purchasing a cow

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by mpillow, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA
    I am seriously considering buying a family cow. Hoping some of you could help me with things to look for, questions to ask. We have had goats for 7 years so I know a little from that perspective.

    I am hoping for a Jersey but would consider a holstein cross or almost anything healthy and gentle with milk. There are lots of dairy farms here in Maine to inquire at. Hoping to not have to buy at the auction...

    My friend did pick up a Jersey at auction last Fall. She got a Jersey 8yo at the end of lactation with mastitis in one quarter. She is due to calf in July. My friend paid $300 at auction. The cow is gentle and the milk is good...I actually milked a few times. She had her vet come out and thoroughly inspect her for an add'l $100.

    Keep in mind that prices are cheaper here than in the midwest. I am hoping to get a cow for 3-500$ or a cow/calf(bull) for $600.

    What diseases should they be tested for? How much info. do you think I could get on the cows production (milk)? How do you tell age of a cow?
     
  2. Patty0315

    Patty0315 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,177
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    At auction you usually get no information unless it is being sold as a registered animal. Watch out because some will tell you what you want to hear. Jersey / Holestein crosses usually go the cheapest. Now is the time to buy . I a few more weeks prices will go up. People are running out of hay about now so may sell a few animals to make it til spring. When spring hits everyone has tons of food and want to fill there pastures.
     

  3. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

    Messages:
    14,609
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction
    If buying through a private party sale (where you have the opportunity to ask questions etc. ... which you usually don't at an auction) definitely demand a Johne's test, even if you have to pay for it yourself.

    If the dairy is in the DHIA program (or similar) the herd will be tested monthly and you should be able to get stats on milk production, butterfat content and somatic cell count (which can be an indicator of subclinical mastitis).

    I'd strongly suggest NOT buying at auction, certainly not an auction for culled stock, unless you have prior knowledge of the animal in question.

    If buying at a herd dispersal sale, be wary of the additional cows consigned by other farmers. It doesn't make sense for a dairy to sell its best stock, does it? So what you'll usually find are cows that have a history of problems of one sort or another.

    Now, depending on your purposes, this isn't necessarily a bad deal. For instance, a 3-teat cow, with proportionally lower production, might be culled from a commercial farm, but give plenty of milk for a homestead.

    The key is to know what you're buying. Good luck and have fun! Family cows are wonderful! :)
     
  4. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

    Messages:
    2,601
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Location:
    mo
    depends on what you want
    hostien crosses will give more milk potentialy,jersys are a lot higher usually then what your saying, i just saw an ANCIENT jersey bag draggin broken mouth go for over 650 at auction. you might consider jersy beef crosses,will have good beefy babies and will give a good ammount of milk with out goin over board.
     
  5. FarmerBoy

    FarmerBoy New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I would be very careful buying from an auction becuase you can't look them over and you don't know thier background and all. Your best bet for family cows would be Jersey or Holstien.hope it helps.
     
  6. FarmerBoy

    FarmerBoy New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Location:
    Oklahoma
  7. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    Brown Swiss... We bought one, but looked one over before, and they are very very relaxed animals. Jerseys can get snotty, I said CAN. Holsteins are relaxed, but Brown Swiss seem rugged, they love Hay from what I see, and are good grazing animals.

    Now a Brown swiss might go for more, they aren't as common as Jerseys or Holsteins. But they are nice decent animals. They do not mature as fast as holsteins or Jerseys, but they will live longer, due to their slower maturity.



    Jeff
     
  8. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA
    What about Ayrshires?

    My hubby has a friend nearby that has them and wants a milking goat for his mother in part trade ?

    I have read that they are fairly hardy. What of their growth and temperment?
     
  9. Matt NY

    Matt NY Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    May 28, 2002
    Location:
    New York
    They are good foragers from what I gather and are on my short list. I figure that is what I want from a cow. They are said to be on the nervous side.
     
  10. DaleK

    DaleK Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2004
    Location:
    East-Central Ontario
    My family had purebred Ayrshires for over 50 years. In the mid 90s a bull named Bonnie Brae Heligo produced such evil cattle that for ourselves and several other breeders I know, the only way we could straighten our herds around again was by crossing out to Holstein bulls. If you can find pedigrees without Heligo in them, the cattle usually aren't as bad.