Drying up question

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Momof8kiddoes, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. Momof8kiddoes

    Momof8kiddoes Well-Known Member

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    I am about to purchase a jersey, here is the deal.
    She is milking about a gallon a day right now. She is due in late July.
    The guy that is selling her said that if I wanted, I could continue milking her right up to birth, since she is giving so little milk...just that the color and taste might change as her colostrum came in right before birth.
    Now, everything Ive read so far says to dry em up so that they have a break.
    Is this really a possability, and still have a healthy cow?
    She is 4, if that matters, second calving.
    Thanks,
    Mary F.
     
  2. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Yes, you can dry her off. Some go 260 days milking before drying, some go 305, some longer. I would give her a break, no need to keep her going for over a year. start drying her off late April into May. This would give her about 2 months or so break.



    Jeff
     

  3. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    This is bad advice, and will almost certainly affect her milk production in the next lactation.

    Give her at least 30 or better yet 60 days off.

    Also, I've read that cows need to be dried off at least 2 weeks before calving in order for the colostrum to build up the proper "ingredients" to ensure calf health.

    If this guy milks his cows right up until delivery ... hey I'm glad you're buying her! ;)
     
  4. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mary,

    Is this cow an ex-dairy cow or has she been a house cow? Dairy cows have a hard life in that they are quite literally a milk factory where everything is done to produce more milk. By the end of a season they are well in calf and could be getting down in condition and it isn't in the dairy farmers best interests to continue milking them nor is it economical in terms of what they are producing and the cost of getting it. Consequently they are dried off some two month before calving to allow them to put condition on and come into their new season producing as much milk as possible. A skinny cow struggling to maintain her own body is not going to be a good producer.

    On the other hand, the house cow usually has a pretty cruisey life without the stress of the twice a day walk to the milking shed, standing around in the yard (not eating) waiting her turn etc. and will more than likely be on the best grass or feed available on the homestead. I have on several occasions hand-milked cows through to their next calf with no detrimental side affects to the cow. If the cow is in good condition and you have the feed for her, keep on milking if you wish - it could be a good opportunity to get to know her. However, be aware that in the Jersey you are going to find you end up with more cream than milk and that it could be come quite strong tasting.

    Both the Jersey and the Guernsey are strong little cows and good doers. In times gone by the Islanders would milk their housecow from one calf to the next
    and next to their hand knitted jumpers, their cow would be their most prized possession. I knew a Guernsey Islander who told me that when he was a boy in the depression his father would knick the main vein (artery) in the neck of their cow and collect the blood - it was their only source of protein. And no, the cow didn't die, I gather she lived until she was around 15.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  5. Momof8kiddoes

    Momof8kiddoes Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all for the replies on this! Willow, very interesting on the colostrum needing to have time to build up the right mixture...I think that makes sense.
    And Ronnie, interesting also that you asked about where she was coming from, ect. That would make a difference, I can now see.
    She is one of the Old World Jerseys that I posted about. They are handled very well, and he has never gone for maximum milking or pushed them. Its has been more of a hobby and love for him, than maximizing profits. So, your question was right in line on whether they have been pushed to the max or not.
    I can see now why he said it was an option, being that they are treated well, ect. I will have to talk more with him on it. Thinking I will take the safe road and dry her up, esp since Im so new to this all..but its really good info to have, so I appriciate y'alls input on this!


    Thanks guys!! (gals included!),
    Mary F.