Feeding your flock amidst of feed shortages

saysfaa

Crowing
Jul 1, 2017
936
2,020
261
Upper Midwest, USA
I didn’t mean just one cow, I actually have experience with cattle. My grandfather raises beef cattle for a living. We are thinking about a miniature Jersey though, any thoughts on that? This is what is available in our area. But I was thinking we will need a pretty hardy one, due to some pretty swampy weather in the summer. Which ones would you recommend?
Miniature tend to be a lot more expensive because so many people don't have much room or are intimidated by size.

If I were you, I would ask grandfather to breed a couple of his cows to a milky simmental or old style shorthorn (current milking shorthorn have a lot of holstein in them, and current shorthorn aren't very dual purpose anymore). A few people have been searching out forgotten straws or whatever of bulls from the seventies or so. Those straws are hard to get but sons and grandsons are more available. You have to look for them - they aren't at Select Sires yet that I know of.

My second choice of AI sire would be any of the dairy breeds - whatever has the highest udder attachment score (you will need that crossing with beef), and lowest milk production (avoids a lot of the metabolism problems). I have some bias against Jerseys because they are known for milk fever issues. And for being pocket cows - I like more stand off-ishness in cows.

If you live down south, some of the brahma breeds are pretty milky. I don't know very much about them. Evidentally longhorns can be also.

A lot of family cow people like Dutch Belted; that is a good choice. I would avoid Dexters. Good ones are a good fit but there aren't too many good ones.

If grandpa is willing, pick the cow with the best udder attachments that doesn't also have bottle teats.

If I were me, I would get a cull cow from a dairy - one culled for low production in a low production bloodline but no history of mastitis or breeding back problems. Test for Johannes, at least. Or a holstein/angus or holstein/simmental cross. Actually, I had longhorn in my plan for quite a while - and I'd dehorn or cross with a polled line... because I care about easy, avoid problems...not necessarily what most people value.

There are other good choices, I think, but I don't know much about them, murray grey, for one, maybe. I'd avoid the really rare breeds (like Randalls).
 
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U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,675
13,646
536
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Miniature tend to be a lot more expensive because so many people don't have much room or are intimidated by size.

If I were you, I would ask grandfather to breed a couple of his cows to a milky simmental or old style shorthorn (current milking shorthorn have a lot of holstein in them, and current shorthorn aren't very dual purpose anymore). A few people have been searching out forgotten straws or whatever of bulls from the seventies or so. Those straws are hard to get but sons and grandsons are more available. You have to look for them - they aren't at Select Sires yet that I know of.

My second choice of AI sire would be any of the dairy breeds - whatever has the highest udder attachment score (you will need that crossing with beef), and lowest milk production (avoids a lot of the metabolism problems). I have some bias against Jerseys because they are known for milk fever issues. And for being pocket cows - I like more stand off-ishness in cows.

If you live down south, some of the brahma breeds are pretty milky. I don't know very much about them. Evidentally longhorns can be also.

A lot of family cow people like Dutch Belted; that is a good choice. I would avoid Dexters. Good ones are a good fit but there aren't too many good ones.

If grandpa is willing, pick the cow with the best udder attachments that doesn't also have bottle teats.

If I were me, I would get a cull cow from a dairy - one culled for low production in a low production bloodline but no history of mastitis or breeding back problems. Test for Johannes, at least. Or a holstein/angus or holstein/simmental cross. Actually, I had longhorn in my plan for quite a while - and I'd dehorn or cross with a polled line... because I care about easy, avoid problems...not necessarily what most people

There are other good choices, I think, but I don't know much about them, murray grey, for one, maybe. I'd avoid the really rare breeds (like Randalls).

Query. Do naturally polled cattle have hightened frequency of low fertility, as naturally polled goats do?
 
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Regina Larsen

Songster
May 6, 2020
234
567
181
Long Island NY USDA zone 7
I didn’t mean just one cow, I actually have experience with cattle. My grandfather raises beef cattle for a living. We are thinking about a miniature Jersey though, any thoughts on that? This is what is available in our area. But I was thinking we will need a pretty hardy one, due to some pretty swampy weather in the summer. Which ones would you recommend?
We have been looking into mini jerseys. Biggest con is their shorter, narrower gut and thus higher risk of bloat. Must be kept away from fresh grass it seems. I went with NDGs instead but the mini cow topic comes up a lot in our house
 

saysfaa

Crowing
Jul 1, 2017
936
2,020
261
Upper Midwest, USA
Query. Do naturally polled cattle have hightened frequency of low fertility, as naturally polled goats do?
No

Dehorning is really low stress to the calves and easy, though, as long as you do it early enough - while the button is just a few specialized cells in the skin. And fairly so (I'd use lidocaine or something for the actual procedure) as long as it hasn't attached to the skull yet.
 
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Croft5Homestead

Chirping
Feb 15, 2021
66
166
83
Any thoughts on Brown Swiss? I know they aren’t fast with reproduction, but to me that’s a plus, for a family cow. They are supposed to be hardy, but since it’s of Swiss decent, I’m scared the southern weather won’t agree with this breed. But it can double as meat, also a plus. And I have plenty of people interested in cow shares, so I don’t think there will be excess milk. What do you think?
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,675
13,646
536
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
No

Dehorning is really low stress to the calves and easy, though, as long as you do it early enough - while the button is just a few specialized cells in the skin. And fairly so (I'd use lidocaine or something for the actual procedure) as long as it hasn't attached to the skull yet.
I'm not talking about dehorning - in goats, some are born naturally polled - which is to say - without horns. Forever. It was a trait that used to be selected for (by man - nature, obviously, does not favor goats missing their primary means of protection), but back in the middle of last century, the USDA published something about polled goats producing sterile offspring, and horns have been making a comback ever since. (except for pets)
 

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