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  #1  
Old 12/12/10, 11:15 AM
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Lifespan of a Jersey cow?

I'm wondering how long a Jersey cow generally lives and produces? This is a family cow. She's milking 3 gallon a day right now, freshened in June. Said she peaks at 4 gallons a day. She has one quarter that doesn't make much as it had mastitis before. She's a full blood jersey and will be bred to a Guernsey before sold, but it won't be confirmed. I do have an angus bull I can breed her to if that one doesn't take. She is 6 yrs old. They are asking $700 for her.

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Old 12/12/10, 01:42 PM
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I would ask how many calves she's had. If she's six, this should be her third or fourth lactation. She is six months into her current lactation and apparently hasn't been bred back yet (?) -- I'd try to find out why, in a nice way. If she's a family cow, perhaps they're just not pushing her, which is fine. OTOH, if she has problems settling, you need to know that. So I'd ask how many calves she's had, and how many breedings it took to settle her with each calf.

Buying an open cow always is a bit riskier than one that is already confirmed pregnant!

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Old 12/12/10, 01:47 PM
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Yea, I wish she were bred to. He said she has had 4 calves. I didn't get specifics with why they were late but he did say the cow was in heat the 1st of this month and they didn't get the bull over there until like the 5th so missed this one. So I think they just didn't have a bull with it but I can ask.

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Old 12/12/10, 01:47 PM
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How much productive life can be expected from a cow that age on average?

She is very gentle, I know their kids milk her.

What about Johnnes? Is this something that's probably not a problem with her age? I forgot to ask about that. How hard it is to test? I would need to be careful as I have valuable dairy goats. Part of why I would like to have her is to feed my kids the milk and save myself more goat milk as I sell it and we never seem to have enough since I feed a lot to the kids.


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  #5  
Old 12/12/10, 02:38 PM
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Well cows are just like everything else, some live longer than others. I have a cow that is 11 and is a sweetheart, she steels every calf born. I have known guys that have had cows 15, 16, 17, years old. If you treat them well and feed them well and they have it in their genes, they can live a long time. More than likely they will give less milk as they get older, but maybe not either. But it`s a crap shoot, you never know how long they will be with you. Johnnes can be tested for, unless your cow came from a huge dairy,, I wouldn`t worry to much. > Thanks Marc

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  #6  
Old 12/12/10, 06:47 PM
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I have a cow that calved in June - she isn't bred yet either. we tried once with sexed semen - didn't work. Missed to heats -I'm the small guy and have to work with what the AI guy is willing to give. She was just bred last week again, but I don't think it worked. We tried the shots. She is open not because she can't be bred, but because we can't catch her in heat easily. Now I am going to wait a couple of months and maybe have a dry cow in the winter!

I count on keeping a cow to 1o years old. As they age, they can have problems getting around and keeping condition on them - my climate isn't good for either of those things.

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Old 12/12/10, 07:03 PM
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I found out why she wasn't bred. This cow is right by my grandparents' house, and they have an Angus bull. Apparently the gurnsey bull really hated him and jumped the fence to fight him so they couldn't leave him there. They have him up in the garden area now where he can't see the other bull and he's doing alright now.

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Old 12/13/10, 07:43 AM
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OK, she's had four calves (good). What's their reason for selling her?

On a commercial dairy, she'd be an older cow, but as a family cow, I'd think she could go a couple more lactations easily. With any luck, she'd give you a heifer calf to replace her in a few years! Gentle and easy to milk is a definite plus.

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Johnnes can be tested for, unless your cow came from a huge dairy,, I wouldn`t worry to much.
My first cow, a Jersey, came from a 14-cow Amish herd and I lost her a year and a half later to Johne's.

There are a variety of ways to test for Johne's, including blood, milk and fecal tests. I'd recommend spending the bit of extra money to have her tested.
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  #9  
Old 12/13/10, 08:27 AM
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Hey Willowgirl, how old are your girls you have, I know they are no longer milking, just wondering? > Thanks Marc

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Old 12/13/10, 08:43 AM
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Bitey (left) was a fifth-lactation cow when I bought her in the fall of 2005, which would make her about 12 now.

Twister (middle) is 13. She has had 5 calves, the last in 2005.

Christine (right) will be 9 in February. She's had 3 calves, the last in the spring of 2007. She's been with me since she was a first-calf heifer in the spring of '04.

Photo was taken last spring.

