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Follow organic dairy farmer Jonathan Gates as he reports weekly from his Vermont family farm. Howmars Farm is a certified organic dairy farm, one of many Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative farmer members who supply the milk that goes into making Stonyfield's yogurts and smoothies. The entire family pitches in on this third-generation farm. Check out some of the happenings on his farm and post your comments. Jonathan loves to get feedback from readers.

A heifer gives birth to a calf

We had noticed an animal hanging back from the rest of the milking herd out in the grazing paddock. I was sure it was one of the heifers due soon that we had put in with the cows to get them acclimated to the barn, the milking facility, and the milking herd. Maybe she was getting ready to calve. When it was time for the afternoon milking, I walked down the lane to let the cows up to the barn. There was a new calf, and the mother was one of the heifers, Oriana, in with the milking herd.

I talked about Oriana in a blog I did on May 4. That day she wasn't too well, but she came through that setback fine. She calved 8 days before her due date, not unusual for a heifer calving for the first time. The calf, a heifer, was smaller than normal but otherwise okay. I wonder if the calf was small due to the setback Oriana had in May. Oriana followed me and her calf all the way up the lane, through the gate, and into the barn. After milking, we gave her calf some nice, warm colostrum and she sucked it all down.

--Jonathan, Howmars Farm
Franklin, Vermont


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