Milking Scotch Highland Cows?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Nicholie Olie, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. Nicholie Olie

    Nicholie Olie Active Member

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    OK, i'm not wanting gallons of milk everyday. So please understand that, the milk is only for me and my family. But what i don't get is people keep claiming there is no "Dual purpose" cow. Either you pick one or the other (meat or milk production). :rolleyes: But i really don't either, A) Want another cow just for milk or B) Want to have to buy a milking goat or some other animal to supply milk..

    When i first found the cow i was happy to read: "The breed was originally a dual-purpose breed supplying both meat and milk to the farmers on the cold and windy coast of Scotland." So why do people keep telling me the cow isn't dual purpose...? :confused: So... please, does anyone milk their Highland cows that can give me some insight?
     
  2. SFM in KY

    SFM in KY Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've never had Scotch Highlands or known anyone personally who did but on the 'dual purpose' cow I can tell you that we raised Herefords ... later Hereford/Angus crosses ... and we never had a 'dairy breed' cow. We milked several of the Hereford cows that gave more milk than a calf would need and they provided all the milk we needed.
     

  3. Brooks WV

    Brooks WV Well-Known Member

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    We have highlands, and have been prepping our oldest heifer for milking. The Highlands milk is VERY rich... approximately 10% butterfat. You certainly wont get the quantity as you would from a major milk breed, but we accept that.
     
  4. arcticow

    arcticow Well-Known Member

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    The two Highlands I milked in AK were both fair milkers, couple gallons a milking, and had a creamline similar to a Jersey...
     
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  5. SpaceCadet12364

    SpaceCadet12364 Well-Known Member

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    It is a very docile breed. The only milk we have gotten from ours was given to calf. They don't produce like a dairy breed but what they do produce is quality. They are actually a triple breed in a since they where used for meat,dairy and work.
     
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  6. lakeportfarms

    lakeportfarms Well-Known Member

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    Our Highlands produce around 2 gallons/day. It is a very rich milk with high butterfat and naturally homogenized. We don't get very much cream, it just doesn't separate like our Dexter milk does.
     
  7. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Some will claim they are quiet. The ones I've been around were wild as the wind and would not make a suitable family milk cow. Are the teets long enough to milk effectively?

    You may find that you can milk yours. Or you may spend a lot of time and money getting one bought, bred and in milk, only to discover you can't catch her or she causes a few of the problems that unruly cows present, kicking, stepping in the pail, refusing to let her milk down, etc.

    IMHO, I'd rather eat the meat of a dairy cow, than deal with the headache of milking a beef breed.

    I guess it all hinges on if you have one that'll stand to be milked. Let us know how it turns out.
     
  8. lakeportfarms

    lakeportfarms Well-Known Member

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    Haypoint,

    Take a little drive across the bridge and come buy one of ours...you could even practice your lasso technique for 20 minutes like my nephew did before she'll walk in the trailer for you.

    [​IMG]

    Or if you're cold you could take a nap with this one...

    [​IMG]

    If they happen to be in milk we could go out in the pasture with a bucket and stool (no halter or rope needed) and get a gallon or two for some refreshment for your drive home.
     
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  9. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Fantastic! Just bear in mind they all aren't like that. Some are more like bison.
     
  10. BlackWillowFarm

    BlackWillowFarm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've only milked Jersey's so no experience with dual purpose breeds. I've come across several people who say a beef cow gives wonderful milk, but she'll have a shorter lactation and dry herself off about the time a calf would be naturally weaned.

    It doesn't sound as if you could milk her for an extended period like you could a dairy breed.

    That might factor into your decision whether to go with dairy or beef/dual purpose.
     
  11. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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    Any cow will give you milk. Any cow will give you meat. Dual purpose is determined by how hard it is to produce both cost effectively. Beef breeds are hands down the best at producing beef. Dairy breeds at producing milk. Duh. Finding one that does both as well as either in both categories is nigh impossible. Does it matter? I raise jersey bull calves for the family freezer. Yes, a angus would do it better and faster. I buy the jersey for $10 - an angus is going to be upwards of $500. Perhaps working the numbers, feed input, etc, I might come out better with an angus.

    Milking is the same. Yes, you can milk an angus- but how much milk are you going to get for your efforts? How long do they produce milk? Beef breeds only produce milk for a few months until the calf is weaned. How long will a highland produce milk for your family? Dairy cows will produce milk for 10 months or longer - just enough time for them to be dried off so they can produce another calf. I prefer a cow with a clean udder- long hair around teats are a nasty business in my book. Long hairs in my milk is even worse. Dirt the hair drops into my milk - worst of all.

    Are you sure they produce a gallon or 2 at a time?
     
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  12. arcticow

    arcticow Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I'm sure... I ran a dairy for living for 'bout 17 years... a brush takes care of the hair befor milking, and they will let you use it if they will let you milk 'em. BTW, some of the better milkers I've seen were Hol./Angus crosses.
     
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  13. SpaceCadet12364

    SpaceCadet12364 Well-Known Member

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    We had a cow that nursed a calf right up until she had another then nursed them both for about a week when mom put foot to forehead on the older one. So 11 plus months so I would say they go just as long as any breed..
     
  14. opportunity

    opportunity Well-Known Member

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    I see no reason not to milk a highland. I havne't really tried to milk mine but have milked a cross, most of mine would be milkable in a shoot but they also don't get handled daily and are on a huge pasture for the summer so they have to get used to us again in the winter. I have halter broke some and others I could ride depends more on the animal then it's breed. I have jersey, highland, angus and herford, can't ride any of the angus......and wouldn't want to milk them they are not as friendly
     
  15. Nicholie Olie

    Nicholie Olie Active Member

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    Wow thank you so much everyone for all the details. I guess it wont hurt to try then!
     
  16. lakeportfarms

    lakeportfarms Well-Known Member

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    Good luck!

    Just remember, you usually get what you pay for...as Haypoint has said, not all of them are docile. Any breed of cattle can be difficult to handle if they have been treated poorly. And individual animals may have different temperaments, which often is hereditary.

    As I describe to many customers who purchase calves from us for their own farms, you may have this animal for 20 years (Scottish Highlands are productive for a long time, the red one in the prior photo is 15 years old). You can get a cheap one for $600 and buy yourself a ton of headaches for 20 years, or you could pay $1500 and have a cow that you can walk up to in the pasture, slip a halter on, and lead her wherever you want her. Over 20 years, that amounts to $.13 per day. Is the added frustration worth the lower price you might pay?
     
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  17. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I saw a photo from the 1800s that showed a boy that had trained a pair of turkeys to pull a little cart. Lots of folks have seen the picture from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, with a buffalo trained to be ridden.
    I'm sure you can milk a Highland.
     
  18. arcticow

    arcticow Well-Known Member

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    You could buy a Holstein... I have had more than 1 of those that I had to rope, tie short to fence and put a tight heel rope on to vaccinate and they still broke the needle off in 'em, had to be sold before they crippled somebody trying to milk 'em or tore the barn up...
     
  19. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Keep a jersey cow and breed her to an angus bull. That way you have a good milk cow and good beef calves. You aren't going to butcher the cow, so she need not be dual purpose. If she is a good milker she will raise two calves and have milk for your family.
     
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  20. lakeportfarms

    lakeportfarms Well-Known Member

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    Not everybody needs (or wants) the amount of milk a Jersey can produce. Having a milk breed is not for beginners either...milk fever, ketosis, etc. is much more common and difficult to deal with for somebody only wanting a gallon or two per day. You are paying for all that milk no matter what whether it is in hay, grain, etc...
     
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