Milk Cow ?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Maranman, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. Maranman

    Maranman Well-Known Member

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    Any ideas on a milk cow for a small homestead ?
    We don't need a large amount of milk .
    All the young'uns have just about left the nest .
    We still like the taste of good ole' fresh milk.
    One more thing, has anyone ever dealt with the nurse cow operation? :)


    Thanks
     
  2. GREEN_ALIEN

    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

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    Kerry's are a good small scale milker but can be a bit hard to find.

    [​IMG]

    GA
     

  3. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The easiest way to get a small amount of milk as you need it is to let the cow raise her own calf. Seperate them during the day, then milk out what you want in the evening before the calf gets it all. However this would require bringing the cow in the barn night and morning. By the time the cow goes dry which is something like 8 weeks before she has another calf, the nursing calf would be big enough to butcher.
     
  4. Maranman

    Maranman Well-Known Member

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    Man, she's a real beauty!!!!!

    Is she of the dairy breed??I have never heard of them!!!
    Where can you find a Kerry??
     
  5. GREEN_ALIEN

    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

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    Kerry's are an all out dairy breed from Ireland, or at least for the last 4000 or so years lol.

    " The Kerry is a small-sized, fine-boned dairy breed, mostly black in color. Cows weigh between 780-1000 pounds and are horned. Milk production averages 7000-8000 pounds, but can occasionally exceed 10,000 pounds, with over 4% butterfat. Kerries are hardy and long-lived, often still calving at 14-15 years of age. "

    They can SOMETIMES be found here and they are spendy.

    Our Lady of the Rock Monastery

    Take note of the small size and high udder... no teat dragger like SOME jersey's can be. Good high butterfat and small size makes this a great choice IMHO. There is no polled version so something might have to be done with the horns...

    This is a rare breed with only 400-500 left so it might be more benificial to start an AI program. I am thinking of AI an angus cow to kerry and I figure to have to line breed to get all the traits back in order.... we will see. Maybe with a little angus in there I can get the same size range but a tad stockier and throw all blacks.

    I do have a couple of hefier calves on order but who knows when.... might get old (well older) waiting!
     
  6. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    In Mass., ok ok bad joke I know ;).

    Another one to consider is a Jersey. What we did when we had excess milk, we bought another calf (steer) from a farm. He nursed, and her calf nursed, it worked out fine. If she is a high producer, pending how much feed your giving her, you might even get more than a enough even with two calves. Figure if she was giving a really good (im talking from a Jersey with a excellent blood line) 60lbs a day, that is 6.9 gallons of milk. So with two, she would give you roughly 5+ gallons a day. I am saying if she is getting 50+lbs a day, and is a really good milker. Ours was not a exceptional cow, she produced low. But you can find ones that aren't super good, but are healthy. You do get what you pay for, we picked up our Jersey we have now (just had her bred), for 75 dollars or so. It will be funny if she outproduces the ones im seeking that range 500-1000 bucks. But I doubt it, since those pricey ones have mothers producing 65lbs, and those are first calf heifers.


    Jeff
     
  7. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    If the Jersey is a pasture type, their udders sit nice and tight against their bodies. I know you said some, but if your looking for one, id ask about that. Simply ask if they are bred for grazing, there is a difference.



    Jeff
     
  8. Horace Baker

    Horace Baker Well-Known Member

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    My definition of a milk cow is any cow that will stand still while I milk her.
     
  9. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Maranman wrote:

    Man, she's a real beauty!!!!!

    Is she of the dairy breed??I have never heard of them!!!
    Where can you find a Kerry??

    __________________


    For a long time, Kerry's and Dexters were considered to be the same. Then the Kerry's sort of disappeared in the mid 1900's. A few have survived and are making a comeback.

    The Dexter has continued to be the premier small homestead cattle. They come in black, red or dun. Horned or polled. Some are beefier and some are heavier milkers. The beefy ones still give good milk and the milkier ones still make good beef.

