Mercy's first Milking

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....

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