Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Picking up Polly

We have our new little Jersey heifer! We picked her up today.

Not without some effort, of course. Don spent a lot of time constructing a nice little pen to put her in.

In the process we found where one of the hens has been secretly laying her eggs - on the shelf above the pen. (Busted!)

Then this morning we woke up early and hit the road by 7 am. It takes us a good 4 1/2 hours to drive to this remote farm, and we were pulling a neighbor's borrowed horse trailer to boot. Don was driving - white-knuckled most of the time - and he did a superb job.

The sellers, Dave and Lynne and their four kids (the oldest is off at college) are an absolutely charming homeschooling family. We wished we could have visited with them longer, but we had a vet appointment at 1:30 and had to hustle.

We put a halter and lead rope on Polly and led her out of her pen.

She's beautifully lead-trained for such a young animal, and I led her to the trailer without any trouble.

Getting her into the trailer actually went pretty well too.

Polly's poor mama was upset, as you can imagine. It's always sad to break up a family.

Next stop: The Deer Park Veterinary Clinic, a massive facility that specializes in large-animal work.

I think they could treat an elephant if they were asked to do so.

This tortuous-looking device is actually a custom-made squeeze chute. Oooh, were we jealous! We want one too.

Don backed the trailer up to the proper bay and led her inside.

Poor Polly wasn't too happy about this device, as you can imagine. Here she got her Bang's vaccination, an ear tag and ear tattoo, and a health checkup. With all the paperwork in order, we were soon on our way.

After an immensely long drive home (poor Don was exhausted!), we backed her out of the trailer...

...and tucked her into her new pen.

Oh my she was unhappy! Poor little girl, taken from her mama and bounced over roads for many hours and poked with needles and tagged and tattooed in her sore ear and now put into a strange pen!

And to top it off, everyone was staring at her!

"I want my mama!"

Can you see her new ear tag and tattoo dye?

We spent some time with her, scratching and petting, but she wasn't in the mood to be cuddled. She's still trying to get used to her new environment, and as I post this I'm hearing a lot of bawling. Still, she's tucked into the barn warm and snug. There's a howling wind at the moment, with more rain threatening, and we wanted her protected for the night. Tomorrow we'll let her out to meet her new herdmates.


  1. Polly is a beauty. Way to go Don. You are now free to sleep 7 hrs. uninterrupted. You all work so hard that we feel guilty just hearing about it. She is a fine looking animal.

  2. Oh Patrice,

    Polly is a beautiful calf! She is so adorably cute!! What a traumatic day for her! Poor widdle girl! She'll settle in, in a few days! She has come to another wonderful home!
    The chicken looked guilty, chuckle!! :)

  3. Polly is a sweetheart. Can you please explain what an ear tag is for? I've never known. (and I don't have cows) Thanks.

  4. The ear tag confirms she received her Bang's vaccination, a necessity (by law) for dairy cattle. The tattoo is a fall-back confirmation in case the ear tag rips out (as sometimes happens).

    - Patrice

  5. Thank you for a few minutes of living vicariously through your post. We have the book, The Family Cow. For when we get a cow. And for when we get a farm. That was really sweet. And she is indeed adorable. Even the sneaky hen is cute. Hens we have. Beauty laid two eggs today.

  6. I hear all these folks tickled pink about a calf. I am tickled by you Patrice. Your energy seems limitless unless a horrible bug gets you. I'm impressed by what you have been able to do. I wish you good health, good judgement and happiness in spite of all of the grief happening everywhere these days.

  7. Good looking heifer. I say we tattoo that hen next! I have some calves I need to get to the vet. Since I registered them, they have to have tattoos as well. I should have bought Jerseys. Not too sure black or green ink will show up so well on a black cows. Nice work on the pen Don.

  8. She is so stinking cute! :o)

  9. Have I told you I love this blog?
    I do. Just positive stuff.

  10. You guys seem pretty attached to your animals. Do you have any problem eating them (i.e. the cows when they stop producing or the steers they produce) when the time comes?

  11. Nope.

    Early on in our homesteading years (back when we lived in Oregon) we had friends who literally took bets we couldn't butcher and eat our steer. Later they invited us to dinner and we brought... the steaks. Yummmm.

    - Patrice

  12. As often as possible now, as I come to my big city hospital job, I log in to receive such warmth and joy from your postings. Thank you for happiness I cannot explain.

  13. LOL at the sneaky chicken....Polly is beautiful, such bright eyes, too.....After a few days she'll be just fine......

    Sounds like it all went fairly easily, and the prior owners have her accustomed to alot of important things already - Less work for you!!!!

  14. You could write a children's book next about 'Polly's New Home; Adopting a Jersey Calf', written from her Older Daughter!
    '..and now everyone was looking at me' (your cattle staring at her group shot here). 'I know I had a mama...then two small humans came to my nest er, uh, pen and....'
    K in OK <><

  15. "Nancy said...
    She is so stinking cute! :o)"


  16. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)March 31, 2011 at 6:33 AM

    Polly is sooooo cute! Hunka-hubby and you did a fine job bringing her home. I bet every mile seemed like two! That hen is too funny. Couldn't find any eggs from my Reds - very unusual - found out 2 days later my little banty hen had moved them to another nesting box and was trying to hatch 'em ... silly, silly chicken!
    Just love your blog & look forward to it each day.
    Expecting 10 inches of snow tonight - When, oh when will Spring be here?? At this point I am even looking forward to the "mud" season!

  17. Polly is a gorgeous Jersey.
    She is so fortunate to find herself in the beneficent company of a family that will love and tend to her every need.
    May she bring you lots of joy and loads of milk!


  18. I love your "life around the farm" posts. :)

  19. It's like a Easter egg hunt with some smarts involved. Those chickens can really be crafty. It is such a joy to finally "bust" them. Even though the eggs have gone bad and the chicken gets the last laugh. I still miss that about having chickens.

  20. Phyllis, I'm sitting here in Western CT waiting for that very same snow you are.

    Orange Jeep Dad, you have absolutely nailed it! That is exactly how I feel about this place.

    Don, you have no idea how I was itching to be building reading this post. I swear I even heard my Skill worm drive turn over a couple of times, 'cause it wants to be building, too.

    Don, I notice some saw mill markings on those old 4 x 4s. You must have a mill nearby? I often patronize our local sawmill here in western, CT. Lots of people don't have any idea we have one, yet I LOVE being able to pick out my LOG, and to spec my own cuts. I also like how carefully you salvage, and USE your salvaged lumber. Very, nice work.

    Bill Smith

  21. I googled the vet they took Polly to, and it's a really great place. Since many of us have pets and critters -- except me -- you may be especially interested in the FAQs here:

    because there's lot of health info for your buddies there.

    Bill Smith

  22. I just bought a bundle of New York Steaks and I am a bit worried about what may come of this. I think I will play some of my favorite country music and forget about it all. Yeaah... That's the ticket. Keep going beef farmers and God bless you.