Several days ago I went to my friend Jim's to get a roll of hay and while I was there we took a walk over to visit Buttercup. You may remember from my previous article that Buttercup has been staying at the Beauchamp farm in preparation for breeding. We had decided to Artificially Inseminate her, but without another cow or cows in the field with her (she is our only cow) it is too difficult to know her exact estrus cycle, so she has been staying at Jim's farm.
It seems that Buttercup and her pasture-mate Ten, the head cow at the Beauchamp farm have been up to a little mischief.
Jim told me that she and Ten had staged a break out - and more than once. They knocked down the fence and went visiting. He said that when he saw Butter she was out walking with Ol' Bully Bully (not his real name), and you know what that means! We hope not. We had planned to have her inseminated with Purebred Jersey semen but now it's a possibility that she's been bred by a Limousine / Angus bull.
He has since moved away from the Beauchamp farm, and Ten (who was most likely the instigator) has been confined to another pasture. Buttercup now has another girlfriend who shares her meadow - My Heifer. They are newly acquainted and just getting to know one another.
I did learn of some mistakes I'd been making with Buttercup. She's our first cow and Jim has been raising cattle for years - I'm thankful to have a friend so knowledgeable to share information with me. I've been feeding our cow Perennial Peanut hay which is very high in protein. I thought this would be healthy for her but I learned that it is too "hot" - the term used when a feed has too much protein. It was beginning to cause her udder to swell prematurely, and she was becoming overweight. This diet could also cause the calf to become too large which leads to birthing problems. In addition to the Perreenial Peanut hay I was feeding her dairy pellets and a calf starter/grower mix. Again, too high in protein. Right now all she needs is grass hay and silage - a mixture of chopped corn, hay and some other nutrients, and plenty of clean fresh water.
It remains to be seen whether Buttercup has been bred naturally. We should know within the month. In any case gestation is 9 months (285 days) for a cow so by January we expect to have our first calf on the homestead. I'll be sure to post updates.