Need Advice

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by BlessedMom, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. BlessedMom

    BlessedMom Well-Known Member

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    Okay, up until now we have just had dairy & meat goats, chickens, geese, rabbits, pigs and well right now I have 3 turkeys in the carport. LOL!
    I would really like to get a family cow. I would like cow that I could milk along with breeding her and eating the offspring. I am cow DUMB. Any advice?
    I like the Jersey look. I would like a calm, well mannered cow since I have back problems and can't be jerked around a whole lot. I don't mind milking, I love to milk my goats. However, I want cream and butter and other cheeses!! Would one cow support a family of 7? I don't have a lot of money, what can I expect to pay for a cow in Washington State? And where would I find one?
    What are bummer calfs?
    What kind of housing and feed does a cow need?
    Sorry for all the questions. I was raised near Brattleboro, VT - Holstein Country - but left when I was 16...guess I hadn't paid enough attention to all of our neighbors!
     
  2. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    Before I got my cow, I went to the library and got various books they had. One was by Dirk or Dick Van L.... called "The Family Cow". Another one was by the person who is instrumental in the real-food. com website. Her book is "Keeping the Family Cow". Two others are by Storey Publications, "Barnyard in my Backyard" and something about Raising your Calf.

    How much land do you have? If you have land a regular dairy breed like a jersey or holstein or dairy cross breed would be fine. If you want a smaller cow that would provide what you are looking for would be a dexter. A dexter calf is going to be far more expensive than a dairy calf.

    Don't fret not paying attention back in VT., Oregon is also cattle country. I'm thinking I've seen a few people from Washington post on here, so there must be someone in Washington that you could visit, check out there cattle, ask even more questions, and get what you need ready before you get started.

    Hope this helps steer you in a direction, even though the answers aren't very specific. Those books would be great to look at, as they have your questions answered.
     

  3. christy

    christy Well-Known Member

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    I would also recommend the books Christina R. suggested. I can only comment on my own experience. I have jerseys and bred them to angus which I prefered for eating. It was the best meat I have ever ate. Then I AI to jersey bull to get a replacement heifer and ended up with a bull calf. Ate him as well and he wasn't as good as the jersey/angus cross but he tasted mighty fine as well. Made butter with the milk and it was real good and I had more than enough milk for a family of five. I gave milk to my other family members when they wanted it, sold some to friends and feed some animals on the farm as well. And did this with one cow milking.

    Read the books they are full of good information. I still use mine all the time to refere back to.

    Christy
     
  4. BlessedMom

    BlessedMom Well-Known Member

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    I have Carla's book..it like my second Bible. I LOVE that book. I don't know what I ever did without it before I found it a few years ago.

    I don't have much land at all. In fact, we would have to purchase the hay. But healthwise, I am so sensitive to hormones, additives, etc...that I am having to go totally organic and homegrown. I really want to make butter and such. We have goats and it is nearly impossible to make butter with their milk because of it being natually homog. I love my goats. But one milking cow would be such a blessing and to have our own beef too! Oh wow. Every time I get meat from a store I get sick.

    I was told that I could get calfs at $15 at an auction. But that scares me!
     
  5. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    A calm well mannered cow is best found by getting a 2nd or 3rd calf cow. Heifers just having had 1 calf can be(but not always) a real challenge as far as knocking you around a bit. For what you described, a Guernsey or Jersey cow would work . Wouldn't rule out milking shorthorn or milking Devon if available.
    Most adult cows will require 1 small square bale of hay per dayx365 for a year. Good mixed hay or Alfalfa hay best. A good 16% dairy grain will suffice for cow, 3-5 lbs. a day for maintanence, increase to as much as 12-15 lbs a day when milking heavy. Larger cows like Swiss or Holstein you could increase grain above that level.
    Housing depends on climate. Remember dry bed - full belly best path to happy cow. A roof and 3 walls minimum shelter for adverse weather may suffice in your climate, depending on your location.
    Generally low-price calves you mention are dairy bull calves. You may want to start with mature cow if on a budget. Try to find farm publication from your area to start looking.
    Best luck.
     
  6. Slev

    Slev Well-Known Member Supporter

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    well for starters, we also need to know how much milk YOUR family of 7 drinks a day. I do want to put a plug in here for the little girl, the Dexter. Depending on how much milk your family drinks, she may just be the ticket. With their ability to forage and do well with less input, you might be able to support 2 Dexters for what it would cost you to support 1 of the larger types. Just think of it as double insurance in case something goes wrong with 1 cow, you'd still have the other. And twice the chances at freezer beef, which would total more than 1 average of the larger breeds.

