Fall Freshening?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by glenberryfarm, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. glenberryfarm

    glenberryfarm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    115
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio
    Hi,
    How many of you have your girls freshen in the fall? Do you prefer having her dry during the summer?
    Thanks
    Faye
     
  2. caseyweiss

    caseyweiss Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    47
    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    ohio
    We freshen year round so that we have a constant supply of milk, calves, and nurse cows. My breeding goals are to have 25% of the herd calve in each March, June, September, and December. These make the most marketable heifer calves for the purebred dairy industry.
     

  3. farmerdan

    farmerdan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
    When I had dairy cows, I freshened all year round. Now with beef cattle I liked to fall freshen. The flies aren't as plentiful and the mothers have fattened up nicely from pasture. Also, there is a ready market for them in the spring.
    Dan
     
  4. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,174
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Location:
    SE Ohio
    We have been calving year round here but are changing our approach back to a semi-seasonal (dad and granddad had it as a semi-seasonal for awhile).
    We are aiming to breed 2/3 of the milking herd/springing heifers to calve in March and April and to have the other 1/3 milking in the winter. We will most likely aim for them to calve in August/September I think is how it works.
    With the 2/3rds calving in March/April we can have them out of the milking barn for the winter months. Our cows are kept in the milking barn in their stanchions when it gets too cold and icey outside. Once you keepa cow in past January she is there til spring.
     
  5. glenberryfarm

    glenberryfarm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    115
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio
    Wow, you guys are busy. I was thinking for a family cow, having the summer off so to speak would be nice. Dh is worried that we will never vaction again with a cow in our lives :waa:
     
  6. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,738
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Glenberry, your DH and mine would see eye to eye :grump:

    I calve spring and autumn to give a year round supply of milk for my pigs - and even I think I'm stupid at times. However, if I was only milking the one cow for the house, I would spring calve. Depending on how idiotic the seasons were (and they are getting strange) theoretically birthing in spring is the better way to go. The feed is coming away giving the best advantage to both cow and calf.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  7. Horace Baker

    Horace Baker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    148
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2004
    Location:
    NW CT
    I like cows freshening year round for a steady milk supply. The one drawback I see to fall freshening is if you are feeding only forage, a calf raised by the mom over the winter and used for veal may not be as tender as hoped for.
     
  8. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,174
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Location:
    SE Ohio
    For a family cow, especially here in Ohio, I would suggest to have her calve in the Spring so her two month dry spell is in the winter. Winters are miserable and handmilking (or will you milk by machine?) twice daily in the winterttime can be a nightmare. It isn't all that pleasant here which is why we are trying to greatly reduce the number in the barn down to ten for winter milking.
    When she is dry you won't require as high quality hay as you would when she was milking. So you can buy less expensive hay for her to overwinter. In the spring she can be on the lush grass already available and you don't have the added expense of the higher quality hay because she is getting what she needs from the pasture.

    With the vacations and family cows quite a few people leave the calves on the dam. When they want milk they seperate the calf away and the milk twelve hours later. If you wanted a vacation you could leve the calf on the dam and just have someone farm sit for you. If her calf grows to weaning you may be able to draft another calf onto her to help witha little more income.
     
  9. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

    Messages:
    2,246
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    Location:
    Northeastern Minnesota
    Herself thinks we're never going to go anywhere again. Firstly, because I suffer from agoraphobia, and secondly because of the cows.

    The first part isn't cool for Herself or me, but the cows enable me.They give me an excuse to never leave the farm for more than a few hours during the day.

    She is currently debating wether tis better for the cows to freshen in late summer so we can use some of her 3 month summer vacation off seeing the world; which would mean me milking at 40 or 50 below zero much of the time in winter. Or, let the cows freshen in the late spring or early summer, and make due with a couple of 4 day spring weekends during the school year.

    I tell her that no matter when the cows freshen there is no guarantee that she will be able to get me away from home.
     
  10. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,738
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    So our partners hate our cows no matter what time of the year they calve because a holiday becomes a distant dream :waa:

    One thing that is beginning to take off over here is people specialising in looking after smallholdings while the owners get away for a holiday. They are either older people retired from farming but still wanting to keep their hand in, or youngsters from a farming background. It's a good lifestyle option. They get to tour the country for free bed and board and make a few dollars too.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  11. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

    Messages:
    913
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I just read this article minutes ago when following a link about Dexters. Might be something to consider. It is more detailed instructions on occaisonal milking that dosthouhavemilk mentioned. I think it sounds doable and has me considering buying a heifer where I wouldn't even consider it before.

    How to have a milk cow and a life
     
  12. glenberryfarm

    glenberryfarm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    115
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio
    Thanks so much for posting that article. It does sound hopeful. DH may see a glimmer of light. I am currently milking a Nubian goat as a warm up. Most of the time, the 2 milkings a day don't bother me. I look forward to it. But there is that occasional event that doesn't fit neatly into her schedule.
    Thanks so much for all of your suggestions.
    Yeah, being in the Ohio snowbelt -- winter milking will be tons of fun :waa:
     
  13. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

    Messages:
    2,246
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    Location:
    Northeastern Minnesota
    Herself and I have just about decided to go ahead and let our cows freshen in the spring, but go to once a day milking. The Milking Devons produce ample milk for two or more calves, but if we separate them from their calves 12 hours a day, as many do, we can have one milking a day for our family, and leave enough for one calf.

    The Jerseys give enough milk for 5 or 6 calves, so we will need to purchase some calves for them.

    It would be easier to find someone willing to step in for a once a day milking, and our work load would be diminished by nearly 50%.