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  #1  
Old 09/12/10, 10:07 PM
 
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Brown Swiss

Good Day All:

We are considering a Brown Swiss as a good dual purpose, handmilk for dairy and through a decent size beef calf every year.

For one cow our thought is to hand milk into a pail instead of getting the pump started use a milking machine and have to clean everything up again twice a day after milking.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Thanks

Mike

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  #2  
Old 09/13/10, 05:59 AM
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Many people prefer Brown Swiss. They are larger than a Jersey or Guernsey and so will take more forage and hay. As far as hand milking, it depends on how much milk the cow gives, if she is an easy milker and how good the designated milker is. A cow will stop giving down milk approx. seven-eight minutes after let-down, so if you have strong hands and are a fast milker, hand milking is easier and cheaper. If your cow gives three-four gallons a milking, then you might want to consider a milking machine.

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  #3  
Old 09/13/10, 06:25 AM
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I've not had enough experience with Swiss cows to give my opinion on using one as a dual purpose cow. However, the calves I've raised have been the hardest (in my opinion) of any dairy breed to thrive. They seemed to have no will to live if the slightest problem emerged.


Brown Swiss are beatiful cows. Just not too many of them around anymore in these parts. In fact, I'm not sure there's a Swiss dairy withing 250 miles of me.

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Old 09/13/10, 07:12 AM
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Setting up, starting and cleaning and machine and pump do not take that much effort and you won't use as much time as you would for hand milking. I can set up; milk; clean up in about 8 minutes. My cow gives 4 gallons a day.

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  #5  
Old 09/13/10, 01:27 PM
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As Callie has said, doesn`t take that long to clean a milker. If I had only one or two cows I would still use a milker, now I can hand milk pretty darn fast , but if your not use to it your hands are going to take some time getting use to milking. I had a lady that wanted to buy a cow, so one day when she came to get milk from me I washed one of my good ole cows that would be a good hand milk cow. Then I gave her a stool and bucket and said try milking, she promptly went to milking and after a few minutes she had enough. She looked at me and said, I think I will continue getting milk from you for now. >Thanks Marc Oh, by the way I love Brown Swiss, we have a jersey/swiss cross and she is the sweetiest, very calm, not excitable..

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Last edited by springvalley; 09/13/10 at 01:31 PM.
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  #6  
Old 09/13/10, 08:55 PM
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They are very calm docile breed from my experience but like francismilker said the calves are pretty dumb and dont have the will to live like other calves. They have been the hardest to train to use bucket out of all our calves.

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  #7  
Old 09/13/10, 09:24 PM
 
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Milking Machine

So can you detail the milking machine cleaning ritual and hints, tips suggestions etc?

I figured you would be 20 minutes just cleaning up the machine.

Is acid or detergent required?

Do you do anything special to clean up the udder? Iodine?

Thanks

Mike

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  #8  
Old 09/13/10, 09:38 PM
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We use an iodine wash for the cows and washing equipment we use a milker wash then either a cider rinse, or a bought acid rinse. You can buy this stuff at any farm store that carries dairy supplies. For one milker will only take a few minutes, now grated I have a dairy barn and milkhouse, with deep sinks, and hot and cold running water. does make a bit of dirrerance, but you can do alot in a sink in the basement. >Thanks Marc

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  #9  
Old 09/14/10, 06:45 AM
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I use a machine for one cow. Hand milking takes too long, plus my hands, wrists, arms couldn't take it. I tried for over a month, then got the machine.

It is a trade off. Hand milking is not as fussy. You need a stool, a bucket and your hands. With the machine, you have to set up, milk, clean, sanitize etc....

I much prefer the machine even with the extra work it involves. Which isn't that much in my opinion. My milk stays clean, the cow gets milked out better than by hand and I could add another cow if I wanted to and not worry about my arms falling off.

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  #10  
Old 09/14/10, 11:01 AM
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Wouldn't a Brown Swiss cow bred to a beef bull produce a calf more likely to thrive than a straight Swiss calf?

