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.
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.
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!!
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...................
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?
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.
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.
"Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death" Patrick Henry, March 23rd, 1775
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
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!