Nor West News : February 17th 2011
www.nor-westnews.co.nz Thursday, February 17, 2011 OPEN DAY MARCH 2 BOARDING AVAILABLE for Boys & Girls BR - j5765/02 UCKPV MGPVKIGTP EQNNGIG SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE - APPLICATIONS CLOSE 6 APRIL Register to attend 09 577 0677 www.saintkentigern.com Still milking it at 21 Long milker: Kumeu dairy farmer Gary Worrall with his favourite cow 404, who still provides milk for adopted calves. By RANI TIMOTI ' I couldn't send her to the works. She's part of the family. ' Gary Worrall LIFE as a long-time milking cow provides plenty of experiences to chew on. However, Kumeu heifer 404 could be at the end of her tether after a calf bit a teat. The pure-bred, black-and- white friesian was reared as a pet by the Worrall family who have farmed in the Kumeu district for about a century. She has dished out plenty of the white stuff for 10 years -- but not just to her own five calves. When she had her last set of two on April 25, 2009, farmer Gary Worrall decided to try others on her. Since then she has adopted 31 calves. But 404's latest rough patch nearly ended her milking days at the ripe old age of 21. Gary has been spraying iodine regularly on to her injured teat and squirting out the old milk to get the fresh milk after vet treatment. Now a runt calf has latched on to her other teat and is doing fine. I almost gave up on 404 -- but she's given me new hope to keep on going.'' The family's Puriri farm of about 284 acres has up to 160 cows in a herd. Gary says they have never heard of an enduring milker like 404. A cow's milk starts breaking down after not calving for two years. From 2000, 404 was taken out of the milking herd because of her poor grade milk. It's even more unusual to accept others' calves. It's like something foreign coming along. But she's got an accepting nature and it takes her up to three days to get used to them.'' The average New Zealand cow has five or six lactations/ calvings in her lifetime. Even if she did stop milking, 404 would get a proper retirement in the house paddock. I couldn't send her to the works. She's part of the fam- ily.'' Apart from her milking pedigree, 404's very quiet personality has been the clincher. She's been a good cow --- but she's also really stubborn. I always feed her orange and banana peels to keep her happy.'' Dairy farmer co-operative, Livestock Improvement Corporation has reported a 22-year-old Te Awamutu cow called Grandma, aka cow 140, giving birth to her 20th calf last year. FACTS ON COW 404 The 21-year-old has a granddaughter with the same 404 tag. She is easily distinguished by a white and red button in each ear. After having her very first calf, she had mastitis and lost the use of one of her teats. In 2001, 404 nearly died after getting another bout of mastitis when she had her daughter. Her quiet nature and good looks meant she participated in an Indian festival where she was taken to a temple. In India, the Hindu majority holds the cow as sacred and a motherly figure because of her capacity to give milk.
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