Pros and cons of a Brown Swiss for milk

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by MaryF, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. MaryF

    MaryF Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2005
    HI all,
    A gal here might be selling her brown swiss. I went last night to help milk, and wow is she big!
    Wondering about the feed/output of milk ratio, and any other pro/con aspects to keep this pretty cow!
  2. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Dec 13, 2004
    New York
    Well, according to this one guy that owns a herd of 70+ Brown Swiss, says he does not have many problems at all with them. They dont tend to be as prone to certain things, and they seem to have a resistance to some diseases. It might just be his farm, however he doesn't get ring worm with his, much mastitis, etc. Not all Brown Swiss are docile, some are head strong. However you can get that with any breed. They are fairly content, we own one. She is very friendly, she does not have an attitude. Compared to the Holsteins, she is very laid back. Tough call, best thing to do is see how friendly she is, and if she is, it might be worth looking into. Brown swiss do live longer than most breeds, as they mature slower. Hope this helps.


  3. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    I've always like the Brown Swiss, even though I usually kept Jerseys when we were milking. The best milk cow we ever had when I was growing up was a half BS and half Charolais.
  4. VTdairy

    VTdairy Just Graduated

    Oct 15, 2005
    Hinesburg, Vermont
    I work with a few farms (as a milk tester) that have Brown Swiss. They do fairly well on milk production compared to their feed intake. The are about the size of a Holstein, but do give less milk. The milk that they do give runs higher in butterfat and protein (I commonly see 4.6% BF and 3.3% Prot for Swiss on pasture). This is good for butter and cheese production.

    I agree with Jeff's post about their personalities. Generally docile and VERY hardy.

    Another thing to think about is calves. They tend to be difficult, at best, to raise. I am taking this from experience with calves that are hand reared on bottles though, so I can't say how well they drink from mom.

    I'm partial to Swiss myself...they just seem to be an all around good animal, and very pretty too!
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    Ah yes brown swiss calves are truely boneheaded about buckets or bottles. Raised three bull claves from the neighbors once. Once was enough, took three weeks to teach them to drink from a bucket, takes a holstein calf three tries! The cows are terrific very docile (at least the neighbors cattle are) but the bulls are bulls not quite as bad as some but still you wouldn't want to take any chances with them.
  6. evermoor

    evermoor Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    Swiss are very easy going, friendly and hardy. I just spent a week taking care of 10 at a show, and still do not care for them. They tend to milk less than a holstein, eat a lot, and generally harder to breed than say a jersey. Calves are big, tend to be dumb, and dang cute. We are down to one cow and two heifers, the others left because they tend to get bad legs from all that weightand don't breed. Also seems that swiss tend to take oxytocin more. Not one of my favorites but I still love those big old cows more than holsteins and guernseys. Swiss cows generally sell well , and show heifers are in real ddemand. Be scared of any cow that doesn't calve regularly or has a bull called Jetway close up in the pedigree( fancy cows that are very hard breeders).