We’d like to introduce you to our valuable bovine community members. Srila Prabhupada describes cows as contributors to society and never urged us to use them as pets or as props for fund raising. Every bovine family member can contribute, whether it is nectrean milk, work in a yoke or even just fertilizer, each individual is an asset to our community.
Dhana, our matriarch. Dhana was conceived when we were caring for her Mom who belonged to the Pioneer Farm Museum. The Museum agreed that we could keep the cute little heifer, and when she was 2, we bred her to a top Jersey bull. Her first calf was Lani Moo. Initially Dhana rejected her calf, and acted aggressively when she was near it. Because Dhana’s Mom, Rain was with us at the time and had her own calf, Makani, we asked Rain if she’d take care of the rejected heifer. Rain agreed and nursed her own calf as well as Dhana’s. After about 3 days I consulted with a veterinarian about why Dhana was rejecting her calf and he told me that we had a ghost in the barn and that he’d get rid of it for us. Over the phone. Hmm. A few minutes later he said that the ghost was gone, so I went into the barn and showed Dhana her calf again. Amazingly Dhana made motherly sounds and loving body language as opposed to the angry sounds and aggressive body language she had exhibited before. So I let her lick her calf and then nurse her. She became an exemplary mother.
Dhana was the dictator of our little herd until about a year ago when her son Torus overtook her in size. Dhana is now ranked #2 in the herd heirarchy and doesn’t tolerate any sass from youngsters or from her brother, Makani She is due to have a calf in about a week due to an event about 9 months ago when the neighbor’s Limousin bull jumped a 5′ hotwire electric fence in response to Dhana’s remarkable beauty. Although the bull is a much larger breed, my adviser at a nearby dairy farm has assured me that she should be able to deliver it without difficulty. We didn’t really want Dhana having more calves because she is prone to mastitis and I was unable to milk her on her last lactation. We are hoping for a bull calf with horns. The father is genetically polled (no horns) so there is 50-50 chance of a polled calf. Because everyone else in the herd has horns, we hope our newcomer will also have them. The father is not a dairy breed, but he is large, so his offspring with Dhana will potentially produce an outstanding ox.
Makani: when Rain, the cow we cared for in the winter needed to be rebred, we chose a top Jersey, Iotola as the sire. As a result, Makani was born, and again, the Museum let us keep him. He is trained to pull a cart and is suitably sized to be a teammate for Torus. We don’t have a yoke yet, so we will start working the team at sometime in the future.
Lani Moo: perhaps the world’s sweetest cow and a great milker, too. She is 4 years old and expecting her second calf in August. We decided to breed her when she developed mastitis after milking her for a year and a half. So she’s been dry for most of her pregnancy. She was bred to a Guernsey bull because that is what the dairyman had in his tank that had horns. We like horns because they are a part of Krsna’s design.
Torus: the herd boss and he’s only 2 and a half! He is big, jet black and very confident. He is also very affectionate towards his human friends, but wary of humans that he doesn’t know. This winter he went on many walks, including to the highway to get him accustomed to traffic. We wanted to put Torus and Makani in the Loggers Jubilee Parade which occurs in August, but due to time and equipment constraints were unable to do it this year. Perhaps next year.
Tucaram (Tuki): he’s about a year and a half now and very confident. We haven’t put much effort into training him yet, but he is very intelligent, affectionate and athletic. Maybe a little rebellious, too, being the human equivalent of a teenager. He is most likely to be Ra’s teammate although he is matched more closely for color with Torus.
Ra: Ra is a full brother to Makani and was born when Rain, the museum cow was sold to some friends of ours. Rain sadly passed away when Ra was only 3 days old, so we adopted him as we were able to provide fresh milk from Lani Moo who had recently calved Tuki. Lani Moo did not accept the idea of adopting a second calf so Ra was bottle fed. Ra is sophisticated looking but quite humble.
Precious: yes, it’s a sappy name, but she was so little when she was born that everyone said, “she’s precious!” So the name stuck and she thinks quite a lot of herself, too. Because she was so little and cute, everyone, human and bovine alike were easy on her and let her get away with things such as touching people with her horns. Hopefully correcting her won’t be too traumatic, but she does need to learn manners. She is about 450lbs right now and still Precious.