    They also make good oxen, due in a large part to their gentle nature.

    An average Dexter can give about a gallon and a half per day. The biggest milker I've heard of gave four gallons. Some people only milk a quart once a day and let the calf have the rest. It depends upon your needs.

    The best part about Dexters for a small homestead is their lower feed requirements. They are browsers as well as grazers. They eat shoots and leaves and can clear a brushy patch of woods in a hurry. Mine live entirely outdoors, using the woods for their only shelter.

    Dexters require about 1/2 the acreage that larger breeds do.

    If you mix them with a few goats, the pasture stays nice and even witout the clumpy grass that pickier eaters leave. They'll eat almost everything.

    Go to http://www.dextercattle.org/breed_description.htm and scroll almost to the bottom of the page. There you'll see a picture of a nice Dexter milk cow.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  10. Maranman

    Maranman Well-Known Member

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    "For a long time, Kerry's and Dexters were considered to be the same. Then the Kerry's sort of disappeared in the mid 1900's. A few have survived and are making a comeback".
    [quoted]


    :confused:
    Are Kerrys and Dexters the same??????
     
  11. farmerdan

    farmerdan Well-Known Member

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    The Red Poll makes a nice milk cow. It's also dual purpose. Something for you to consider.
     
  12. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    I know nobody asked me, but, I think the udder on this black cow could be improved. Especially the fore-udder attachment needs to be stronger. And the teat placement seems uneven. Teh udder needs to blend more smoothly into the body. We can't see the rear udder, but that also needs to be high and tight (allowing for her age though -- she could be an aged cow)

    I am not being snarky ... I just read that the traits that correlate most to longevity in the herd are udder qualities. (edited to add ...) And, thinking back, the cows we kept the longest -- our oldest cow was 11 when we sold out -- tended to have well-made udders.

    I grant that otherwise she looks "very dairy" -- pretty head and neck, fine-boned and deep bodied.

    Ann
     
  13. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have got to say, if you are looking for a nice dual purpose animal a Jersey/Norwegian Red cross is a good idea. ;) However, they are *huge* We taped some of our crosses and Ilse (4 years old) came in at around 1250-1300 lbs. (no markers for crosses). One of our first calf heifers (2 years) came in at 1100 lbs. :eek: The bull calves come out big and would make nice freezer filler and ours, at least, are producing very nicely with high components. Though our 3/4 Jersey, 1/4 N.R. heifers are doing far better component wise than our 1/2 and 1/2s. Has to do with the half and half sire's Dam.

    I prefer Jerseys, but that is because I was raised with them and love working with them. Most people are considered crazy for working with cattle as smart as Jerseys but I like how intelligent they are.

    A mini Jersey is another possibility but are quite expensive and very difficult to get your hands on.


    Ann, I was noticing the udder as well. :eek:
    The teats on the cow in the picture do seem a bit spraddled and since we are probably going to end up losing(culling) Xena because of the same thing, (she is 8 years old) I worry about the animal's longevity. She has mastitis in three of her quarters and a lot of it has to do with the fact that her teats are constantly rubbing against her legs. :(
    However, a family cow doesn't end up with the same udder as our cows are likely to. They are encouraged to produce to their full potential and the milking machine definitely helps with that. :)
     
  14. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like Xena had a pretty long life, though. A lot longer than many.

    (In case I hadn't mentioned it recently ... I MISS the cows :waa:

    ann
     
  15. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    She is our third oldest cow on the farm. Acorn is 10 and Mamba is 9 (but looks about five). Our 13 year old (who was supposed to retire) was sold because of Johne's last year but she would have made it to 15 probably.

    Xena is actually so sick she may not make it to being sold. Her milk looked a bit better this evening during milking though...just not much there.

