Our cows are respected colleagues on the farm with whom we have developed close working relationships. Each one has unique strengths (+ weaknesses) that contribute to overall health of the herd and each has their own distinct personality, which we try to honor. Meet the ladies who convert our pastures into the liquid gold we call raw milk.
Elsie came to us from a family homestead near Marshall, Michigan. She was handmilked by the oldest of 6 girls in the family and became the first milk cow our farm ever owned. She’s one quarter mini-Jersey and three-quarter full-size Jersey with a nice high udder and large teats. The smallest of our milk cows, she’s also the most efficient in our herd at converting feed to milk. She is currently on her 5th lactation after the birth of her daughter, Elsa, in November 2016.
Freida was purchased from an Amish farm in Lakeview. She was a family favorite and milked by the family’s second oldest daughter who named her. They were looking to downsize their herd and we bought her just before her second calf, Fern, was born in April 2015. She is currently on her 4th lactation with the birth of her daughter, Fiona, in June 2017. She is one of our highest producing cows, with her enormous udder.
Susie is Frieda’s half sister (same dad, different mom) and from our Amish friends in Lakeview. She is a grain lover and has been known to break into the parlor to feast when no one is looking. She last freshened in December 2015 with the birth of her daughter, Sally (named for Whit’s mom)! We love her docile nature and consistent production.
Fern was born on our farm in April 2015 to mom, Frieda. She is a Jersey-Guernsey cross (the Amish farm had a Guernsey bull for a season). She certainly has the coloring of a Guernsey but the stature and udder formation of a Jersey. She was vibrant and spunky calf from the beginning and needed no help learning to nurse. She is a 1st lactation heifer, with the birth of her bull calf, Fireball, in March 2017.
Buttercup was the first official calf born on the farm in December 2014. Because of the immense amount of time Cecilia spent with her as a calf, she’s an extremely friendly, docile girl. She is a 1st lactation heifer, with the birth of her bull calf, Blaze, in April 2017. She has been a dream to milk, especially for a first-time mom!
Peggy Sue was bought as a 10 day old bottle baby from Lubber’s Farm in Grand Rapids by a homestead dairy in Shelbyville. She is a super sweet and lovely cow in her second lactation. She is knock-kneed (a genetic mutation – visible in the photo) so she moves a little slower than everyone else and will likely get arthritis, making her productive life shorter than the average cow’s. But, she has a great udder, she is very gentle, never kicky in the parlor and milks well. She is on her 4th lactation, with the birth of her daughter, Philomena, in June 2017.
Ruby is a bottle baby who we bought at a week old from Grazeway Dairy in Pewamo. Since their dairy is also a pasture-based farm, their genetics are aimed towards grassfed dairy cows. Ruby is mainly Norwegian Red but is a mix and since the farm keeps bull, their genetics are mixed every season. We bought her because of our interest in the breed – they are known for being incredibly hardy with low somatic cell counts, and performing well on grass-based dairies. She is a 1st lactation heifer, fresh in June 2017 with the birth of her daughter, Reba.
Elsa was born in November 2016 to Elsie, one of our favorite cows. She has been a sweet, gentle calf although has grown more mischievous with her age. Most heifers are but she’s a handful so far!
Fireball is Fern’s first calf and he is a fireball in spirit! He retains a bit of the reddish coloring left over from his mom’s Guernsey genetics and has proven to be a vigorous calf. He’ll be finished for beef in the fall of 2018.
Blaze is Buttercup’s first calf, born in April 2017. His long slender nose and petite frame made it look like we crossed Buttercup with a deer! He has grown to be a healthy calf and will be finished for beef in fall of 2018.
Fiona is Frieda’s 4th calf, born June 2017. She has nursed well and is best friends with Reba, born a week after her. She has turned a light fawn color like her mom! The kids were obviously pretty excited for her arrival!
Reba is Ruby’s 1st calf and we love her! She is mostly Jersey but has kept her mom’s reddish coloring. She was born a week after Fiona in June 2017. She’s been a healthy and happy calf!