Jersey Cows

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by amyfamily, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. amyfamily

    amyfamily Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 27, 2012
    I would like to get started in Jersey Cows. Mostly for milking.. Now how do I get started. I have done research on the breed. How do I find a reputable breeder? I am in CA? I did a google search but how do I know what I am looking at? And most were from other states (which I don't mind, that s just all google came up with..)
     
  2. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, if you are completely new to dairy cows, I would suggest that you start by going to a few of your local farms and talking to the farmers about cows. Come up with a list of questions for them so you are prepared when you get there. This is the best way to learn about them. Book and the internet help, but you will learn more from a practicing farmer.

    To find a reputable breeder or farm, start with your local farmers. Ask around as they may know someone who breeds Jerseys.
    Or email/call your local Extension office or Dairy 4-H office. They are usually more than happy to help you find someone who has Jersey cows. Or you could always look up your local state veterinarian. They will know who has Jerseys plus it would be a great way to find out who your local cow Vet is.

    How many are you looking to milk?
    If you are starting out with one, then you need to make sure you have all the proper equipment, supplies, and housing BEFORE you get the cow.
    You need a milking machine (assuming you won't be doing it by hand), vacuum pump, proper storage for the milk (filter, cooling), food-grade detergents for washing up, Iodine or another type of disinfectant for the cow for before and after milking, a proper place to tie her when you milk her, and proper grain and hay as well as bedding (just to name a few things).
    If you want to start out with a whole herd (more than 1-3), then pretty much the same as above but in a much larger quantity.

    Also, if you are going to be using the milk solely for you and your family, you may want to make sure you will be using enough each week so you aren't wasting too much. Whether that means drinking it raw, or using it to make cheese/butter/yogurt etc. Because raw milk, high quality, will last 7-10 in the fridge before it will go bad. It doesn't last weeks like pasteurized store milk.
    And if you plan to sell raw milk or raw milk products, be sure you do the proper research to see if its allowed in your state. Some states banned it, others require you to be licensed and state inspected, others don't require anything and you can do as you please.

    Hope that helps. Feel free to message me if you want.
    I was born and raised on a 100 cow dairy in Maine. We sold most of our cows last fall and are now milking about 12-15 and still sell to a local dairy. I am in the process of building a new dairy barn and processing facility to set up my own farm where I make and sell my own products :)
     
  3. WallabyOfChaos

    WallabyOfChaos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2012
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    My Coop
    If you are completely new to keeping dairy cattle it is important to remember that they are a serious commitment. The cow must be tended to twice a day - no exceptions. When we had a Jersey nurse cow I usually took about a gallon for us morning and evening, and then let her calf in to have the rest. If we had enough milk in the house I let the calf have all it wanted and then milked out what was left for the barn cats and chickens. I did use some of the cream to make our own butter, but I never tried making cheese or soap.

    As learycow said, I would start my cow search with some of the local dairies in your area. There is a good chance that one of them may have a few nice, gentle adult cows for sale that do not produce enough volume for a commercial operation but are more than adequate for a family cow.
    Here is the list of dairies in Califonia from the Jersey Directory listed on the American Jersey Cattle Association's website:
    http://www.jerseydirectory.com/?=UnitedStates/States/CA/
     
  4. amyfamily

    amyfamily Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 27, 2012
    Thank you so much for the replies and advice! We are thinking of starting out with 2.. I am researching like crazy and in the process of plans drawing for their area.
     
  5. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Be sure to give them plenty of space if you are going to keep them outside.
    Even 2 animals will make a huge mud hole if they don't have enough space to roam and poop!

    I have a draft horse and 2 beef cows that I keep at my house (I am in the process of building my own barn so the rest of my cows are at my parents farm). Last winter they had free range of about 1 1/2 acres. They only used about a half an acre space closest to the stalls and round bale. Come spring time, it was a MESS. So I opened up another acre of pasture for them and put their hay in that part. The stall area dried right up and grass re-grew. So it is much better and less messy if you can plan enough space for them to move them if you have a muddy area you want to dry up or re-plant.
     
  6. amyfamily

    amyfamily Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 27, 2012
    We have almost 2 acres that we are starting with. But our property buds up agains a family members 240+ acres. We are hoping to rent/buy more pasture space eventually but it will be a year or so before we are able
    To do that.
     

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