    Do you have cows you can visit? :)
     
  16. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's up for debate whether the Kerry and Dexters were the same breed. Old records from Ireland referred to them as if they were. They were both registered with the same registry until about the 1920's, I think. Then the Dexter cattle association dropped the Kerry classification because there hadn't been one registered in so long.

    It looks to me that the Kerry is a Dexter that is too tall for the breed standard. The Kerry also looks like the dairy characteristics are more evident than the beef characteristics. Some Dexters look just like them, but some others don't.

    As far as age goes, there is a lady who just posted a picture on another board of her Dexter cow that is 20 years old and just had her 19th calf. I've read about Dexters that lived to be 30 years old.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  17. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    Poor Xena. That brings back memories.

    Thank you for asking about visiting cows ... I have transferred my enthusiasm to our beef heifers. One is a Holstein cross, last daughter out of a really good cow family and I am wondering whether she can be turned into a family milk cow. The others are black Angus and black baldies. They are to freshen next summer, some bred to a pretty nice black Angus bull and one AI'ed with an Angus bull. If this particular heifer has a bull calf we might keep him as a herd bull since he will be a total outcross to all the others. After milking for years, beef cows seem wonderfully self sufficient!

    FIL searched around and found another purebred herd that wanted to expand that took our whole herd in one group. Which was a relief. But they went to anohter state, 12 hours away. Our herd was almost all red Holsteins. Some of the cattle were double registered Holsteins and Red & White Dairy Cattle assn. out of Pennsylvania. FIL and DH always emphasized good udders and feet and legs on the cows and didn't really push them for high milk production. So for a Holstein herd they had pretty good components.

    Ann
     
  18. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If we ever have to give up on our dairy cattle, we will probably go to beef cattle and probably expand our goat herd even more.
    I hope it doesn't have to happen. We have produced some very wonderful crossbreeds and Jerseys at this point. They are not show animals but they are producers and strong. Some of our crosses have higher components than our purebreds! With lower SCC as well...
    The last couple of years our cattle have had free access to most of the farm and in that respect were like beef cattle. It did make bringing them in at night more difficult though. :haha:


    Red Holsteins? They look beautiful in the breeding brochures!
    We are currently focused on feet and legs because of some poor choices of bulls from the dealers that ended up screwing up legs. We generally only buy higher componented bulls as well. One has to be very careful at this point with Jerseys because of all the close breeding. We crossed two bulls that created some huge paddle feet on Duchess and Bicentia...they are both under five years of age and already having trouble. *sigh* The N. R. in that respect is very nice..especially when crossed with one of our best lines.
     
  19. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    The red Holsteins are beautiful. They ranged in color from sort of a sandy red ("Lightest Auburn" if you've ever colored your hair ;) to mahogany. Once in awhile we'd get one that DH and FIL called black-red ... born red but then would faide to black or very dark brown as they matured.

    We had some black cows that were red carriers -- one of the parents was red but they turned out black.

    Since we had a whole herd, they did look mighty pretty out in the pasture. I liked to see a black one or two out there just for contrast :cool:

    We pastured in teh summer and oru Border Collie (who died this fall) helped bring them up.

    ah, memories ...

    Happy Holidays!
    Ann
     
  20. george darby

    george darby Well-Known Member

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    the milk cows are dry at the moment so i have been milking a stunted angus pest want to be milk cow one of those raised on a bottle thinks its a big dog cows , i laugh every time i milk her tiny teats i can only strip with 2 fiengers rather than actualy milk she never offers to kick or move ....... no stantion or rope , if nancy one of the regular milk cows gets in a mood she needs hobbles and deffinatly a stantion.we always had gurnsey and i really miss them they are the best family milk cow, i might be milking a wanta be milk cow and not a good one but i would feel so ashamed if i had to buy milk from a store...dad used to tell about a family who was poor and during the depresion had an old herford cow that they milked . 9 will give me about 2 gallon a day plus a little for the calf but its big enough i give it some dry feed to make up for losing its milk.