By Lorraine Clarke
TWELVE YEARS ago, Daisy was just one of many thousands of dairy calves born in the Meander Valley, so un-esteemed that she was sold for $25.00 to Phil and Lyn who raised her on their hobby farm near Deloraine. Daisy bloomed with their devoted attention and two years later, produced her first calf.
Since then, many bobby calves have been reared with her generous supply of milk. Daisy has nothing to do all day except eat the choicest pasture, gaze at the view and chew her cud, interrupted twice daily by a short stroll through the gate to her blue feed bin, where she stands patiently while Phil handmilks her. “She loves her food. She will eat anything, especially bread,” said Phil.
In 2016, Daisy had trouble calving. She had a Caesarean section, but her calf was dead. She was producing up to 33 litres a day, enough to feed 6 calves. As soon as one batch had been started off with a couple of months of rich Jersey milk, another group of day-old sookies was bought in. This continued until she was dried off in July this year, and during that 20 months, Daisy’s milk had reared the astonishing number of 52 calves.
In September Daisy produced her latest calf, Teddy, who has his mum to himself all day, but despite his best efforts, he cannot drink all her milk. Phil still milks 16 litres a day which feeds 3 other calves as well.
Granddaughter McKinley is excited about coming to the farm for the Christmas holidays, and the first thing she plans to do is take a tumbler out to the paddock and drink Daisy’s fresh warm milk.
Pampered Daisy has almost certainly outlived the other calves born in 2006, and is assured of a home for life with Lyn and Phil. The rolling green paddocks are full of young cattle that thrived on the good start Daisy gave them, and chickens scratch around in the abundant grass, but none of them is destined for the table there. “We don’t eat anything that has feathers or hooves that we’ve raised,” said Lyn.