See Spot.

If you noticed in today’s recipes, I still have not included a recipe for Burgoo. I will. The recipe makes hundreds of gallons, so must be adjusted to a smaller portion. Be patient. It’s coming!

I just got back from visiting Spot, a guernsey bull calf that is only a few weeks old. When we arrived, he was trying to climb under the electric fence (it was off) to get to the larger calves. He is so tiny in comparison to the Big Mama sized calves, it would not be safe for him to be with them at trough time, yet. Mike is right, that calf loves to be petted. When he saw the truck, he came straight to us, bawling as he went as if to say “I missed you!” I petted him for a few moments while Mike fed the others. His hair, rather than a fawn color, is more of a copper color and as soft and silky as a Himalayan kitten. He sniffed my hand and leaned towards me so I could pet his soft neck and shoulder gazing up at me with those marvelous big brown eyes. He is beautiful. One day, he’ll make a good stud bull. (He’s already been earmarked strictly for that.)

Suddenly, Spot abandoned me. Mike had climbed the enclosure with his feed and was in the shed pouring it out for the little guy. Fickle little fella would much rather eat the sweet feed than let me pet him! Sigh. It would be so easy to make him a pet, at least until he grew to his full 1200 pounds!

Guernseys, like Jerseys and Swiss Browns, are a favorite breed among dairy farmers and hand-milkers due to the higher fat content in their milk. To my mind, they are also the most beautiful of the breeds, which is why I deliberately sought out the breed. How great it would be to raise these beauties for resale to a local dairy! Unfortunately, according to KentuckyLiving.com, in an article from 2005, the number of Kentucky Dairy farms is declining (just over 1400 in 2004), although the herds are getting larger.

As of 2009, three Kentucky counties had the majority of dairy farms, in part due to Amish and Mennonite-owned small family farms in those areas: Barren, Adair and Christian. All these counties are in the southern and western part of the state. The largest herd is some 1400 head.(See Cheese Market News Archives.) Yet, as Hoard’s Dairyman‘s Bill Herndon tells us, the number of dairy farms in the southeast is expected to decline further if trends continue– by almost 57 percent between 2010 and 2025. Such a decline has a direct affect in local dairy communities, where the average dairy farmer spends $4500 annually per cow in his community. The good news is that in spite of rising costs of dairy farming, demand for dairy goods is on the rise. Profits, in spite of the current recession, are expected to be good in 2011.

Kentucky Dairy Development County, kydairy.org

So how does that bode for little Spot, the Jersey boys Frick and Frack, Hal the Holstein, and their soon-to-be roommates? The truth is, I don’t know. The Kentucky Dairy Development Council, however, is working deligently to keep dairy farming alive and well in Kentucky. They’ve even produced fact sheets to help teach people how to dairy farm, which are available on their website. Federal and state agencies also provide cost-share funding and loans to improve farming of all types. All that is needed is willing dairymen and women. Perhaps our babies will find homes with a new dairy farmer.

PS I was asked by another blogger, M.J. Deare, to do a guest blog for her site. What an honor! Here’s a link to it: “Things I’ve Learned About Cattle”.

Oh…and by the way…June is dairy month. Party ’til the cows come home!

About cattlebaroness

I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a BA in History, nearing completion of a Master of Arts in American history. Born and raised first on military bases around the world, then in Orange County, CA, I moved to Kentucky when my children were small. I now live on a small family farm and am learning about farm life, planting and our newest addition to the landscape--cattle. Until a month or two ago, all I knew about 'cows' were that they came in brown, black and white and that some are raised for milk and others for meat. I am a quick study out of necessity.
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2 Responses to See Spot.

  1. M.J.Deare says:

    Awww… how sweet he is. Golly, I think… cattle, I started to say “cows” are beautiful creatures. It’s kind of difficult to think of them as a food source. City dwellers are used to thinking of beef as all nicely packaged at the supermarket. Maybe we’re a little too far removed from reality.

  2. All babies are beautiful, aren’t they? And yes, it is hard to think of them as a food source, which is why the cattle I purchased of my own right are all dairy and/or breeder calves. I’m in a transition, I think. I’m really getting in to this living on the farm stuff though. In the last six weeks, I’ve had to fight my urges to buy a guard donkey, a pigmy goat, and two alpalcas. What would I do with them?!

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