Lots of both Swiss and Holsteins around here, also Jerseys. I've always heard that Holstein calves were the hardest to raise. We're thinking about adding some just-weaned steer calves to the sheep flock next year. They'll probably be Holsteins from a neighbor with a good healthy herd. Paul used to have a feedlot years ago.

Peg

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  #11  
Old 09/14/10, 12:24 PM
 
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We got a 3/4 Brown Swiss (1/4 Jersey) from a dairy this summer (4 years old). (Freshened in June, but yield was lower than the dairy wanted as 1 quarter gives much less than the others.)

She had never been handmilked before. She took right to it and is gentler than the Jersey we have that has been handmilked for 4 years.

Being a cross, she isn't quite as big as a full B. Swiss, but she is taller than the Jersey and that makes her easier to milk.

The dairy was only getting 3 gal a day out of her. We consistently get 4+.

We handmilk two cows a day.

Of course she hasn't calved for us yet, so I don't know anything about Brown Swiss calves. We don't have access to a B. Swiss bull, so unless we AI her, we will probably breed her back to a Jersey or a Guernsey.

Good luck, but for my money (with my limited experience), I like the Brown Swiss.

Jim

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  #12  
Old 09/14/10, 01:20 PM
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Brown swiss cows are very slow to mature, I don't know if they would do well as a beef breed. Maybe a beef cross as some one suggested.

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  #13  
Old 09/14/10, 03:35 PM
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I bought some Swiss/MaineAnjou cross heifers a few years back. They were a little slower than normal dairy heifers to come into their first signs of heat but they bred well. They were a little slower to grow to mature weight but they ended up being GREAT cows! I still have a couple of them in my beef herd that I use an angus cross black bull on and they consistantly raise a large, fat calf every year and on time.

Of all of them I bought, I'd say at least 75% of them were docile enough with enough udder and teat to milk for a family cow if one wanted to. I never did because I had the ol' faithful jersey but would if need be in a second. I'd definetely think they could be used as a family cow.

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Old 09/14/10, 10:52 PM
 
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I personally wouldn't want to mess with a milker for just one cow. Especially if you don't have nice large deep sinks to wash it in.

I have a surge but never use it and I am milking 4 cows right now 2x a day. It takes me about an hour to milk and strain/put it away.

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  #15  
Old 09/14/10, 11:01 PM
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Matt, I milk 12 cows with one milker and wash it in an hour. But I sure wouldn`t bet I could beat you in a arm wrestling contest.>Thanks Marc

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  #16  
Old 09/15/10, 10:01 AM
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Okay, my process is just like BWF--since she taught me how to do it thinking 'small'.

I keep all the milking parts in a cupboard in the barn. It has doors that close tightly. I keep a towel in there for draining the stuff on and lots of extra cleaning rags.

I take a bucket of VERY hot water to the barn with me - about 2 1/2 gallons. hopefully, this winter I will get one of those in-the-bucket water heaters and can eliminate this step.

Pour a small part of the water into a contain and add a 1% iodine to the water - just enought to make it light brown. This is for washing the cow off. Add bleach and dishwashing soap to the rest of the water. Just a tad of the dish soap. This is for washing out the bucket/claw/hoses.

Next, I put the milker together - gasket on lid, lid on bucket, hoses attached, bucket valve in place. I then attach it all by hose to the vacuum line. (my pumps are in a different room and we hard lined across the barn to where I milk). I let the cow in the door. Using the water, I wash her but DO NOT return rag to bucket - leaving water clean (this is the hardest part for me since I am programed to toss the rag back). If it's a two rag day for cleaning, I get a different rag from the cupboard and use it - always a clean rag in the water. Then I milk her. Dip her in straight iodine (made for dipping).

