tractable cows w/ low output?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by salamander, Feb 19, 2005.

  1. salamander

    salamander New Member

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    Is there a breed of dairy cattle with kind natures and a moderate to low milk production? I have toyed with the idea of getting a cow, but it's just me and hubby, and he's so picky I don't kid myself he'll eat anything I make from fresh milk (he's a store-bought junkie...).

    So a friendly cow who might grow some veal for me while sharing milk w/ the household is what I think can work. I am not interested in the savage, wild nature of tiny, hairy hibernian/caledonian cattle who moonlight as wrestlers or bodyguards.

    Maybe I should just look for a lousy jersey? I only know cows in theory, not practice. What does your greater experience recommend? TIA!
     
  2. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    Jerseys make nice home cows. We've had several that we got from friends who run a jersey dairy. They were sound cows with good udders but with low production, usually two or three gallons a day. If you don't need the milk from two milkings, just milk once a day, leave the calf on her during the day and seperate them at night and milk again the next morning.
     

  3. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

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    You could get a Jersey and her calf. Let the calf have her until you want milk. Pull the calf and milk her, then put them back together.
     
  4. Gwendolyn

    Gwendolyn Domestic Diva

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    The Shorthorn has a very nice temperment and a relativly low milk out put as far a milkers go, they are a duel purpose breed, bred for milk and meat. Guernsey cows are also very even tempered, but can give a bunch of milk. With a calf at her side and no overly fed on grain her milk output could be managable. I would own and milk either of these breeds in a heartbeat. I grew up on a dairy and these were the cows we milked, or in ohio dairy speak..melked :eek:
     
  5. pjd

    pjd Well-Known Member

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    My grandparents always milked herefords. They raised beef cattle for a living and kept a few at the house for milking. They are gone now so I can't ask about production, I know it was low, but the milk tasted fine. The butter was not as good as my aunt's jersey butter. I have not seen mention anyone milking a beef cow, but they just wanted some for the family, usually about 2 gallons per day. They milked in the morning only.
     
  6. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The Dexter is a great choice to meet your requirements. They are the most gentle, easy to handle cattle and their milk output won't overwhelm you. Dexters make great beef, also. I just had a Dexter sirloin and it was delicious and tender.

    Dexters will provide a gallon or more of milk a day after the first calf. Some produce up to two and a half gallons, but that's unusual.

    They don't suffer from mastitis like Jerseys so you can milk the amount you want and the cow will adjust her production downward. It's easier on the hands if they don't overproduce.

    A Dexter will probably become a family pet, also. They have wonderful personalities.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  7. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    There are also Milking Devons,, are good all around cattle. Milk (for the cows of course), meat and the steers make good oxen.
     
  8. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    It's a misconception that Jerseys suffer from mastitis solely because they are Jerseys. It's the modern dairy lifestyle that sets them up for mastitis. A house Jersey who isn't milked half to death, fed umpteen pounds of concentrates a day and forced to live in an unnatural environment where she shares the germs of 200 other cows isn't likely to suffer from mastitis.
     
  9. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

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    Research has shown that milk yield is positively correlated with susceptibility to mastitis, although this correlation is very low (+.1 to +.13) and not breed specific.

    Mastitis is much more likely to be caused by improper sanitation of milking equipment; improper or insufficient of cleaning udder and teats prior to milking; IMPROPER MILKING PROCEDURES; failure to use a good barrier teat dip; and lack of cleanliness in the cow's environment (mud and manure).

    High-producing cows that are kept in clean conditions, prepped for milking properly, milked properly and dipped after milking are also unlikely to suffer from mastitis. Blaming the feeding of grain and concentrates is bullsh*t, but some people like to make commercial dairymen into the bad guys.

    One practice that makes cows susceptible to mastitis, whether machine or hand-milked is sitting forever under the cow with the claw on or hand-stripping the quarters. This makes hard milkers and slow milkers that are much more susceptible to mastitis.

    I'd be willing to bet if you took SCS on 100 house cows and compared to 100 cows from commercial dairies, you'd find that the house cows had higher SCS scores on average, and that's much more highly correlated with susceptibility to mastitis.

    Don't know why anyone would call Jerseys lousy, in theory or practice. Jerseys would be excellent for family cow (very high butterfat in the milk), but the Shorthorn cow will produce a better-growing calf for butchering.
     
