The day had come, I knew it was time. Mercy and I had
been working up to this moment for over a year. Both unsure of the outcome, but
one of us stronger willed and slightly more witty to make it all happen. Who
would actually win the battle, who would make it come to pass?
It was to be the first time Mercy would be milked. It was going to be done by
hand. We had "practiced" for months. I would rub and tug on her
udder. We put her food in the manger with the head gate. Occasionally we would
even close the head gate so that she had to stand there.
Practicing and the actual event of milking are two very different things. Mercy
was not used to being separated from her calf, who is now 9 months old and
ready to be weaned. She is a very protective of her calf, and so was already
worked up, having been confined to the barn for several hours.
I brought her into the little pen with the head gate and put a bucket of feed
into the manger. I walked slowly up to her to close the gate and she backed out
of it. Back and forth we went until I finally got it latched.
Next I had to wash her udder. I need to make sure that there isn't any dirt,
hay or manure on her udder before I start milking. I don't want anything to
fall into that milk bucket. At this point she started to dance. It was a fancy
sideways, up and back four step. With an occasional little kick for flare.
When the udder is clean, I have to strip out each teat to make sure that there
is no bacteria near the opening. Then the actual milking can begin. I wasn't
foolish enough to think that I was home free, or that I could milk with both
hands, or even sit on my milking stool as I do when I milk Grace.
So, carefully and slowly I moved up beside her with the milk bucket in one hand
ready to grab the udder with the other. I bent over, poised to move bucket and
body out of the reach of back feet and legs should she decide to go nutso.
Which she did. Moving sideways, up and back. The four step becoming more wild
with each passing squeeze. The kicks getting higher and closer to the bucket and
my hands. Until she finally managed to kick the bucket out of my hands. This
scene was ongoing for several minutes until she pulled her head free and I was
the one that caved. Ok Mercy, you won that round, but I'll be back....