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Old 05/20/08, 07:40 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Ohio
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Jersey cow - milk production

I have a question about how much milk to expect from a Jersey cow, but first I need to give a little background so you can see where we're coming from. ~smile.

We bought what we were told was a Jersey heifer about a week and a half ago that was to have her baby just any day. She was down 4 days later and we couldn't get her up. We called the vet who gave her some calcium (IV) and a shot for bloat. Two days later she calved and her calf was born with an umbilical hernia that continued to get larger until her small intestines were all on the ground. The vet came and stitched her up and we were giving her penicillian. On this visit, we mentioned where we had gotten her and he said that he knew the lady and had, in fact, testified against her in court for selling someone some calves that died on the way home. Oh, and by the way, our heifer was 4 years old, not 2.

After she calved, we saw just in what bad condition she was in, terribly thin and weak. We continued to have problems with her not wanting to get up and worked and worked and was able to get her up about once a day. We have been feeding her alfalfa hay and oats and she eats a lot. She also had diarrhea.

Her calf died two days after birth but the cow is doing better now. She's up and we're milking twice a day. This evening was the first time we have kept the milk for ourselves. We only got about 1 pint.

Now to my question, can we expect to get more milk as the cow gets healthier? We are probably planning to let her out of the barn on Thursday (we've kept her in the barn for fear that she would get down somewhere in the field and we couldn't get her up) so that she can have good grass which I know will help her health.

Are we stuck with 1 pint per milking, or will it increase?

This is actually our 13 year old daughter's cow, the first we've ever had and this has been a very exhausting experience.

Thanks so much,
Tonya in OH

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Old 05/20/08, 08:00 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Tonya, I am really sorry to hear about your cow trouble. It is bad enough to have something like that happen if you have several cows, but to have it happen with your first cow is discouraging, I know.
If your cow continues to improve in health, then her production should continue to improve. It may take a while until she gets completely well again.
What kind of hay are you feeding her? Good alfalfa makes more milk than grass hay, and grass should improve her yield also.
You have probably seen that there has already been a disagreement as to how much milk to expect from a Jersey. I would say that it depends on the cow's condition, genetics and how and what she is fed.
Do you have any legal recourse against this woman? It sounds like your cow may have been sick when she sold her to you.

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Old 05/20/08, 08:37 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: MO
Posts: 914

Sorry to hear that this has happened, it must be very heartbreaking for your daughter to watch her cow suffer.

The longer she only gives you only a pint of milk, the more unlikely it will be that you will see a significant increase in her production. You'll need to try your best to get her into good condition and milk her out completely each time. She may just be holding up or she may not have much milk to give because of her condition. Keep massaging, milking, and stripping her out until all you get is drops.

If the cow is in that bad of condition and scouring, I would check into getting her tested for Johnnes. If she does test positive, I would demand for her to take the cow back and get your money back. It is possible she has a bit of scours from the change in feed from what she is used to but I would get it checked out anyway.

I personally would probably dry her off, get her in good health, and then get her bred again. If you are not too attached to her, I would even consider cutting your losses, get rid of her and get a different cow.

Rachel

Edited to add:

What is her bag like? Is it full and firm, or empty and flabby when you are done milking?

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Last edited by matt_man; 05/20/08 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 05/20/08, 08:56 PM
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I agree with Rachael. Dry her up, get her in good condition and breed her back.

Get her checked for Johnnes, the blood test is more accurate but takes a bit longer for results. Until you know for sure, confine her. Johnnes spreads through the manure.

If she does test positive for Johnnes, you will have to keep any lactating animals off the areas where she was for at least a year.

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Old 05/21/08, 07:35 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 22

Thanks so much for all of your information!

The scours have cleared up and our vet said she didn't have Johnnes, but it was the change in grass with the move that caused her problems.

We're feeding alfalfa hay, some oats, and tomorrow we'll try her for a short time on grass. She gave a bit more milk this morning, so maybe we're on the upward path.

I told my daughter with all of the problems we've faced with our first cow and calf, we can hopefully expect things to go up from here ~smile.

I don't think we want to sell her off at this point - the bonding has taken place and we're determined to get her into good health and probably keep her if it all works out.

The goats are coming Friday so we should be in good order for milk before too long.

Warmly,
Tonya in OH

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Old 05/21/08, 08:29 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Barker NY
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just wondering did your vet say she does not have Johns by looking at her or did he test her?

liz
I to am sory that this has bee that way- i sure have learned you really get waht you pay for in cows. My first cow was told was 3- her first calf, she calved okay nice calf, Milked fine till she stepped on both back teats, then when i sent her to butcher found out she was over 6- was bron on the farm I got her from- hummm honest...

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Old 05/21/08, 08:54 PM
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So discouraging. We had a very rough go at the beginning with our first cow but a few months later, I wouldn't trade her for anything. A few months ago, I would have given her away.

Hang in there and I hope that this one works out for you.

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