    Hey, a Dexter may not be the way to go for YOUR family, but it's at least worth mentioning and considering. It also may be worth looking into a Canadienne Cow, aka. the Black Jersey.

    Good luck
     
  7. Corky

    Corky Well-Known Member

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    If you can find a dexter that doesn't cost too much to start with that would be the way to go as you also have goat milk to drink and the dexter would give you plenty of cream.
    If not just get whatever cow you can find in your area that is gentle and freindly and healthy and go with that. You can always feed the extra milk to you other animals and save on feed.
     
  8. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I jumped in at the deep end with a reg Jersey last year. She was already in milk and I only have a family of 2 :) I gave milk in exchange for help milking her to neighbors who had dairy experience and learned quite a bit from them and from the family dairy I bought the cow from. She was supposed to be bred but turned out she wasn't so if you buy a supposedly bred back cow, get a guarantee in writing. I bred my Jersey to my angus bull to help with milk fever complications but will AI with Jersey semen at some point for a replacement heifer. I also have Keeping the Family Cow and some other books on the subject. While Keeping the Family Cow has a lot of information I find it is broad but not very deep, but there really isnt any other book that I have found that compares to it. It is a worthwhile investment. My Jersey is a lot of fun and very calm. She leads around like a horse, loves to be brushed and scratched, and stands calmly to be milked. I love the Jersey breed compared to the angus crosses I have. She's smaller and friendlier. Really like a very big and opinionated dog :)
     
  9. BlessedMom

    BlessedMom Well-Known Member

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    We can easily go through more than 1 gallon day. I do feed extra or "damaged" milk to our hogs and chickens. Really, I want the cow for the cream, to make butter and cheese. I already make goat cheese, which doesn't even last the day here. We will probably have more children here in the next few months.
    I'm open to a Dexter or Jersey from what I am hearing. We don't have much land, as I said earlier. We'd have to build a shed for her also. Is it difficult to do AI? Could your breed either of this to an Angus and it would be okay?
    How long do their calves take to get up to a point you want to slaughter?
     
  10. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    tMost folks raise an animal 2 years then harvest for meat. Usually with steers, Heifers work for meat as well, but generally too valuable as cows to put them in freezer. An interesting sidenote, the French people prefer to harvest steers at 4-5 years of age. Very different than North American customs.
    *****As to AI breeding, probably find willing party in your area who has correct supplies to do that for you. Choosing breed to cross to your cow depends on your goals. If you want production out of next generation, may want to stick with a dairy breed. Otherwise, Angus should work on a Jersey. Would defer to Dexter owners as to whether works with them. In the early years, we bred our dairy cows to Hereford, amd were pleased with the results.
    P.S. I'm sure Dexter is a fine cow as well, but when push comes to shove you may want to buy what's available in your price range.
     
  11. JulieLou42

    JulieLou42 Well-Known Member

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    If in eastern WA, try ~

    1] In Hayden, Idaho for Dexters, Celestial Farms:

    http://users.adelphia.net/~ricards/Front Page.htm

    2] Near Lapwai, Idaho...Greg and Angela Dillon

    http://www.minicattlecountry.com/

    3] Near Sandpoint, you can find Milking Devons, but I haven't got that one bookmarked...or I've lost it when we shifted ISP's last year, is probably the case.

    Hope this is helpful to you. I'm in Idaho County.
     
  12. JulieLou42

    JulieLou42 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    502
    Joined:
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    Location:
    North Central Idaho, Zone 5
    If in eastern WA, try ~

    1] In Hayden, Idaho for Dexters, Celestial Farms:

    http://users.adelphia.net/~ricards/Front Page.htm

    2] Near Lapwai, Idaho...Greg and Angela Dillon

    http://www.minicattlecountry.com/

    3] Near Bonners Ferry, Idaho for the American Milking Devons

    Mike and Vicki Tymrak
    Birch Run Ranch
    P.O. Box 644
    Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
    208-267-3733
    mtymrak@dmi.net

    Hope this is helpful to you. I'm in Idaho County and have a 3/4 GuernseyxRed Angus that's very gentle, well-behaved milker...
     
  13. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    Blessed Mom,

    Look at the thread titled something like "dexter for sale in show low az". There is a member on there Tina.... that has three dexter heifers for sale for a good price.

    Happy Easter,

    Christina