Queen of Garrendenny Herd Has A Princess

Do you remember this post about Queenie? Queenie is the oldest cow in our herd at 14 years of age. ?It’s not overly old, some cows do live to 17 or 18 but she’s had 12 calvings which includes 3 sets of twins so her old body is getting a bit tired. Brian was thinking of culling her last year as she has a high cell count now, her udder nearly stretches to the ground and she is slow to walk. ?However, somehow, a gate was left open ‘accidentally on purpose’ and the bull that was being used to ‘clean up’ got to her when she was on heat. She scanned to be in calf so she got a reprieve. She was dried off early because of her high cell count and got a nice retirement in a grassy field and then in a comfortable straw bedded shed.

Irish  Dairy Cows

She averaged 1670 gallons per year which is pretty good for a British Friesian. The British Friesians don’t give as much milk as Holsteins. My dad never liked tall cows and neither does Brian as it happens. Holsteins give more milk but tend to need more feed and their fertility doesn’t tend to be as good. ?Her protein average is 3.4% and her butterfat is 3.5% which isn’t amazing when one compares her to heifers coming into the herd now but was good for a heifer here back in 2003.

Queenie with her princess

She had a heifer calf today – lovely to have got a female from her for her last calving. ?She has had 15 calves which included three sets of twins. She had 8 daughters most of which are still in the herd. Queenie has 9 grand daughters and 9 great granddaughters currently in the herd. The cow beside her in the photo above is 1691, one of her granddaughters.

There’s a couple of good ‘cow lines’ in the herd now. Another is Guinevere’s mum who is the best cow in the herd – we really should give her a name as she’s pretty high in the ratings. ?Queenie has been the matriarch now for many years. It will be a sad day when she leaves the farm. Part of me really wants to be able to have a nice retirement field for her. Some cows are just special.

5 thoughts on “Queen of Garrendenny Herd Has A Princess

  • Donna OShaughnessy

    Also meant to say, if she had not gone down and been off her feet a couple days, we would’ve culled her because as you say we would’ve gotten about $ 2000 back in burger sales on her and yes we had to pay the dead animal truck $150 to remove her. So our loss ( for not culling her before she got too sick) came in at $2150. Fortunately we made some other BETTER financial decisions that year to offset that loss. Hate that finances must always be considered in tough farm decisions but if they weren’t we would never be able to afford to continue.

    • Lorna

      Exactly Donna, when I was 9 my favourite cow went down with milk fever and didn’t get better. She was unlikely to recover and my dad tried everything until she died one day. I remember his eyes watering as he told me the news that she had died. The thing is they are unlikely to live much past 14, not after having a calf a year etc.
      We did leave Queenie with her calf for 3 days. Brian even tried to take felfies with her – I’ll get him using social media yet.
      There’s some tough decisions in farming but I think it makes us all the more practical. I have to admit I’d prefer for someone to finish me off rather than spend 10 years not knowing what is going on and in a nursing home. But that’s another conversation 😉

  • Donna OShaughnessy

    Our oldest gal was 14 as well. Kiki was our first milk cow who also gave good milk, good calves and was a joy to milk. 5 years ago she went down very quickly which I guess was good as we did not really want to cull her for meat, she was part of our farm family. Our son, 27, at the time shot her and there were tears all around, but her death was quick and merciful. All hail to those elder cows and the gifts they leave on our farms!

  • M T McGuire

    Aw… how could we forget we were all fist bumping the air when we discovered she got a reprieve. Is there a nice field you could retire her to? Go on, go on, go on, go on as Mrs Doyle would say.



    • Lorna

      I know! She has been left with her calf since it was born, normally they are taken away after a few hours. Brian has taken lots of photos of them and has one as the screensaver on this phone – replacing the children! She is worn out though, her feet are bad and the cell count is too high for her milk to go into the tank now. Sometimes it is tough being a commercial farmer – logic tells us we should get about ?900 for her in the factory whereas if we let her die naturally, it would cost us over ?200 to get her taken away!



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