Hilde, Hildie or Hildy….

Hilde our new Jersey milk cow As I said earlier, during my absence from Cultured Palate, a lot has happened. So, I would like to introduce you to our new family milk cow. She is 1/2 Brown Swiss and 1/2 Jersey. The problem is the spelling of her name!

How would you spell it? Hilde, Hildie or Hildy?

My preferred spelling is “Hilde”!

So, while our family disagrees (playfully of course) about the spelling, everyone agrees that Hilde is possibly the best family milk cow we have ever had!

If you have been around awhile, you will remember Buttercup, whom we sold and Emme who was dried off in preparation for giving birth. Emme birthed twins and then contracted milk fever. Milk fever is a decreased blood calcium level. It most often occurs shortly after calving and occurs when the high demands of milk production exceeds the body’s ability to mobilize calcium reserves. We knew to watch for milk fever and as soon as she showed the first symptoms, we began treatment. But, according to the vet, milk fever on top of birthing twins just took too much out of her and she did not make it. Needless to say, many tears were shed and it took time before beginning to look for another family milk cow. Farm life can be difficult and sad!

But, now we have Hilde. Hilde the Family Milk Cow While milk fever is a potential for any breed, it seems more abundant in full Jerseys. With that in mind, we chose a Jersey cross.The brown Swiss and Jersey combination make for wonderfully creamy sweet milk. Hilde’s milk tastes like it is sweetened and has vanilla added!

Not only is Hilde very mild tempered, she milks out in about 10 minutes! That is faster than either of our other two family milk cows! Now, we actually spend more time cleaning and sanitizing our milking machine (before and after milking) than we spend milking! No complaints about that at 6 AM   😉

Hilde the Family Milk Cow When we purchased Hilde, she was from a dairy in east Texas. John and I took an overnight trip to pick her up. After narrowing it down between two cows that we liked the look of, the decision was made on size and temperament. A family milk cow needs to be gentle and easy to milk especially since the whole family is involved in the milking rotation – even the younger boys. Hilde was smaller than the other cow and even though she was nervous, we could hand milk her.

Hilde was in milk from her first calf and was bred (or pregnant). Her due date is suppose to be the middle of July which is very soon but after having our vet check her, it will be later in the fall before she calves!

In preparation for calving, we dried her off at the end of May. “Drying off” means we slowly stopped milking her so she would stop producing milk – essentially weaning. This was a few weeks earlier than necessary but it was convenient for our family vacation to Maine. After all, how many neighbors want to water your plants, feed your dogs, feed your chickens AND milk your cow?

A family milk cow, like any other family pet, becomes part of the family. Even though Hilde has only been a part of the barnyard since March of this year, she has definitely become part of the family – cowbell and all!


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  1. Kim Clark says

    I stumbled on your blog last year 2 years ago when I was researching a healthier lifestyle/eating. I enjoy every post! So glad you are back. Amazing blog!

  2. Sarah says

    She looks very sweet. I had not looked back in some time and was so thrilled to see you blogging again. Whatever fits into your life with no stress greatly blesses many!

  3. Gay says

    What a pretty girl! How much milk was she giving you before you dried her off and how did it compare to your Jersey’s milk? We are looking at getting a family cow. I’d love a Jersey but am a little afraid due to the milk fever. I have a friend who lost one to it and almost lost the cow’s daughter to the same recently.

    • says

      Gay, Hilde was giving about 2 gallons of milk per day when we brought her home and it is creamier and sweeter than the Jerseys we have had. We had been without milk since drying Emme off so we drank, made keifer and ice cream out of but I am looking forward to making cheese with her milk – I think it is going to be great! I tell you, losing Emme to milk fever was absolutely terribly sad -we started treatment at the first sign (we knew to watch for it) and just did all we could and still she didn’t make it – as I said earlier, the birth of twins didn’t help according to the vet. It is one thing to know it is a potential but for it to really happen was sureal. Let me know what you decide on – you might check Keeping a Family Cow Forum http://familycow.proboards.com/ They have an auction barn and you might find one there.

  4. Sue Shirey says

    Hi Dina-Marie,

    Looking at the name Hilde, I would think the spelling Hildie or Hildy makes sense but looking at Hilde the cow…she looks more like a Hilde! It seems more Swiss somehow! So, Oswald family I vote for the spelling “Hilde” -Love from the Shireys


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