After milking -turn off vacuum; remove lid ; dump the milk into a SS bucket. Rinse the milk bucket thoroughly with cold water and dump it. Replace lid and run cold water though the milk hose and out the claw until it's clear. Replace lid - suck bleach/soapy water though the claw, hoses and bucket. Duymp the bleach water. If it's soapy in there - I do a quick cold water rinse. Suck iodine water though - it doesn't take much. Dump. Sometimes I have to use cold water for this one if there isn't enough of the warm iodine water left. Remove claw and hoses from bucket and inspect for any exterior 'dirt'. Then, hang them in the cupboard. Remove the lid and take off the gasket and valve and put them in the bit of remaining bleach water. Take the lid and push it down into the water so the entire bottom of the lid gets soaked in the bleach water solution. Be careful not to get any water in the pulsator (mine's on top of my bucket). I turn the lid over and make sure there isn't any milk under it. If there is I use a clean rag and wash it. I also have a small brush handy also for anything that might still be on the claw or other parts. Sometimes when I squirt a bit of milk out of the cow to see how 'finished' she is, I get it on the claw. I hang the gasket, lid and valve in the cupboard. I turn the bucket upside down to drain inside the cupboard.

If anything else needs a quick wipe, I use the little bit of remaining wash water - it's good for the outside and bottom of the milk bucket.

Once a week I bring it all to the house and use my laundry room sink (yes, it's deep) to acid wash every thing. I break it all down as far as I possibly can and put all the parts except the bucket and pulsator totally under water. The water is as hot as I can get it. I take the pulsator apart and check it over thorougly. I soak and then scrub. A bucket of the acid water from the sink is used to clean the bucket inside andout. I also acid wash the bucket I use to tote the milk back and forth. I wash it with bleach daily and acid wash once a week.

Hope that helps.

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Last edited by Callieslamb; 09/15/10 at 01:57 PM. Reason: Carla called - I am leaving a step out!!!!
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  #17  
Old 09/15/10, 02:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springvalley View Post
Matt, I milk 12 cows with one milker and wash it in an hour. But I sure wouldn`t bet I could beat you in a arm wrestling contest.>Thanks Marc
Marc - I, Rachel (Matt's wife) actually posted this and does the milking.

I'm not denying that a milker is faster but clean-up can be a real pain if you don't have a good place to wash it.

And nothing against you personally Callieslamb but I would not want to drink milk that was collected in a bucket that was stored in a barn all week (latching cupboard or not) and only washed thoroughly once a week. I know many people do it that way and I'm no germaphobe but I don't think it's very sanitary.

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Old 09/15/10, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by matt_man View Post
Marc - I, Rachel (Matt's wife) actually posted this and does the milking.

I'm not denying that a milker is faster but clean-up can be a real pain if you don't have a good place to wash it.

And nothing against you personally Callieslamb but I would not want to drink milk that was collected in a bucket that was stored in a barn all week (latching cupboard or not) and only washed thoroughly once a week. I know many people do it that way and I'm no germaphobe but I don't think it's very sanitary.
Rachel
Rachel, on the contrary, without sound ornery; sounds to me like she is doing a pretty good sanitation job by using bleach and soapy water through the claws, hoses, and bucket and then rinsing with cold water.
I'd bet it to be significantly more sanitary than a 250lb fellow with a beer gut hanging out of his shirt leaning over a SS vat at a cheese plant to cut the curds! Which I'm sure is far less significant that most of the restaurants we eat at. I realize milk is a very regulated product (if not the most regulated) but at some point, we have to realize almost any type of cleaning we do at home is better than getting one stray wisker in the big tank at the milk plant.

I'd dare to say the iodine, bleach, and soapy water kill more germs than are left in the hand-milking bucket from one stray udder hair that falls in while we milk. After all, even if we thoroughly wash the udder, they are still creatures with hair and that hair has had poop on it at one time or another.

Personally, none of it bothers me because I just don't think about it too much. I grew up eating things that might make a modern day billy goat puke! lol.....(due to poverty)

I use the same regimen as Callieslamb and haven't gotten anyone sick yet.

