Family cow question -- will this work?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by willow_girl, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

    Messages:
    14,609
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction
    My Jersey, Dawn, freshened 2 days ago. Tomorrow we will finally be able to use her milk! Yay!

    OK, here's the question. I had originally planned to lock her baby in the barn at night, and milk Dawn in the morning after I get home from work, then turn the baby out with her during the day.

    I've been letting the calf run with Dawn all day, up until now. Once a day (late morning) I have been milking her out real good. She doesn't mind letting down her milk for me, in fact I haven't even had to tie her up, just give her a bucket of grain to keep her occupied and standing in one spot. She's been a perfect angel! :)

    At night just before bed, I check her to make sure she's not overly bagged up or anything. The first day I milked her out at night too, but yesterday she wasn't that full, so I just left her alone.

    I'm wondering if I can't just leave things this way? So far, I'm getting plenty of milk from the morning milking to meet all our household needs. I realize her production will drop off after the first month, and eventually after the calf starts eating solid food, I'll probably have to milk her twice a day.

    But, they are just so gosh-darned happy together, I hate to have to separate them, even just for the night. :(
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    if you plan to keep the calf for a cow when she grows up, you will have a problem weaning the calf from the cow after she gets grown up. Also letting the calf run with the cow, the calf will drink more milk every day, until it eventualy takes every bit of it. I would seperate them except at meal time. Then get what you want and let the calf have the rest. That way your cow will always be there waiting on you at milking time. If she is sucked out in the pasture, she may not want to come in.
     

  3. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    704
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Western NY
    Seperating at night need not be traumatic for them. I did it by putting the calf in an area that they could still see eachother from and didn't have any bawling at all. Would you be able to do that? Even take a cattle panel and split the stall, I think you will be happy that way and so will they!! Mom sure is ready to be milked in the morning though!! If for some reason you won't be able to milk in the morning just leave the calf with Mom, or split them and just let the calf in in the morning. we are pretty casual with our milking, the one good thing about having the calf still on Mom as well as you milking is that the cow always gets stripped out and then mastitis Isn't a problem, what ever works for you and your cow is the best for you!

    Carol K
     
  4. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    May 8, 2002
    Location:
    central New South Wales, Australia
    Our calves were penned overnight in a pole-fenced pen next to (in fact in front of) the bail (I think you call it stanchion) where the cows were milked. Cows could bed down overnight next to their calves, but the cows were outside and could wander around grazing as they wished, then return to the calves. In the morning, cows would come in, go into the bail, start chowing down on chaff and oats while gazing at their hungry little munchkins, let down their millk, Dad would milk out a bucket full, then we'd let the calves out for the day. At evening, there'd be food for the calves and their mothers, enough so they'd come in and the calves would be penned for the night. They weren't that keen to come in - they'd have to be rounded up - but they didn't object too much either - they knew there was something waiting for them.
     
  5. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    May 8, 2002
    Location:
    central New South Wales, Australia
    Oh, yes - don't count on it. It may reduce mastitis - although I'm not even sure of that. It sure doesn't eliminate it. Good reason to have lots of milk in the frig, and some frozen - you can last through the time when you've had to put penicillin in the teats, and the withdrawal period.
     
  6. Willow-girl, when I was growing up my mother and her brother shared a family milk cow. The way I remembered us doing it was we kept the calf in a pen that was part of our milk/hay barn. The pen was built out in front of the barn but attached to the front so that we could use a stall to milk in. At evenings when it was my turn to milk we would let the cow in the pen and we would feed her. While she was feeding I would milk one side of her while the calf fed on the other side of her. After she was milked out and through feeding we would keep the cow in the pen for the rest of the evening till morning. The next morning my Uncle would milk the cow. He also would milk one side of the cow and let the calf suck on the other side. After she was milked and through feeding, he would let the cow out of the pen to go grazing and kept the calf inside the pen. The calf and cow would not be together again till evening when it would be my turn to milk again.

    If I remember right we would not seperate the cow and calf until it was a week old. The first few days after penning the calf up the cow would not graze to far from the pen, but as the calf grew, the cow would graze futher and futher away from the pen. But since we would always milked at exactly 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. the cow would always be at the pen waiting to be fed. Once the calf was old enough to start grass feeding we would let it start roaming with the momma cow.
     
  7. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

    Messages:
    14,609
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction
    Well, I still haven't had the heart to separate them. :rolleyes: (Some farmer I am, eh? :haha: )

    But momma is producing plenty of milk for our household use ... no signs of mastitis ... no problem milking her. (She gets her grain when I go out to milk, and she REALLY looks forward to that grain. ;) )

    So far, so good, I guess ... :)