July 28 2022 08:00 AM

For our big old cow, age is just a number.

At 8 years old and nearly 2,250 pounds, Trigger is easily one of our oldest and biggest cows on the farm. Her mother started a lineage here at the farm of larger calves with even bigger personalities, and in her nine years with us, she had seven heifers, including Trigger. Trigger grew at an accelerated rate with big bones, huge feet, and a larger-than-life personality. She’s always loved hugs and kisses and any attention every day.

About a week ago, we added a third water trough in our milk herd pen. It is a big, heavy plastic tub that can hold more than 100 gallons of water. The water trough has helped aid us in our fight against the heat throughout the hot summer. The first day we put the trough out, I was washing up the parlor when suddenly I heard, “KERSPLASH!” I looked out and sure enough, Trigger was standing in the middle of the trough ducking her head under the water and splashing around like a calf. My big old cow went from a mature, sophisticated, high-producing animal to just a calf in less than 30 seconds. I laughed as she splashed and played and enjoyed herself. I did, eventually, have to walk over and get her out, but the pure joy I saw in her face was priceless. As much as I hate cleaning the giant tub, I don’t mind it knowing my cow has enjoyed herself.

Trigger is 8 this year. She’s huge physically and personality-wise. She’s been my best friend for years, and I love watching her grow. To see her jump in the trough and play made my heart happy knowing that her size and age hasn’t made a difference to her personality quite yet. Trigger is the perfect example of the old adage “Age is just a number.” She’s older for us, but she acts like a young cow all the time. Just like Trigger, we should jump into a trough and enjoy life awhile. Age doesn’t make a difference, and life is all about getting your feet wet.

Courtney Henderson

The author is a sixth-generation farmer and fifth-generation dairy producer in southwest Virginia, where she and her family own and operate a 145-head Holstein dairy. Courtney is involved in agriculture organizations throughout her community and is a graduate of Virginia Tech.