Dexter milk!

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Paula, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    We've had Dexters for about 3 years but have never tasted the milk till now. None of our Jerseys is milking right now so out of desperation my sister trained one of our older Dexter cows to milk. The milk is wonderful! It's creamy and very clean tasting. I would say it's better than Jersey milk. That's really tough for me to admit because Jerseys are my life-long favorite (still think Jerseys are prettier though.)
    My head is spinning with the possibilities. If we used the Dexters for milk and got rid of the Jerseys it would make life a lot easier. No more just-fresh cows with 10 gallon udders. No more having to watch Jerseys like a hawk for 6 wks after freshening to make sure they slow down enough to feed just the calf if we don't need the milk. Even slowing them down enough for our milking use can be a chore, and our cows don't get grain!
    I sure would miss seeing my Jerseys though :(
     
  2. fts074

    fts074 Member

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    Paula,
    I'm glad to hear you like your Dexter's milk. I'm planning to get cattle next year, and wanted a jersey for milk and angus for meat. Then went to state fair this fall and talked to a dexter breeder and got all excited about these "mini moos." However, he didn't have much experience with milking them himself, just knew it could be done.

    Hmmm, decisions, decisions, Jersey/angus for milk/meat, or Dexter's for both?
     

  3. Shagbarkmtcatle

    Shagbarkmtcatle Hillybilly cattle slaves

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    Thanks so much for posting this. I used to milk a Jersey years ago and haven't millked at all for awhile now. I told my dh I wanted to start again but we are raising beef cattle. We have one Red dexter who is pretty tame but never been milked. I wondered about milking her. It seems that it might be possible now after reading your post.
    Thanks again- Laura Lynn
     
  4. ~Tomboy~

    ~Tomboy~ Well-Known Member

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    I Love my Dexters, my herd is now up to 21.
    I'm new to this board and have been following it for a few weeks waiting for the right time to jump in, well here it is..... :happy:
    I know there are many other Dexter breeders on this forum, so hi to you also. :happy:
    By the way can you tell I like all the smiley faces you folks have.
    Back to Dexters, They are a great dual purpose breed, as with anything else some lines are better milkers than others.
     
  5. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    Laura, you should give it a try. Our cow wasn't that tame. She'd eat out of your hand but wasn't thrilled about being touched. My sister (never had a cow before, milked goats) got her to eat alfalfa cubes out of her hand for a few days, then got her to go in a small barn to eat alfalfa pellets. She fed her in there and didn't mess with her for a couple of days, then she started petting on her. This cow is a real chow hound, we found out as long as she has food she could care less. Next she started fooling with her udder. Cow didn't care so she started milking. The calf (4 months old) was taking all the milk so we made a pen and locked it up 2 days ago. Lots of bawling, but pour that alfalfa in the trough and here she comes anyway. She even let down pretty well and didn't lift a foot! I'm amazed. I've only milked Jerseys and they are much more tempermental.
     
  6. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    Paula,
    Do you have a stanchion? Does she have horns? My Dexter is due in April. She sounds very much like yours. I can lead her with a halter on her and pet her head and sides. I did touch her udder once and she kicked me. But she did not have food in front of her at the time. She tosses her head alot and that really worries me. I don't like the fact that she has horns, but she is 4 years old and I don't like the idea of dehorning an adult.
    I am really hoping to be able to milk her. I bought her as a family cow, but since I've never milked anything in my life, I'm a little nervous about the whole thing. I don't want anyone to get hurt.
     
  7. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    Welcome Tomboy! Do you milk your Dexters?
     
  8. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    No stanchion. She's not even tied while milking, she wouldn't tolerate it. She's just such a pig she stands stock still while she eats.
    She does have a neck rope but that's new. She doesn't lead. Sis is working on that now.
    She doesn't have horns. I picked her for my sister to try milking because of that. I think our horned Dexters would be ok though. Probably the only way we'd get hurt by their horns is if they were being bothered by flies and throwing their head around.
    If your cow leads it wouldn't be a big deal to teach her to stand tied.
     
  9. ~Tomboy~

    ~Tomboy~ Well-Known Member

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    Hovey, sorry to say I do not milk my Dexters, I'm not much of a milk drinker.
    When it comes to the best of both worlds beef/milk I chose the breed and lines I felt would work for me. I live in an area of Texas where small homesteads are popping up all over, people are wanting to get back to the way things used to be. No doubt beef is still king here over all, but Dexters are making a big inroad with the smaller ranchers. :cowboy:
    Carol K. is a member of this forum and I know she milks her animals, are you out there Carol?
     
