Red Wicket Market Farm is a small farm 25 minutes from downtown Columbus, Ohio, near Slate Run Metropark. Breeding Black Ameraucanas and Black Copper Marans to the Standard of Perfection, as well as some Olive Eggers just for fun.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dairy Farm Weekend

Jerseys are brown, and Holsteins are black and white
I grew up on a medium-sized dairy farm that my father still operates. Once a month I travel 2 1/2 hours and stay with my dad for a long weekend. In those three days, I work 32-36 hours milking cows to make sure that the employees get some time off. I always come back absolutely exhausted and footsore, but it's nice to help out and it's fun to see the cows. Most of dad's herd are Holsteins, but about a quarter of them are Jersey cows. Jerseys are funny beasts. They are little and adorable and sweet and friendly, but boy are they trouble! If there's something to mess with, they'll find it. They pull out air lines and chew them like bubble gum, climb into the water troughs for fun, and they come up behind you and grab your clothes. When a barn has Jerseys in it, make sure that there are no hanging electrical cords and the gate are securely latched! This weekend I was walking with the Jersey herd up to the milking parlor and one cow stopped. She just turned around and looked at me, and refused to budge. I pushed and cajoled and was getting frustrated, but finally I figured it out. She had an itch. I scratched her ears and the top of her back where she can't reach, and she resumed walking to the parlor.

Ready to be dried and packed
This morning, I washed eggs. We use a sanitizing wash made specifically for washing eggs and very hot water. Always use hot water to wash eggs--it causes air to come out of the pores of the egg, pushing any dirt out with it. If you use cold water to wash eggs, especially eggs that are warmer than the water you're using, it can work the other way; air goes into the egg and can pull dirt and bacteria in with it. After they are washed, we hand dry each one and pack them into cartons ready for sale.