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  #1  
Old 07/06/06, 11:31 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 58
Brown Swiss

Hello All~

I found this site a couple of weeks ago while researching Brown Swiss. I've been reading lots of posts while waiting to be made an official member. This looks like a great community: active, friendly, lots of well reasoned opinions.

I would like to hear your pros/cons on the Brown Swiss.

Here is some background on my situation:

I want something rather docile. I've been around cattle, but not usually
seated at their feet.

Looking to try my hand at making cheese.

Have plenty of pasture.

Would use the extra milk on bottle calves/hogs.

My parents raise Gelbvieh cattle, so would have access to their bulls.

I think they are nice looking cows.

Thanks in advance for your input.
Erica.

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  #2  
Old 07/07/06, 12:08 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 4,477

Welcome! I only have experience with one Brown Swiss, and she was 1/2 charolais. She was a home milk cow that we had when I was growing up, and was an excellent cow. Very gentle, and gave plenty of milk for the family and a little to sell to a couple of friends.

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  #3  
Old 07/07/06, 02:30 AM
Up North's Avatar
KS dairy farmers
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: KS
Posts: 3,841

Welcome to the Forum Erica. Just watch out for that feller from Texas, He likes to talk folks into gettin' pigs, LOL.
On Brown Swiss:
Pros- Excellent cheese milk, easy on the eyes, strong enough legs for grazing & walking, docile to work with.
Cons- Stubborn! They walk( or not ) when they feel like it. They are too big too push, LOL. Calves can be -Let's just say DIFFICULT to get to drink from a bucket, and sometimes even a bottle.
So if you are a patient soul and plan to let the calf nurse until it is 800 lbs( just kidding you here) they will make LOTS of cheese milk fer Ya!!

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  #4  
Old 07/07/06, 08:06 AM
Dairy/Hog Farmer
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Catlett Creek Hog Farm Unit 1
Posts: 496

I agree that you can have trouble getting brown swiss calves started on the bottle or bucket.They are gentle,not too excitable.If you want a big cow, they will fit the bill.You will need more feed and hay but for what you have planned, it should do fine.Another good point of a cow her size would be less calving problems with the beef bull you might use and a steer from her would bring a good price...................

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  #5  
Old 07/07/06, 10:33 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 58

Milkinpigs: are your the fella from Texas that Up North was warning me about?? Actually, my folks had hogs when I was growing up. So I feel like I know more about hogs than the cattle they've had since I left the nest. (Mom outlawed pigs on the place about the time I left for college.) I'm taking care of my grandparent's place after their passing. They were hog/grain farmers. So I am in the process of sorting through their old equipment to put together a place for a couple of little shoats as grandpa would call them.

My plan right now would be to leave the calf on the momma rather than put it on a bottle. Do you think the Brown Swiss calves have a hard time getting started nursing on the cow too, or just a bottle/bucket?

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  #6  
Old 07/07/06, 02:14 PM
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KS dairy farmers
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: KS
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Hot Diggitty Dog Milkinpigs, Start Whippin' up the old Texas HOG FEVER!!
We got ourselves a natural born HogMomma here.
Brown Swiss calf in good health should do fine nursing. The whole bucket trainin' em is the challenge.

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  #7  
Old 07/07/06, 02:32 PM
Seeking Type
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: New York
Posts: 2,102

The trick to brown swiss is to not feed straight milk for the first few days. You feed them warm water, and some milk at first out of a bottle. You bottle feed them, and they can be trained to a bucket after a while, it requires patience.


I have talked to those who have brown swiss, and they take some patience, but they can be raised without a problem. Most that have problems I think apply the same routine as you do with the other breeds. You also start them on a bottle asap, don't let them nurse, it will get them used to the bottle.


Swiss don't have the problems other dairy breeds do. They have strong Feet and Legs, they don't require a ton of maintainence, they don't milk heavy at first, and they LAST. I would put a swiss over any other breed for longevity, anyday.



Jeff

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  #8  
Old 07/07/06, 02:47 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Missouri
Posts: 9,133
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffNY
The trick to brown swiss is to not feed straight milk for the first few days. You feed them warm water, and some milk at first out of a bottle.
Hi Jeff, whats the reasoning behind this??
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  #9  
Old 07/09/06, 09:42 AM
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KS dairy farmers
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: KS
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erica we's just funnin' with you about the hogs.....But please feel welcome to check in the Pig Section, share your knowledge, tell a joke or too & get a laugh from time to time!

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  #10  
Old 07/09/06, 09:56 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 4,473

We bought a brown swiss calf for meat a couple of months ago. We struggled with the bottle for several days and finally bought a calf tube. WE got home, he took the bottle great and we returned the tube...

He is so sweet and gentle... it might be hard to butcher him next year... his name is Briskit

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  #11  
Old 07/09/06, 10:57 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Up North
erica we's just funnin' with you about the hogs.....But please feel welcome to check in the Pig Section, share your knowledge, tell a joke or too & get a laugh from time to time!
Are you kidding? I was ROFL (I know you know what that accronym means now ) at your previous post.

I'm still here; just reading.

Erica.
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  #12  
Old 07/09/06, 11:08 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 58

Caroline: That is a big part of what I am looking for--sweet and gentle. I'll bet he is adorable. Please post a picture, if able.

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  #13  
Old 07/09/06, 11:36 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 4,473

the dairy that we got him from says that their cream is 25% and showed us paperwork. They are just about all Brown Swiss with a few Brown Swiss/Guernsey crosses.

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  #14  
Old 07/10/06, 02:45 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: North Central Idaho, Zone 5
Posts: 501

I had a BS many years ago, and she was like an oversized pet dog, really...would try to play with us! Very friendly cow, that one. Milk you couldn't beat anywhere. A cross with a Guernsey would be like Milk and Cream Heaven, for sure. I have a 3/4 Guernsey-Red Angus cross right now, expecting her fourth momentarily, with a bag bigger than any other pregnancy. Hoping she waits till morning on this one, with all that milk she's got!

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