Bonus sound recording opportunity | CowGirl Parlour

May 29, 2015

The majority of  dairy cattle raised in the UK are turned out onto pasture in springtime, with a hop, skip and jump.  Cows are not seasonal breeders in the same way that sheep are, and the time of their calving can be arranged largely for the convenience of the farm and the farmer.  In most dairy systems today, newborn calves are separated from their mothers almost immediately and all the milk that the cow produced to feed the calf goes instead for human consumption.  In past times, and  in some systems today, the milk was shared between the calf and humans for several months until the calf was weaned.  This involves coaxing the mother to ‘share’… Last week we went to Canon Frome Court to record some of the poetry of Annie Finch, who looks after the cows there.  We managed to arrive just at the time when Lottie, who has recently birthed Tulip, her first calf, was being taken to the milking shed to get used to being hand-milked. It’s a tricky time, where a cow may easily become agitated and fidgety.  Often in the past, calves would remain tethered beside the mother during milking, but here Tulip was left in the barn nearby, and Lottie communicated with her regularly, providing sound recordist Richard Urbanski with some bonus high quality mooing combined with soothing, coaxing words from the milkers!  Lottie let down some milk and was patient for quite a while before becoming anxious to return to her calf…

…who was waiting patiently in the barn.