Jersey cow question-please help

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by God's worker, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. God's worker

    God's worker Member

    Mar 4, 2005
    What would you do buy a Jersey who was 14 months old never yet bred for 650 or would you buy an 9 year old Jersey with an 8 month old calf still nursing for 425 (the calf is not included in the price). Both are not registered.

    Another question is how long does a jersey live for.

    We are a small farm and I will be using the milk to feed the family.

    Thanks so much.
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    May 22, 2003
    Zone 7
    If the cow is sound buy her. She is a proven producer and good for a number of years to come! You can grow yourself a heifer from her and she will always bring close to the purchase price. The 14 month old could be sterile, have milking problems or die having her first calf. Regardless, it will be a long time until she produces anything.

  3. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

    Sep 13, 2003
    Why does the owner want to sell these two animals?

    I'd look at the older Jersey cow's udder to see if it is still reasonably tight and not "blown out." Has the cow ever been milked? Milked by hand? How is the confirmation of her rear legs and feet?

    Same with the heifer. How is her confirmation, paricularly of the hind legs and feet.

    The cow will give you milk now, whereas the heifer will not give you any milk until she is bred back. Both the heifer and cow will need to be bred back, so you'll have to make arrangements for that.

    How long the cow can be expected to live is partly a function of her genetics and partly a function of how she has been cared for. If you got 4-5 more lactations out of her, you would be doing well. She could live to be 20, but that's not average longevity.

    Without seeing the two animals, can't say which is better, but it is true that the cow is more of a known quantity.
  4. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2004
    New Zealand
    That's a tough one. A 9 year old cow is getting on whichever way you dress it up but the important question is that with an 8 month old calf at foot, she should be in calf again. Is she? And is the calf she has with her straight Jersey and what sex? And how much do they want for the calf or is she not being sold at all? If she was coming empty and without the calf, at that price I would flag it.

    On the other hand, the heifer will also be coming empty and unproven but although unregistered, presumeably comes from reasonably good stock and should have many good years ahead of her. For my money I would probably go for the heifer but would also try to beat down the price a bit - but I say that from the New Zealand perspective. If it helps, I recently bought a 5 year old Jersey/Friesian cow with a 3 month old August born Angus calf at foot for $NZ450 including the calf. I'm not sure where out dollar is against yours but around the 60c mark I think.

    As a matter of interest, cows can live to around 20 years of age and sometimes even up to 30 (rare) but the average age is between 13 and 15. If they live this long you also have to take on board that their teeth are worn and provide good feed plus more supplementary feed than you might otherwise.

  5. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

    Dec 7, 2002
    Dysfunction Junction
    How about option 3, "neither of the above"? :confused:

    In all fairness, there is not enough information given about the cows OR your situation in order to make a fair assessment, but both these deals have major red flags from my perspective!

    Let's look at that heifer first. If you buy her, you will have at least a year before you get a calf out of her. So not only are you paying $650 for her, you're also paying a year's feed and other costs before she becomes productive. This cost of course varies depending on your situation (do you have pasture or do you have to buy feed, etc.)

    Other things to consider: How are you going to get her bred? Have you ever milked before? Are you planning to hand milk? Do you have a stanchion or some other place to restrain her while milking? How tame is she? Is she accustomed to being handled?

    If you're not an experienced milker, I would HIGHLY recommend starting with an older, docile cow, ideally one that is alread accustomed to being hand-milked. "Novice milker + heifer" can be a recipe for frustration! (Yes, there are exceptions ...)

    Another consideration, if you're planning to milk by hand, is udder structure. Small, tight teats are a pain in the butt and can make milking pretty miserable. With an older cow, you can see (or even better yet, SQUEEZE) her teats and assess how easy she'll be. A cow with nice long teats that GUSH is a hand milker's dream! :D

    Now, the older cow. If she's not bred back yet, why not? (My gut instinct tells me her owner is having a problem getting her bred back, and he's "dumping" her on an unsuspecting novice. I hope I'm wrong! :( )

    If she's not bred back, and preg checked by a vet and confirmed pregnant in writing, I would PASS UP THIS COW!

    If you DO buy her under these circumstances, remember she's almost at the end of her lactation now, so you will be getting little if any milk for many months while waiting for her next freshening. So, again, you're not REALLY paying $425, you're paying $425 PLUS the cost of feed for the next 9 months (at least). Factor that into the equation, and perhaps offer less ... quite a bit less!

    If she IS confirmed pregnant, and looks good, and you've tried milking her and are satisfied with her udder and temperament, and she is giving a quantity of milk that you find suitable, this might not be a bad deal, but I'd still make an offer considerably less than the asking price ... say, no more than $350.

    With any luck, you MIGHT get one or two calves out of her at her age ... with one hopefully being a replacement heifer!

    I still think under the circumstances I'd keep looking for a slightly younger cow that is already confirmed pregnant. Get off to a good start with good stock ... you won't regret it!

    Also, in any case insist on a negative Johne's test even if you have to pay for it yourself!!! (It's not expensive.) I bought an older cow whom I absolutely adored ... only to lose her to Johne's 9 months later. Broke my heart!!! :waa: