going to go in the order of the cows' stalls (and the order in which they are milked) because that's the order we know them best in.

Dime: mostly white with black speckles. Very easygoing but also very naughty. Mother of Daffodil.

Flash: BIG. Classic Holstein markings. Does no harm, but takes no shit. Sam bought her at the Honeycrest dispersal in 2015, and we flushed her once for embryos. The last one was implanted last year, and we should be meeting him/her in a few months. Mother of a couple of herd bulls that we've run with our heifers.

B-52: 12/10 good girl. Mostly white with black speckles and a large black spot on half of her face. Graced the cover of the Wisconsin Holstein News last year. Mother of Blessing and Brin.

Finesse: Fancy black cow. Friendly but a pain in the ass to milk. Has zero tolerance for cats. Mother of Friesia.

Honey: As sweet as her name implies. Classic markings.

Benny: Another fancy black cow. Has to lick you before you can prep her for milking. Mother of Christmas Cheer.

Candy: Another sweetheart. Classic markings.

Funsize: Classic markings. Was born prematurely and needed an F name, so Funsize fit the bill. 4 years later, she's doing fine and getting ready to have her second calf in a few months.

Eva: Classic markings. Older cow. Milks like crazy. Also kind of bitchy. Mother of Evelyn and Edith.

Joanne: Awesome cow with classic markings. Very sweet and mellow. 

Julene: Black cow, kind of crabby. Likes to kick. Mother of Josefine.

Harper: Classic markings but mostly white. Wants to go dry but isn't supposed to until April, so she's also kind of crabby.

Sonja: Mostly black with a white star on her forehead. Easygoing and minds her own business. Mother of Sonji.

Sonji: Looks like her mother, but unfortunately didn't inherit her demeanor. Mother of Sheridan.

Anna: Not the prettiest cow. Mostly white with black speckles. Would make a great family cow with her long and conical teats. 

Marla: Mostly black and also not the prettiest cow. Can be crabby.

Bluebell: White cow with a smoking udder. Mother of Bluebird.

Denada: Almost completely black. Aunt to Finesse and sister to Mercy, who is further down the list. Trouble-free and milks well.

Mandy: Sister to Candy, but nearly completely white. Mother of Tandy.

Snow: Mostly white but has black markings on her face. Very sweet and surprisingly photogenic.

Elisia: Similar markings to Snow. Runs everywhere she goes.

Beatrice: Mostly black. Born the same day as Mandy. They're adults now but still hang out together when the cows are on pasture. 

Felicity: Equal parts black and white with a large black spot in the middle of her forehead. Attitude yet to be determined because she just had her first calf a few weeks ago. Mother of Nellie, sister to Funsize.

Chevelle: Older white cow. Leaks milk frequently. Can be cranky. Sister to Chanel and Charlotte, and mother of Chloe.

Mercy: Queen bee of the herd. Getting ready to have calf #9 at the end of February. She's equal parts sweet, beautiful, and hardworking. Mother of Finesse and Grace, older sister to Denada. She's the cow in the picture.

Mable: Large black cow. Does her own thing.

Chanel: Awesome black-and-white cow. Can walk backwards. Mother of Chiffon and Charmaine, sister to Chevelle and Charlotte.

Sali: Mostly black. Prone to mastitis, but generally milks well.

Charlotte: Mostly black. Somewhat skittish but has calmed down considerably since calving just before Christmas. Mother to Clara, sister to Chevelle and Chanel.

Firecracker: had Funsize early and calved in a few months too young. Has become our #1 cow production-wise since then. Mother to Funsize and Felicity.

Pearl: Another first-calf heifer. She likes to kick the milker off. Mother of Paula.

Dandy: Mercy's counterpart as co-queen bee. Just confirmed pregnant with her 7th calf. Super smart; usually the first to find a hole in the fence. Mother of Candy, Mandy, Gandy Dancer, Columbia, and Brandy.

Trinity: Another first-calf heifer. Very vocal but generally friendly.

Evelyn: A crabass just like her mother, Eva.

Sophie: The Karen of the herd. Entitled and old. Doesn't like Sam.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know our girls a little bit. I'll introduce you guys to the Jerseys next week, and that will be a much shorter post. 

Until next time,



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