Once again, not trying to be argumenative, just throwing in my two cents......
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  #19  
Old 09/15/10, 04:06 PM
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I clean and sanitize my milking equipment in my barn. I keep it in a closed cupboard to drain and dry between milkings. I bring it all in the house once a week for an acid wash treatment. One of my milkshare families told me they'd just opened a jar of my milk that was almost a month old and it was still good to use. I was happy they shared that with me. I get over two weeks in the fridge at home and the milk still tastes fresh and sweet.

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Old 09/15/10, 05:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by francismilker View Post
Rachel, on the contrary, without sound ornery; sounds to me like she is doing a pretty good sanitation job by using bleach and soapy water through the claws, hoses, and bucket and then rinsing with cold water.
I'd bet it to be significantly more sanitary than a 250lb fellow with a beer gut hanging out of his shirt leaning over a SS vat at a cheese plant to cut the curds! Which I'm sure is far less significant that most of the restaurants we eat at. I realize milk is a very regulated product (if not the most regulated) but at some point, we have to realize almost any type of cleaning we do at home is better than getting one stray wisker in the big tank at the milk plant.

I'd dare to say the iodine, bleach, and soapy water kill more germs than are left in the hand-milking bucket from one stray udder hair that falls in while we milk. After all, even if we thoroughly wash the udder, they are still creatures with hair and that hair has had poop on it at one time or another.

Personally, none of it bothers me because I just don't think about it too much. I grew up eating things that might make a modern day billy goat puke! lol.....(due to poverty)

I use the same regimen as Callieslamb and haven't gotten anyone sick yet.

Once again, not trying to be argumenative, just throwing in my two cents......
I wasn't trying to be argumentative. I guess I can't wrap my mind around how running soapy bleach water through it makes it clean. I wasn't trying to imply that it would make anyone sick either. I guess it's just my own personal preference to wash everything, every day, each time I use it even if I was using a milker. I would never just bring my hand milking pails in and rinse them and swirl a little bleach water in them and call them clean.
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  #21  
Old 09/15/10, 05:25 PM
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I`m sorry Rachel, I may take you on in a arm wrestling contest then. Everyone sounds like they are doing a great job of washing their milkers. I have a milk house on my barn where we keep our milkers and the bulk milk tank. I don`t keep my milkers in a cupboard, just on a wire rack in the milk house. Milking with a milker is much more sanitary than hand milking, I have seen some nasty looking stuff from hand milkers. Callie, you could milk my cows anyday. >Thanks Marc

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Old 09/15/10, 09:44 PM
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Back to the OP..........I'd like to try out a Brown Swiss in the nurse cow herd to see how she measured up. They are beautiful cows!

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Old 09/15/10, 10:10 PM
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Thanks guys, I am sure no argument was meant. I think it would kind of depend on the barn. Marc's milk rooms is sure to be really clean. I am not blessed with that kind of a room. I use my cleaning routine every milking - not every week. The acid wash removes milkstone - that's a weekly thing. I don't see why you couldn't acid wash daily if you wanted. Not sure it removes all the germs. i am going to do a test of my milk - like Carla mentioned. I am going to leave a jar in the fridge for a week and taste it to see if it's still good. That's a pretty good test. No..I will not leave it for a month! I am used to drinking fresh milk - 2 days old tops....

I envy Marc's hot water availability. If I had 12 cows to milk, I'd find a way to get hot out there! I am not sure what else I could do to get the equipment more clean! If you have hints - let's start another thread for that! I'm all ears.

I just looked at some Brown Swiss at a county fair this past week end. They are beautiful cows. Just not as beautiful as a jerseys! The ones we saw are much bigger than jerseys. Lots of color variation also. My dad liked them - he had 2 in his herd - Susie and Donna. Big, calm, no-trouble cows. I wonder what their butterfat and protein look like compared to jerseys?

