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  #1  
Old 09/17/05, 07:58 AM
 
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What breed is a good dual purpose cow?

We are thinking of getting a milk cow but are very new to this. I want to be able to eat or sell the calves, so I think a jersey would be out? I am picking up some books this week from the library but my 16 yo daughter wanted me to ask this now.

Thanks!

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  #2  
Old 09/17/05, 08:39 AM
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Along with Jerseys,we have had milking shorthorn cows for years and love the shorthorns as dual purpose cows. They are usually gentle and give plenty of milk. They also produce a good calf, especially if bred to an angus. Someone had a dairy shorthorn and calf for sale in the Barter forum.

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  #3  
Old 09/17/05, 08:40 AM
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We've eaten all kinds of beef, dh and I both think Jersey is the best. Tender, sweet and moist. There's an old prejudice against Jersey beef because it has yellow fat but that's just because of how it looks. Who cares if it doesn't look like feedlot beef - it's delicious.
Jersey milk is the best too IMHO.

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  #4  
Old 09/17/05, 02:20 PM
 
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You can eat any type of cow , the main difference will be meat to bone ratio and the amount of fat. I have a black baldy which is a cross between a holestein and a herford. She was giving 6 gallons a day , produced a nice meaty calf too! Now she has adopted 3 calves to nurse.


Good Luck , Patty

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  #5  
Old 09/18/05, 01:03 PM
 
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Your dairy beef crosses are excellent choices. You breed them to a Beef breed and the calf is then 3/4 beef and will do well for at butcher time.

If you do not have alot of acreage or feed sources the Irish Dexter cattle are wonderful.

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  #6  
Old 09/19/05, 01:45 AM
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A dual purpose animal, that doesn't give tooo much milk and could also throw something beefy. I would have to say a black baldy would do just that. They give enough milk to feed a family each day, they can throw beefy calves if you breed to something beefy. Or throw something with more dairy, if it is bred to something dairy. You will have less problems with a beef cross, and actually people are finding less problems as a whole with crossbred animals. Actually organic dairys are crossbreeding so they dont have as many problems, due to the restrictions involved in organic. Id go with a cross, as a dual purpose and a baldy would be the ideal approach.



Jeff

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  #7  
Old 09/19/05, 10:43 AM
 
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Any breed of cow will work out if she is gentle, and gives a good flow of milk. It would also be great if you didn't have to strain yourself squeezing the milk out of her teats. The important thing is to breed her to a good beef bull. You'll get a great calf every time. Black is a predominate color in cattle. Breeding to an angus most often will give you a black calf that looks like beef on feet.

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  #8  
Old 09/19/05, 11:41 AM
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It would seem the traits intrinsic to the best dual-purpose cow are more a matter of the needs of an individual than the breed of cow itself.

For a person needing a quart or two of milk a day and a very high quality beef come butcher time, any of the so called British breeds would be ideal.

A great many, perhaps most, of the European breeds were in their original forms triple purpose cattle: beef, milk, and draft.

If a crofter requires a great deal of milk for cheese making a Holstein might be perfect; given that the steers of this breed make excellent beef with a good carcass.

If one is more interested in butter making included into their cheese making activities, the Jersey is a good choice and the beef, while not the best carcass quality, is tasty as any beef.

It comes down to whatever the crofter wants the most of or best of: milk, butterfat, or beef. Even among cows of a given breed there are degrees of difference cow to cow.

When one chooses a cow, a breed of cattle, or a cross of breeds they should settle on one that suits them and only them as they are the one to care for the critter of some time into the future.

As for me, I like a medium sized breed, one that doesn’t eat too awfully much. They need to have an even temperament; not too hateful or too rammy. I like high quality milk, plenty of it, and with high butterfat content. The cow has to be a good color. To me beef is beef, grass fed or corn fatted it is still just beef, if I need a bigger or smaller cut of beef I prepare more or I prepare less, all steaks are of a different size anyway, even from the same critter.

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  #9  
Old 09/21/05, 01:28 PM
 
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Brown Swiss...make a great gentle family cow but also,bred to a beef type bull,have outstanding calves for raising for the freezer. We had them for years, bred to black or red Angus every time and had sturdy fast growing calfs. We never pushed our ladies for production but got 4=-5 gals. milk a day. Generally we had a calf on them and only milked once a day and let the calf do the rest of the work. DEE

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  #10  
Old 09/22/05, 01:16 AM
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Go with any milk cow you want and breed to a beef bull. You'll get the production, ease of milking, and lactation persistence of a true dairy cow, and your calves will be nice and beefy, relative to a pure dairy calf. Plus, if you have a hard time butchering girls, as I do, you can pretty easily sell a 50/50 dairy/beef cross as a house milk cow.

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  #11  
Old 09/22/05, 06:47 AM
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My choice..

would be Dexters. After aquiring some this last winter...the amount of milk they have and the beefy nature of them..definitely Dexter.

They are touted to be dual purpose..look them up..they take less food and space too. Good luck on your choice!