Lillian, the baby (not in the pic) will be 4 in March but has never been bred. She is Christine's daughter, but is half Angus ... she looks like a Holstein-sized beef cow!
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  #11  
Old 12/13/10, 08:52 AM
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My old girl "Pear" that is 11 is still milking, and doing quite well is just an old honey. She is like the Energizer bunny, just keeps on going. When ever any cow has a calf here, you know it. That cow doesn`t come to the barn that day and neither does Pear, she trys to steal every calf born, she just loves calves. I`m tempted to put four calves on her to see if she can raise them all. > Marc

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  #12  
Old 12/13/10, 09:16 AM
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LOL! My Bitey is like that, which is one reason I don't breed my girls anymore. I could never take one of "her" calves away from her.

We had a cow go 11 lactations on the dairy where I work ... while testing, I saw a Brown Swiss that made 13.

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Old 12/13/10, 10:33 AM
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Really appreciate the help and info. Where is the recommended place for the Johne's testing? I want to do it since I have goats. What is the most accurate method? Is this something that gives false negatives often? I really know very little about this disease, just that it gives them diarrhea, wasting and then death.

He is selling her because he doesn't have a place to keep her. He doesn't have the cow at his place. He had an arrangement with this guy that lives by my grandparent's., They kept and milked the cow and split the cost of feed with him. In exchange he got some of the milk for him and his boys. I think it's so nice, a single father caring about fresh milk for his kids like that, and they make cheese and yogurt and all. Anyway, that neighbor that keeps the cow is moving and the owner, while has land, doesn't have fencing etc. Also he needs some tires. So he's going to get another cow later to keep on his own place.

They've had her a few years and been happy with her and her milk.

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  #14  
Old 12/13/10, 11:56 AM
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My mil bought a nurse cow that was a jersey. She was 3 when they bought her - bred her every other year, and butchered her when she was 14.

Me personally, if a cow has given that much to me (milk & babies) she would retire with me. I know, not possible all the time, but by then they are family.

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Old 12/13/10, 02:00 PM
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My oldest girl, Crusty is 16, on her 13 lactation. SHe is bred back for april if she makes it to 14 lactations she will tie the record holder of Minnie she milked 14 lactations and was retired, she died at 19. I don't think we will ever retire a cow again, it is just as bad to put them on a truck as it is to watch them struggle and get beat up and have to be put down. Crusty has 5 daughters two of which are over 10 and she has outlived a sixth. Well over 200,000 lifetime. She takes a little more "crap" from the other cows now but still holds her own in a herd of 70.

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Old 12/13/10, 07:32 PM
 
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I've spoken to James about this cow also and he has emailed me pictures. She appears to be a decent looking cow I just don't like the horns. They have had her since she was a first lactation heifer. Personally the bull isn't all that impressive - he sent me pictures of him also but maybe it was just a bad angle. He looks too feminine.

We have had a jersey cow that was 14 years old and calved every year. We sold her after she calved last time, that was 15 months ago so I don't know if she is still producing or not. Our Heart is going to be 9 in June and she has had 7 calves and is due to calve again in August.

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  #17  
Old 12/13/10, 09:27 PM
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I'll agree on the bull. I looked at them when we drove by and wondered if the bull was old enough to breed, kinda scraggly lol. But I think the cow herself is beautiful at least what I've seen of her. I've not see her up close. My friend who has a jersey bull did say I could use him if I wanted. But not sure if I could coordinate it- don't really know if I want to handle one after all I've heard of Jersey bulls?

Is there anyway for me to tell her age? We are planning to look at her tomorrow at milking time. I've been told she's "about six" but my grandma told me grandpa thought she was older (he passed away in Oct). If he thought she was older, I'd definitely question the age.

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  #18  
Old 12/13/10, 09:43 PM
 
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You may not be able to tell her exact age but you could try to get a look at her teeth and see how they are. If her teeth are good, she may give you many years yet.

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  #19  
Old 12/14/10, 11:54 AM
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He is selling her because he doesn't have a place to keep her. He doesn't have the cow at his place. He had an arrangement with this guy that lives by my grandparent's., They kept and milked the cow and split the cost of feed with him. In exchange he got some of the milk for him and his boys. I think it's so nice, a single father caring about fresh milk for his kids like that, and they make cheese and yogurt and all. Anyway, that neighbor that keeps the cow is moving and the owner, while has land, doesn't have fencing etc. Also he needs some tires. So he's going to get another cow later to keep on his own place.

They've had her a few years and been happy with her and her milk.
Sounds like a good deal. See if you can go around at milking time and try her out. Look her over, make sure she isn't lame, no sores on udder, bright eyes, warm ears. Don't be surprised if she's a little timid around you; even my girls are wary of strangers (unless they come bearing food, LOL).

