Lots of dairy cow questions *Update*

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Hound, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. Hound

    Hound Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After three years of dairy goats, my husband has suddenly come round to the idea of a milk cow. Why I do not know, but i'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. He would like to get me one for Christmas, not necessarily actually at Christmas though, we may wait until the spring.

    The first question I have is which breed? We live on a large cattle ranch in NM, but she will not be mixing with the beef cattle. There is plenty of grazing, but I think we'll keep her penned on hay when she's in milk so that we won't have off tasting milk.

    I have narrowed it down somewhat. I know I absolutely do not want a Holstein or a Dexter. I want good rich milk that I can use for a variety of things including my homemade ice cream. We don't have a family, there's just the two of us.

    I think my first choice would be a Guernsey, I am somewhat familiar with them after growing up in England. I have read about their calving ease in comparison to a Jersey, and thriftiness when grazing. Is this accurate in your experience? I also like the slightly larger size.

    My second choice would be a Jersey. My concern with Jerseys is calving problems.

    I'm also interested in Brown Swiss, I love their appearance but I think they may be too large and eat too much. I'm not a big person, and an 800lbs cow may be easier to deal with than a 1500lb one, although either could wipe me out if they wanted!

    The other breeds are most likely too hard to find in this area and too expensive. I don't need a registered cow. The nearest dairy communities are 3-4 hours away as it is.

    I think I want a cull cow rather than a calf or heifer. A top-of-the-range cow is too expensive. I think i'd be happy with an oldish cow that I could keep a heifer from to eventually replace her. The chances of me being able to ship an old cow are slim to none though, I just don't think I could do it. I don't want to wait 2 years for milk and then also run the risk of losing my heifer to calving, or find she won't settle. It would be nice to have a calf to handle a lot, but I think the pros of having a cow outweigh the cons. Would you agree?


    We do have beef bulls (Hereford/Red Angus/Longhorn/Gelbvieh composite), but I think i'd rather have her AI'd for a purebred calf. In very rough terms how expensive is this, and what is the price difference between sexed and non-sexed semen? Would it be within the realms of possibility to breed a Guernsey to one of our beef bulls?

    Thanks so much!

    PS PLEASE don't recommend I go to BYH instead. I already tried that and activity is slim to none.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

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  3. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    We had a Jersey/guernsey cross as one of our milk cows when I was growing up. Jersey's are on the smaller side as a rule, but still give lots of rich milk.
     
  4. seymore0626

    seymore0626 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have three girls, two reg. jerseys and a jersey/guernsey cross. They all calved this year with little or no help, but there is a huge difference in the mik. The cross puts a yellow cream line on the milk that is out of this world. The other two have much less cream that is not as golden, but probably still much better than other breeds. However, the cross, the lovely Marianna, is a pill to milk and prefers to be a nurse cow. I've dealt with her bad behavior for over a year since her milk was so, so good . We actually milk the other two in less time than it takes to milk her. I'm letting a neighbor use her as a milk cow for awhile, and even though she is a [email protected]#$#, I don't want to sell her. When she lets down well, she out produces the other two. I don't think her temperment has anything to do with the breeding, and I am hoping for a heifer this year that will produce like she does.

    Jayne
     
  5. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was reading and thought that the Milking Devon sounded good if we ever get to our Some Day plans...
     
  6. Hound

    Hound Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2010
    Thanks, that helps a lot. I highly doubt I will find a Guernsey cow in the right price range anywhere near here, so a Jersey would probably be a better choice, at least I might be able to check out more than one if needs be to find the right cow. I'd imagine if I did find a Guernsey it would be a case of buying that specific one or going with another breed. Most dairy cows within 300 miles of here are Holsteins, Jerseys, Holstein/Jerseys or Dexters (which aren't strictly dairy cows). I just don't want the amount or kind of milk a Holstein produces, and I do not like Dexters.

    Does anyone have a very general idea of how much it costs to AI a cow? I mean under $200, under $500, or more like $1000?
     
  7. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

  8. seymore0626

    seymore0626 Out Of The Brooder

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    Just bred all three girls with sexed semen from Action (Jersey bull), and it cost $70/cow, and that included insemenation.
     
  9. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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  10. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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