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  #12  
Old 09/22/05, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paula
We've eaten all kinds of beef, dh and I both think Jersey is the best. Tender, sweet and moist. There's an old prejudice against Jersey beef because it has yellow fat but that's just because of how it looks. Who cares if it doesn't look like feedlot beef - it's delicious.
Jersey milk is the best too IMHO.
ditto our vet even recomende jersey bull meat(maybe just didnt want to deal with him any more lol) but he was right. jerseys also make more milk per feed given and are goat like in the way they will eat and thrive on scrub(they were and island breed)
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  #13  
Old 09/22/05, 06:27 PM
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I do love my Dexters for their docility, small size, hardiness and tasty beef. I've never milked my cow because she lives 90 minutes away, but she does have a nice udder, and holds a long lactation when being nursed.

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  #14  
Old 09/23/05, 04:22 PM
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I would worry more about what breeds were available locally and also the confirmation of the animal (snug udder, depth of heel, proper set to hind legs, openness of ribs, no high pins) than the breed. How you plan to feed the cow will also make a difference as to what breed you choose.

I'd rather milk a calm Hereford cow with a nice tight udder than a sway-backed Jersey with shallow heels.

You also have to consider how much milk you want and what you plan to do with it, what uses you might have for excess milk, and how you plan to feed the cow and also the resulting calves. Most every breed will have strong points and weak points.

I milk Holsteins, but I'd say an excellent dual purpose cow is the Shorthorn, either the Milking Shorthorn or the beef Shorthorn. You don't have to breed a Shorthorn to an Angus to get a good beef steer. A Shorthorn steer is plenty good. Shorthorns are good grazers, efficient feed-to-milk converters and have tremendous longevity. They have a gentle disposition as well. If I didn't milk Holsteins, I would choose to have Milking Shorthorns as my dairy breed.

You won't find a breed that gives more milk than Holsteins, and they are plentiful. Even a purebred Holstein steer can be corn-finished and produce tremendous beef, but he'll finish at a heavier weight.

Brown Swiss is another dairy breed with large frame and higher production. Swiss cows produce milk that is ideal for cheese production because of the protein to solids ratio in the milk. They have excellent heat tolerance, so do well in Southern areas. There is a high demand for Swiss heifers for export, so you might find them higher-priced.

You might not want such a large quantity of milk, though, so a Jersey might be better. Jersey has good feed-to-milk conversion, is smaller, and generally has milk with higher butterfat. A Jersey steer is not a fast gainer, however. (That's putting it mildly.) I also don't think the Jersey is the best breed for grazing.

I'll leave the Dexter discussion to others. One other thing: a black baldy is an Angus x Hereford cross

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  #15  
Old 09/24/05, 01:00 PM
 
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cowboy,

which DO you consider the best for grazing? shorthorns?

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  #16  
Old 09/24/05, 04:17 PM
 
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I know you addressed this to Cowboy but Herefords, the smaller framed ones, are very efficiant browsers.

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  #17  
Old 09/24/05, 04:38 PM
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I agree with RDoubleD, you won't find a rangier (meaning do well on marginal grazing land) than a Hereford cow. We milked a few Herefords long, long ago, and most all your older cattle ranches had a couple older cows either kept off for milking or used as nurse cows for orphans. I have a few Hereford and Simmental cows now that are broke to lead and are gentle. Cheaper to get a nice beef cow to milk than chase half away across the country for a heritage breed.

I don't graze my dairy cows, so you'd do better asking those who do. Around me, the grazing dairies have: Holsteins, Milking Shorthorn (1) and one large grazing operation with Ayrshires. If you find a grazing dairy that's been in operations for several years, they have no doubt culled and selected replacements based on those cows who do best in grazing. As Jeff said above, many of the grazing operations are cross-breeding, and probably have Jersey influence.

I believe Haggis has Milking Devons, they are supposed to be a good homesteader breed.

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  #18  
Old 09/28/05, 12:33 PM
 
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thank you to you both !

cowboy,

I've never had cows though have had relatives who have kept them. I do have an around 3 acre pasture i could use but its a mixture of fescue and weeds I think for the most part. I kept a couple of my brothers angus heifers on there for about a year and a half and I don't think I would have wanted to milk them ! One was probably the size of a jersey but the other was a BIG girl (though I think they both weighed around 1200 lbs. when he sold them).

and the bigger one was very agressive, or at least compared to the other who was a big chicken. are herefords less agressive? my father had some about 30 years ago but i was never around them much. my grandmother always kept a jersey and they always seemed like a nice, gentle (smallish) cow.

there is a farmer just a mile or so away who raises simmentals.

thank you.

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  #19  
Old 09/28/05, 12:58 PM
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jerseys do great on scrub, they look for it. they of course originated from an island. Of all the dairy breeds they are best producers per pound of feed fed to them. we have bred our jerseys to angus, for small head births . and jersey meat is ymmy

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  #20  
Old 09/28/05, 01:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laura Jensen
I do love my Dexters for their docility, small size, hardiness and tasty beef. I've never milked my cow because she lives 90 minutes away, but she does have a nice udder, and holds a long lactation when being nursed.
Just what I wanted to hear! I've been considering dexters for a while now - low mainenance and they don't require msasive amounts of area. I will have to slaughter a bull each year for the freezer, and I'll have to do it while the family is out - dexters are so cute it would really hurt - until I got his hind end on a grill!
I've read that dexters do give quite a bit of milk. My mother's dad used to have a few and they milked quite well.
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