My So-Called Pilgrim Life

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A chronicle of daily life in the 1627 English village at Plimoth Plantation from both a modern and historical perspective.

Final Exam for a Milk Cow

October 30th, 2009 by admin

Earlier this week, we posted from the Village Farm about the arrival of our newest interpreter, the calf born to Damson, our red and black cow. In that post we mentioned the training Damson has gone through over the last 4 years to become the excellent exhibit animal she is today.
In all learning processes, some of steps in training are strange and mysterious to the student until they have enough background to put everything into context. In the same way, I think parts of our morning and afternoon cow handling routine (which is an essential part of how we teach our exhibit animals) must have seemed odd to Damson. I mean, I’m sure she enjoyed the part where we brush and rub her down. Lifting her legs every day may have made sense to her the first time she got her hooves trimmed. But why, she probably wondered, do they insist on reaching under me and touching my udder? Isn’t that sort of personal?
Over time, Damson stopped feeling tickled when her udder was palpated, and she learned not to move away. And yesterday, the fruits of four years of training came true, as Damson stood still for her first milking- without rope or stanchion or anything to restrain her. Her training enabled us to make milking her an exhibit that looked just like the images we see from 17th century paintings and woodcuts, dairy maids milking their cows freestanding in the fields.

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2 Responses to “Final Exam for a Milk Cow”

  1. KMWall says:

    Cows standing in field in the any part of 17th century England didn’t have hundreds of interested bystanders lurking nearby, creating all sorts of distractions. Double kudos for a job well done, both by the Farm deparment and Damson!(And do her ‘moos’ turn to ‘boos’ for Halloween?)PS – I’d have titled this post “Cow, Standing in Her Field”)

  2. admin says:

    We…my..? Who is making these comments? Sign your name. Make yourselves known. And K…make tags for searchable terms so folks can find our blog!!!

    That said, good work everyone!
    (missing you all)
    B

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