Retired cows reach extraordinary milestone

Retired cows reach extraordinary milestone

16 July 2015

Blackstar Trace and Bear Blanche had a chocolate cake waved under their noses but were far more interested in a mineral supplement as a birthday treat.

After 21 years roaming paddocks from Waitoa to Morrinsville and now Tauwhare, these two retired dairy cows know what they like.

It’s an extraordinary age for a cow said Charbelle Farm owner Dyanne Osborne – double the normal lifespan.

Having two of them made it even more impressive.

"It’s almost unheard of to be fair," said Osborne. "We had a party for them when they were 20 because we didn't think they would get to 21 but they have."

Charbelle Blackstar Trace was the cantankerous one of the two cows, she said. Charbelle Bear Blanche was far quieter, her condition not as good and only moved when she wanted to.

"We've really looked after them. We cover them up with extra coats in winter time and give them extra feed because they are pets. We do have a dairy farm here but they are pets."

Trace and Bear Blanche were born just days apart in July 1994 and their owners have thrown them a well-deserved party at their Tauwhare farm, near Hamilton – party hats included.

Trace, who wore a red hat and Blanche, in blue, once took their place in the herd and were highly productive.

Bear Blanche had 19 calves in her years while Trace had 15. "They were both born for us all those years ago and Annabelle, our daughter, had Blackstar Trace as her showing calf and the other one we showed as well."

Charbelle Farms manager [Old Collegian Annabelle Scherer (Harington 1998-99)], Osborne’s daughter, said they had been a part of her life since she was a teenager.

Now they were living the life of luxury.

"They've lived in the house paddocks for the last four or five years just because they are pets and we don't want them to walk too far," said Scherer.

"It was only because she is getting to that age where we thought it was time to retire them."

She was hopeful Trace and Bear Blanche had a few years left in them

"They haven't been with the herd for a long time now so they don't have to compete so I just hope they live out their days happy," she said.

"I just can't explain how she [Trace] has been with us. She loves my kids. My kids go up to her and ever since she was a little one, you could always go up to her paddock and when she was in the milking herd, she was never a bother."

(Source: Waikato Times - Elton Smallman)