Queen of the Herd

Queenie of Garrendenny HerdThis is our Queen of the Herd – number 476. She was born in 2000 and had her first calf in 2002, our first calving season here in Garrendenny. She’s getting pretty old and to be honest, most cows of her age and condition would have been culled by now. However, farming isn’t just about making a profit, there will be those occasional animals that eke out extra time, because they are special.

The Queen is starting to look like a great grandmother now, she is lame and is one of the last cows when walking to the parlour, partly perhaps so she isn’t jostled by other cows and partly because she is so much slower. She’s had 3 sets of twins in her ten pregnancies which is hard going. Her cell count is high and she is only milked once a day and that milk is given to the few youngest calves who are still indoors. Why is she still in the herd? ?She has such a large udder and has so much milk after calving that Brian was planning on delaying culling her until later in the year. She wasn’t AI’d this year (to become pregnant) but she was bulling one day when the bull was around and he got to her through a gate that had been inadvertedly left open. We’re scanning all the cows and heifers on Tuesday – if she is pregnant, she will give birth again next year – there is no way we would cull her with a calf inside her. She has a huge udder and it fills so full before she calves, it almost reaches the ground – she’s almost in danger of standing on her own teats!

In her lifetime, she will have given many thousands of litres of milk. She currently has six daughters in the herd and a total of 20 descendants in the milking herd (daughters, granddaughters and great granddaughters). From a herd of 90 cows, that’s a significant percentage. She really is Queen of the herd and it will be a sad day when she goes to the factory. I’ll let you know on Tuesday whether she is pregnant or not! I’m hoping she is in a way.

Update 4/9/2013 Yes, Queenie is pregnant, she has a reprieve 🙂

17 thoughts on “Queen of the Herd

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  • Jazzygal

    That’s one handsome, hardworking Queen Mother you’ve got there! Must be difficult to cull, when they’ve given so much but needs must in your farming world I guess 🙂

    xx Jazzy

    Reply
  • Janice

    I can’t believe how much we have in common, we started shipping Grade A milk in October, 2003, started building the herd back up in 1996 & the cows were being milked on another Grade A dairy farm until he retired in Nov 2002, so my cows & some of his, which became my cows, came to my farm. If it could go wrong it did, so we didn’t have a milk truck come pick up for almost a year, calves were well fed with the cow’s milk but so were the skunks, etc. Should have just worked thru all the problems & shipped what we had, but that’s neither here or there now. My husband’s name is Brian too. I have 3 older cows, 2 are 14 now & 1 will be 14 in December. I did have a cow that had an udder like you are speaking about, her name was Clover, she was one of 10 head purchased from an Ayrshire dispersal out of Canada in January, 1998. I had a Canadian dairy jockey contact me via a Canadian feeder pig dealer that I knew so they Fed Ex’ed me a sale catalog & I picked out cattle from it & emailed my choices to the dairy jockey. Now, I have daughters, granddaughters & great granddaughters of some of those cows. Back to Clover, she or somebody else stepped on her teats, injuring them so bad that she kicked to kill & we couldn’t do anything for her, she was milking 100 lbs/day, after calving about a month or so before…..

    Reply
    • Lorna

      As I was typing it, it did occur to me that at least I can’t almost stand on mine but I’m probably only equiv to her aged 7, what when I’m equivalent to her 13 years??? ;0)

      Reply
    • Lorna

      I can still remember how upset I was when my favourite cow died when I was 9. She had got milk fever after calving but hadn’t got better. In most cases, they would be sent for slaughter before she died but my dad hung on, hoping for a miracle. I can still remember being just home from school and my dad coming in to tell me she had died. And the ridiculous baby sitter telling me to never cry over an animal – I think many people cry more over their pets than they would over some people 🙂

      Reply
  • M T McGuire

    Awww… I’m hoping she’s pregnant and all. Blimey though, I’m not surprised she has huge udders. Do you know, Rolls Royce only use leather from bulls because cows get stretch marks, which are weaker and tear over time. Now there’s a thing.

    Cheers

    MTM

    Reply
    • Lorna

      I didn’t know that but it does make sense. Never thought before of cows getting stretch marks but of course they would. Phew, glad it’s not just humans 🙂

      Reply

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