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I am a Christian American
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Dh has decided it would not be too bad to have a milk cow ( I think Cyndi and Paul Mullers jersey milk turned him around!) So, what are some things i should be looking for in a milk cow. This would be for ourselves and family only, and we have decided to go for a jersey or a swiss. Any suggestions would be really appreciated.
 

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I would tend to lean towards a swiss, unless you got your hands on a really good Jersey. The swiss will outlast the Jersey, they have strong feet and legs, they are rugged. Swiss are also a dual purpose breed of sorts. You could breed a swiss to a beef, and end up with something you could slaughter. The one down side to swiss, is the fact the calves can be very tricky. The trick however with them, unless you choose to let the calf suck, is to take the calf away as soon as its on the ground. Swiss do have a big appetite, but so do some Jerseys. We have a Jersey that eats about as much as a holstein and she tested in June at 74lbs, then here a couple days ago at 68lbs. She is only getting 10lbs of grain a day. If I went balls to the wall with grain (20) she probably would up to 80. She over conditions, simply because she eats wayyy too much.

We have a swiss, she didn't produce heavy, however swiss do take a while to reach their peak. It isn't uncommon for a swiss to go to 12-15yrs of age, and still be milking.

If it were me, I would buy a swiss. I could breed it to either a swiss bull, or simply breed to a beef (angus, hereford, etc) and have something to eat. The swiss we have is very gentle.

Jeff
 

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I am a Christian American
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jeff, thanks so much for answering!

So what do you think is a good age to look for and any physical signs I should be careful of or specifically look for?
 

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FYI, I prefer Jersey milk to Swiss milk and breeding a Jersey to an Angus produces a very nice beef. We prefer straight Jersey beef for flavour, but there is more beef on the carcase if its a beef cross.
 

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Well what my prefrence is, is a heifer that will calve out x months down the road. Something that can get used to you before she milks. This way you aren't taking a cow, that has been milking and stress her by switching routines. A heifer will adjust to your feeding program faster, and wont have the hit on production. Also your not gaining the possibility of a cow with problems.





Jeff
 

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I am a Christian American
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, interesting info. Some things I had not thought of.
 

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Trish,
Make sure she is TB & bruceloesis (sp) free. Also get her checked for Johne's Disease BEFORE bringing her home. We got Dolly at 4 years old. She already had 2 easy births under her belt.

She came from a hand milked farm but adjusted willingly to the belly milker.

If you get a cow in milk, be sure you taste her milk to be sure you like it.

If you get a heifer calf, know that you will have up to 2 years before she starts producing. Make sure you NEVER get a heifer from a twin birth.

Check udder & teat size. (You know what to look for in udders & teats from your goats) Some Jerseys have very little teats - hard to milk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ok, now to find either a swiss or jersey for a reasonable price within 100 miles or so. We are on the stateline of south central wisconsin and illinois. Any ideas????
 

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Find the feed mill(s) that service New Glarus and Monroe, WI. area. Ask the counter person or manager if they know of dairy farms they deliver feed to that may have dairy stock for sale. Ask if it's ok to post your "wanted" info on their bulletin board. There are Swiss herds in that area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
OOO, that's a really good idea! I have a friend who is a feed dealer/salesperson, I bet she knows someone. Never even thought of that. Thanks Up North
 
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