  10. yarrow

    yarrow Ages Ago Acres Nubians Supporter

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    We bought Betty last winter from Paula. Betty is 1/2 jersey 1/2 dexter. She has without doubt the best tasting milk any of us have ever tasted. She gives about 3 gallons a day on avg. Her milk is whiter then the jerseys, but has a really nice cream line. It's also a bit sweeter/cleaner tasting. We (us & the neighbors) are looking at raising dexter, mini jersey crosses. (they own a reg mini jersey cow, baby heifer and a bull) Betty gave birth to a 3/4 dexter heifer that will be bred to the mini jersey bull when she's old enough. Betty is already bred to the same bull. EVERYONE is hoping for girls LOL.
    susie, alton mo
     
  11. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I sold a Dexter/Jersey heifer last year. She was a beautiful black and white pattern. I recently loaned them a tiny Dexter bull to freshen her. I went to visit yesterday. She's gorgeous. Delicate lines from the Jersey and short stature from the Dexter. She's radiant in her pregnancy. I can't wait to see how she milks. Plus I want to see the calf.

    That's a good cross. I wish I had another small Jersey cow for my Dexter bull to breed.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  12. yarrow

    yarrow Ages Ago Acres Nubians Supporter

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    Paula wrote:
    You don't know how many times I've regretted selling Betty
    I was telling dh that just a couple of days ago. Makes me not want to sell any of the cows - especially the Dexters. Luckily we bought another farm that connects to the one Betty was on when you came. They have so much space now we won't have to worry about selling any for a while
    _________________________________________
    and we (as in hubby & I, the neighbors) all ALL so happy you did sell her :D we actually took turns on who got Betty's milk and who got just *regular* jersey hehehe. Wow, buying the land next to you must be awesome. It's lovely was there.
    ____________________________________
    I'm so glad you and your neighbors are enjoying her. Does she still have her momma's attitude?
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    Oh yeah, still the same "gonna do what I want to do, when I want to do it...unless you MAKE me do something different" she was wonderful and easy to handle for months, then a month or so ago decided she had better things to do then the evening milking (mornings were still fine I think) they herded her to the barn a few nights in a row on 4-wheelers barking like dogs (great fun to watch I heard LOL) now if she's stubborn, all they do is bark and she runs for the milking barn. NOW...Baby Benny on the other hand is a wee little puppy dog. Tame, tame, tame. Sweet, loving and even at 6 months barely mid thigh high. She looks just like a dexter with a jersey head! They have gotten her reg as a belfair (sp?) and the grandson is showing her in 4H.
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    Maybe we'll get another heifer out of one of our two Jerseys who are due this winter. Lets see... about 3 years from now we could try the milk
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    we are all so taken with the taste of the jersey/dexter cross that I'm going to AI my smallest jersey heifer with red dexter semen and hope for a girl. Neighbors are actually looking to buy a red heifer/cow to breed to their mini bull for exactly the same cross again. We THOUGHT mini jerseys were the direction we wanted to go, BUT>>> I really think that once the folks we will someday be selling milk to, taste the milk- everyone will want to buy the cross bred milk instead of the jersey (however the jersey milk still makes better butter I think) However there is something special about*BETTY BUTTER*. So that's now the direction we are headed with our future breeding plans.
    susie
     
  13. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    Legend Rock Ranch, LOL, what are you doing with a name like Tomboy!! My we Dexter breeders get around don't we, :D
    I'm really glad you like the milk, I know others that have had Jersey cattle also preferred the milk to, but I'm sure jersey cream is waaaaay better! Dexter milk is not too sickly and thick, not sure if I explained that well or not, but I think you'll all know what I mean. Glad more are milking, about how much are you getting from her Paula?

    Carol K
     
  14. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    Susie,
    OK, it makes me feel a little better that so many there people appreciate Betty. Or... maybe a little worse that her milk is so good and I can't have any :1pig: :)


    Carol,
    Getting a little more than a gallon/day. My sister feels like Jaelyn may be holding back some. She thinks that after everything settles down and we take the calf away she will probably give around 1 1/2 gal. The calf is penned just outside the barn and stands and bawls while her mom is being milked. Jaelyn is about 4 months into her lactation.
    We are more than happy with 1 to 1 1/2 gal/day. No more drowning in milk like sometimes happens with the Jerseys even though we slow them down as fast as possible after freshening.
     
  15. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    Congrats Paula, glad it's going good for you. So many people get upset about the amount their Dexters give, as someone else said not all Dexters milk well, so it's important to get one from the "milkier" lines. Some of them push 3 gallons but most seem to average 1.5-2.5 it seems. I get a good 2 gallons a day from my girl, but I just take what I want and the calf has the rest. Somedays I would only take a quart some I would take a gallon, I like that casual sort of milking it works great for me.

    Carol K
     
  16. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Regarding the horns on an older animal. The neighbor had a milk breed that knocked a horn off and wanted the other horn removed. I did not want to create a bloody mess so I waited until fly season was over and I took a small file and filed a slight groove/depression, near the head, around the good horn and applied a rubber banding ring in the recessed groove. I observed the animal and did not observe any action indicating discomfort. I do not recall how long it took but the horn fell off without incident.