Not long ago, I had the pleasure of giving a few of my city friends a tour of our farm. It was their first time ever seeing a cow up close so it was a treat for all of us. It brought me so much joy to see the smiles and amazement on their faces as they petted their first cow. I entertained all of the usual questions, but there was one particular question that I wasn’t sure how to answer. “Farmer Tim, which one is your favourite cow?”. I guess I had never thought about one particular cow being my favourite.
After they left, I pondered that question again while I did the evening milking. There have been many great cows pass through our herd. As a kid, I remember Tulip. She was a huge cow with a pure white head and a very pendulous udder. I loved her because she came when you called her. Then there was Cranberry, out first red and white Holstein heifer. I spent many hours camped out in her pen while she was a calf; determined that I would make a pet out of her someday. Of course I could never forget Star. She was born almost two months pre-mature in the pasture field one hot summer night. As I carried her tiny body across the field into the barn to put her under a heat lamp I remembered spotting the most beautiful shooting star that I had ever seen. Thus, the name Star!⭐️ More recent favourites are cows like Tempest. Tempest does not live up to her name. She must be the most docile creature that ever walked the face of the earth. In fact, my kids have ridden her like a horse and they have fallen asleep beside her when they were younger. There’s the award winners in the crowd too! Majestic Mayhaven Francine was grand champion at a big dairy show in England many years ago. Her photo graces the sign at the entrance to our farm. In my youth there were countless 4-H calves that always did their best to bring home ribbons at the fairs. There are envelops arriving monthly in the mail letting me know that certain cows have been awarded certificates for life time milk production, for mothering exceptional daughters or producing high milk, fat or protein yields. Surely, I must have a favourite amongst those talented girls! Sandi just got a gold seal for producing 100,000 litres of milk in her lifetime! She’s definitely got to be in my top ten!
As you can see, picking my favourite is no easy task. Of course there are certain times when I could tell you who isn’t my favourite cow. Take Dame for instance. She loves to slap her (not always clean) tail across my face almost every time I milk her. Then there’s Dorothy who never fails to kick the milker off at least once day! However, all it takes is gentle lick, a soft moo, or a sultry flutter of those long eye lashes and all is forgiven.
Cows are remarkable creatures. Each one comes with her own unique personality. It’s that amazing diversity of personalities that makes my cows so wonderful to work with. It’s also what brings a group of cows together to form a herd. Now if the question was, “Farmer Tim, what herd of cows is your favourite”, I could easily answer……this one!