  10. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    No, just the commercial dairymen who choose profit over the health and longevity of their animals and ultimately the health of the humans who consume their product.
    It can't be disputed that cows fed what nature intended live longer heathier lives.
    It also can't be disputed that the milk and meat from these cows is much healthier for people, which is really the bottom line.
    I'm not trying to be nasty. I'm just disgusted with food production in this country and the total disregard for human health in favor of commercial gain. I'm a critical care nurse. I've studied human as well as animal nutrition for years. I see the morbidity and mortality (translate - actual misery and suffering of patients and families) up close every day that is a result of this disregard. It's very frustrating.
     
  11. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

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    People who are in business are there to make a profit. You can believe what you want, but for some farmland and parts of the country, a grazing dairy operation is not profitable.

    Second, why would you necessarily assume that health and longevity are inconsistent with profits. Certainly not always the case and not everyone who dairies for a living is milking 1000 cows in a parlor.

    Grazing dairies and grass-fed beef has what vs. grain fed: more beta-carotene (maybe twice as much), more vitamin E (maybe at most 3x as much), more CLA (Isn't there a debate about whether higher amounts of CLA are good for you), and a higher ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids? I believe I can get these nutrients in green and yellow vegetables, salmon and flaxseed as well, correct?

    Good nutrition is not incompatible with eating grain-fed milk and beef. But I guess all of the health problems in this country are from this evil grain-fed milk, not from the general poor diets of Americans (not to mention smoking and drinking) and their almost total lack of exercise. If more people got off their *sses and worked up a sweat on a regular basis.

    I responded to your comment about mastitis, but I got the standard grass-fed rant.
     
  12. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    Seems like you're the one with the "rant" - not me.



    And note I said "food production" not "evil grain-fed milk production"
     
  13. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    deleted - double post
     
  14. Wanda

    Wanda Well-Known Member

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    Some people would consider this a ''rant'' over concentrate (grain) fed as oposed to a natural (grass) environment. Or were you speaking literaly that we should provide no water or shelter, fencing, vet care or other things that are not naturally ocuring?
     
  15. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    How does believing that animals and humans are better off eating what God designed them to equate to me possibly believing that I shouldn't practice good animal husbandry?
     
  16. Wanda

    Wanda Well-Known Member

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    When you state ''forced to live in an unnatural environment'' it leaves it open to interpratation!!! Minamal inputs means differant things to differant people.
    My cattle are well fed and cared for but seldom see the inside of a barn other than when being veted or sorted, some people would consider that as unnatural. Range cattle are raised that way by the millions and it seems natural to me. Did God design cattle to have waterers, fences and vet care?????
     
  17. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    Wanda, your logic escapes me. If you read my original post you will see I was talking about Jerseys in a dairy setting.

    Salamander, sorry your thread got hijacked. I think a Jersey or Dexter would suit your needs. Probably be better if you could find a smaller Jersey or a Jersey/Dexter cross rather than one of the humongous Jerseys you see so often these days (We have one of those, she eats like you wouldn't believe.)
     
  18. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

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    God didn't design today's cattle. That was the hard work of people trying to make a living out of meat and milk. That's the bottom line. This trend continues today, driven by profit. It is not a greed or selfishness thing, but rather a need to get dinner on the table and maintain a roof overhead. I am a student at Cornell University, where I am studying animal science. The program focuses on the use of farm animals to generate an income, from artificial insemination to embryo transfer; herd management and genetic manipulations. This is modern agriculture. I am not promoting the use of hormone injections to increase meat and milk production, and antibiotics as a preventative to diesase. Rather, I think that agriculture has taken such a leap forward on the genetic side of the spectrum that we can once again pay attention to nature and raise our farm animals in an ecologically sound manner, while stil managing to obey the rule of the bottom line.

    justgojumpit
     
  19. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A jersey is a big milk producer. If all the milk is not taken, she can suffer mastitis. A jersey is not a good candidate for once-a-day milking.

    I had a beautiful little Dexter/Jersey calf here. Her mother was a purebred Jersey, grass fed and not milked. The calf was her only milk consumer. She died of mastitis.

    Another Jersey cow accepted the calf along with her calf. She had no problems.

    We're hoping that the Dexter/Jersey heifer will be a modest producer without the problem of mastitis.

    I read a lot of Dexter forums and haven't heard of any Dexters having mastitis.

    It must be related to the quantity of milk produced. It seems to be more prevalent in heavy producers. Modest producers don't seem prone. Low producers, like beef cattle, don't seem to suffer from it at all.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  20. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

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