I intervened with a weaning tab. The same thing happened this February; Siobhan gave Wellie a good kick to let him know the milk bar was closed.
Then Wellie got castrated, and Siobhan seemed to sense that he needed comfort, so she let him start nursing again. Shortly after that I threw my back out, and the family told me to take a break from chores. After three days of rest, I went out to the barnyard to check on the animals. To my surprise, Siobhan had apparently decided that Wellie was sufficiently comforted, and she had kicked him off. Her udder was bursting with milk, so I decided to start once a day milking.
And then a couple days later I glanced out the back door. To my horror, Sir Loin was nursing on Ebony who is due to calve in early April! I ran out to check, and sure enough, all four of her teats were wet! Sir Loin was banished immediately to a different pasture, and I post-dipped all of Ebony's teats before I turned her loose.
Suddenly Sir Loin hanging around the barnyard, the soft little moos, the gate pushed out, and Siobhan's empty quarters all made sense. It wasn't poor Wellie nursing around the weaning tab; it was Sir Loin nursing through the gate! And when we foiled him by adding chicken wire, he managed to convince Ebby to let him nurse on her. I told Herb that Sir Loin looks tastier every day!
Tamm Udder Support. Two days after I ordered it, Siobhan was decked out in her new lingerie. The sunlight shows her udder through the netting. This is good for air circulation, but in order to be sure she wouldn't try self-sucking, I secured a clean cloth inside the net on her left side.
NOTE: I now very strongly advise against using the Tamm Udder Support for any cow. It ended up being disastrous for Siobhan (story here). Another family cow milker told me in June 2015 that her vet advised her that using it would be asking for mastitis. I wish I had known that piece of information in March.
For milking, it was pretty easy to undo the two back buckles and one side buckle above the udder support without removing the entire harness.
We've had a fair amount of rain, and the cotton canvas dries out easily. Of course, with all the rain, Siobhan's new lingerie is now a nice muddy beige.
Siobhan will remain in the barnyard wearing her harness until she's completely dried off. Once I'm sure she won't be tempted to self-suck again, she can ditch the harness and join the boys until it's time for her to calve.
Her pre-drying off mastitis test came back with no Staph A, but I'll continue to keep her separate from Ebby as a precaution. The episode with Sir Loin nursing first Siobhan and then Ebby is a reminder that even when we think we're in charge, we might not be. We have to stay on our toes to keep ahead of our Dexters!
At least for now, everyone is where they should be. Siobhan is drying off in the barnyard. Ebby is about to move into the Home Pasture for calving. Once she does, Sir Loin's banishment will be lifted and he can rejoin the bachelors. It looks like we're back in charge again, for now . . .
NOTE: Just in case you missed the warning above, I'll repeat it here: I now very strongly advise against using the Tamm Udder Support for any cow. It ended up being disastrous for Siobhan (story here). Another family cow milker told me in June 2015 that her vet advised her that using it would be asking for mastitis. I wish I had known that piece of information in March.