Get the vet to test for TB, Bang's and Johne's.

If no red flags pop up, I'd say she's a good deal.
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Old 12/14/10, 01:36 PM
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If the vet comes out to test her, have him check the udder, he will know much more if she has had promlems. > Marc

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  #21  
Old 12/14/10, 06:27 PM
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Alright, we just got back from seeing her.

She looks in good condition, was fine to be milked. I milked her and she milks easy. She didn't bat an eye at me milking, and I milk a lot different than the usual milker did(read slower..., I'm just used to goats and they don't take as much strength).

She seemed a bit soft in the pasterns to me and standing a little camped under I thought. But seemed happy, bright eyed and all that. I wonder if the pasterns would be stronger with a better mineral. She is only getting one of those red mineral blocks, so chock full of iron. Knowing our area she has to be copper deficient. She also gets no alfalfa, which for me with goats is like a mortal sin, I would think with cattle they would need that calcium rich forage too?

She is eating 12 lbs of grain a day, does that seem right? If I scale it to goat production, I would be feeding her 6 lbs of grain a day- plus alfalfa pellets though.

I don't have a head gate, but they said she does fine if you just tie her up which is what we would have to do for now.

Her udder seems a bit floppy to me, but not horrible. Her udder floor was two or three inches above her hocks after milking, I didn't pay attention prior to milking

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  #22  
Old 12/14/10, 08:09 PM
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I have a friend that has a Jersey cow that is 28 years old and just calved about 18 months ago to a bull calf (it was not by their choice, the cow got in with the neighbors bull without their knowledge and they found out when she started to bag up). I am not sure about her calving history but I believe she has calved every year or every other year until she was 20 years old. When she got bred to there neighbors bull they did not even realize she could still cycle! I would never have believed that Jersey's could live that long but my friends family has owned the cow since she was 2 1/2 years old.

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  #23  
Old 12/14/10, 11:39 PM
 
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Here's a Jersey said to be 37 years old! ck
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Old 12/15/10, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by southerngurl View Post
Alright, we just got back from seeing her.

She looks in good condition, was fine to be milked. I milked her and she milks easy. She didn't bat an eye at me milking, and I milk a lot different than the usual milker did(read slower..., I'm just used to goats and they don't take as much strength).

She seemed a bit soft in the pasterns to me and standing a little camped under I thought. But seemed happy, bright eyed and all that. I wonder if the pasterns would be stronger with a better mineral. She is only getting one of those red mineral blocks, so chock full of iron. Knowing our area she has to be copper deficient. She also gets no alfalfa, which for me with goats is like a mortal sin, I would think with cattle they would need that calcium rich forage too?

She is eating 12 lbs of grain a day, does that seem right? If I scale it to goat production, I would be feeding her 6 lbs of grain a day- plus alfalfa pellets though.

I don't have a head gate, but they said she does fine if you just tie her up which is what we would have to do for now.

Her udder seems a bit floppy to me, but not horrible. Her udder floor was two or three inches above her hocks after milking, I didn't pay attention prior to milking
Sounds good to me! I wouldn't worry too much about her pasterns. She's not going to be standing around on a concrete floor all day, right? And even noticeably lame cows will heal up on dirt (two of my girls were lame when I bought them).

12 pounds of grain sounds OK; I used to give my Dawnna (Jersey) about half of a 5-gallon bucket while I milked her. She's getting hay, too, right?
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Old 12/15/10, 11:32 AM
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Yep, she's getting hay.

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Old 12/15/10, 12:35 PM
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Any reason I couldn't move her to once a day milking or would that + a move cause a lot of drop in milk production? I know she will drop some.

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Old 12/15/10, 01:53 PM
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I would think that would cause a pretty big drop, although it probably wouldn't hurt her this late in her lactation. What about putting a calf on her?

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Old 12/15/10, 02:29 PM
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That's one thing I didn't ask about, if she will take other calves. But I don't think they have tried since they've had her really.

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Old 12/15/10, 06:57 PM
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Looks like we're getting a cow Friday. Hope this goes well ha!

We'll be keeping her in the round pen until her testing comes back. Her purchase is conditional on it coming back negative.

He said they've never tried putting another calf on her, we'll see on that. He did say his daughter would milk her when we are out of town so we have that to fall back on if she won't take calves.

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Old 12/15/10, 11:16 PM
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Congrats! Keep us posted. I'm betting she'll work out just fine.

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