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Old 09/15/10, 11:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linn View Post
Many people prefer Brown Swiss. They are larger than a Jersey or Guernsey and so will take more forage and hay. As far as hand milking, it depends on how much milk the cow gives, if she is an easy milker and how good the designated milker is. A cow will stop giving down milk approx. seven-eight minutes after let-down, so if you have strong hands and are a fast milker, hand milking is easier and cheaper. If your cow gives three-four gallons a milking, then you might want to consider a milking machine.

I really like what Linn said. I am quite fond of Brown Swiss cows. I have a bred heifer Brown Swiss and a 1/2 Brown Swiss x 1/2 Holstein cow. I can truly understand why some people choose smaller breeds. Whatever best fits your homestead. I just want a good milk cow that has a great disposition, milks easily, breeds back easily, no health problems. To me that is more important than the individual breed.

I milk with a surge belly milker. It takes me at least 20 minutes to milk- to set up, milk, clean up. My cows are on the milker for approx. 5 minutes. It varies from cow to cow. checking the udder is more important than the timing.

I wanted to show you some pictures of my milk cows, but I am on dial-up and keep getting a page error/time-out when I try to transfer them. I have a picture already on photobucket-



This calf was born last year. She is one day old in picture, mom (BS x Holstein) was AI to Brown Swiss bull. That same cow calved again just a few short weeks ago and the heifer calf looks almost identical except don't have the 2 white socks. (Same bull .)

I wish the OP great luck, and everyone else with their darlings!
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Old 09/16/10, 05:57 AM
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My Jersey is bred to a Brown Swiss bull named Cartoon and due to calve in March. I hope I get a heifer calf!

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  #26  
Old 09/18/10, 06:29 AM
 
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Thanks for the advice

Thanks everyone for your input. Really good ideas.

There is an auction this morning with two surge milkers. How much would you pay for a used surge milker at auction?

How big of a vacuum pump is required?

Thanks

Mike

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Old 09/18/10, 08:00 AM
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Mike, my Surge belly milker works off of one of those small portable electric vacuum pumps. Works great and is easy to move.

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Old 09/18/10, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
I guess I can't wrap my mind around how running soapy bleach water through it makes it clean.
Same way a pipeline cleans.
We use 2 buckets of hot water one has detergent one has acid rinse.
After we dump our milk we suck out the detergent water dipping the claw in and out of the bucket. This lets the water pulse providing a scrubbing action same as the air injector on a pipeline. We dump that then do the same with the acid rinse.


We run a delaval bucket off a 3 HP pump. We could run 4 or so.
I paid 160 for the complete bucket..hoses, lid, single shot pulsator (which I didn't need).
Sold my old bucket with the pulsator on the lid for 150.
Surge buckets that have been sitting around might be worth 60 or so. You can usually run a bucket on a small vac pump as long as you can get 3-5 cfm at around 13-15 inches of vacuum.
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Old 09/18/10, 11:38 PM
 
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I was just looking at Brown Swiss yesterday at our fair. They are big cows. As Linn said, they would eat alot. And probably not the best for beef, as designed more for milk.

I would think a Jersey would be more milk for the feed, and if bred to a beef bull, would give a decent beef calf. Or my preference would be a Jersey/beef cross cow to milk. Could still get gallons of milk a day. And bred to a beef bull, would be a 3/4 beef calf.

How much milk do you need?

If you just happen to love Brown Swiss, then others' opinion doesn't really matter and you just ought to get one.

We had a Swiss as a milk cow in the 70's when I was a teenager. A rancher gave her to us as payment. He had her out on the range. I don't recall her being near as big as what I saw at the fair, and can't imagine those big tall cows surviving out on the range. Maybe they've changed over the years, and are now less dual purpose.

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Old 09/19/10, 04:25 PM
 
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One of my very first bottle calves was a Brown Swiss. Gorgeous, well mannered, he was out of their biggest cow, 1600 pounds! I had to sell him, couldn't wrap around eating him. Had to raise several before I could take one to the locker.

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