Milk cow questions...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Cara, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. Cara

    Cara Songster

    Aug 30, 2007
    Since my homemade ice cream business is finally taking off, my husband is coming around to the idea of us getting a Jersey cow. Goats are a no go. I have some questions that i'm hoping someone can answer though!

    1. My father in law insists that you have to milk a cow twice a day without fail. Is this true, and if so what do you do if you have to be away for a day or so?

    2. Do you pasteurize your 'homemade' milk?

    3. What do you do with your calves?

    4. Since we live on a ranch we would be allowed to use the bulls for free each year, but the resulting calves would be a beef/dairy mix. Would we be able to sell them, and would they be any use for anything?

    5. Do you break even, ie feed prices vs calf sales and not buying dairy products?

    6. At the moment any dogies are ours to raise and sell, provided we pay for the feed. We are thinking we could also use the cow to raise orphaned calves. Is this realistic?

    7. How much milk do you get, and what do you do with the excess? (I was thinking about raising a pig on it, but DH hates pigs).
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Ok, I grew up with relatives that had the largest dairy farm in another state at that time. So, I can kinda help you with some of your questions:

    1) Yes, you have to milk twice a day without fail... ever. If you go away you have to have someone come in and milk for you.

    2) My Aunt never pasteurized their/our milk. It went from the cow to the table or frig. However, if you are going to use it for anyone else there are almost certainly laws in your state that you will need to find and follow.

    3) My Uncle kept all heifers and sold all bull calves. People either bought them to raise for meat or ??? who knows what else.

    4) Pretty much any cattle can be used for meat purposes and that's probably what you would do.

    5) Sorry - no help here.

    6) Yes, you can use a cow to raise an orphaned calf IF the cow accepts the calf (some do and some don't). However, if you are raising a calf on her then you lose that milk for your ice cream. I wouldn't think this would be something you would want to do but I may be missing something here.

    7) Oops, missed this one - edited. I can't help you here either.

    I'm sure people with personal experience will chime in here and give you lots of great advice and help.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  3. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    Quote:1.yes the cow has tobe milked 2x a day during her lactation.not milking her out completely can result in mastitis. friends never pastureized their milk.but if you try to sell would prolly have to pastureize it.but most states have laws against selling milk from fam cows.
    3. sell the bulls calves at 3 days old.less you want to raise your own meat.jersey x beef heifers can be raised an milked.they make good cows.
    4.see 3
    5.yes most likely you would.because youd have milk for ice cream drinking an butter.feed cost would be about $12 a week.hay would be about $20 a eek in winter.3 to 4 gal milk a day cost about $1.50 a gal.
    6.yes you can use her as a nurse cow to raise baby calves. peak a jersey cow would give 4 or 5 gal a day more or thats giving her 12 to 15lbs of feed a can give the excess milk to dogs cats piggs can make butter an ice cream.a pound of butter would use 8 to 10lbs raw milk.a gal of ice cream would use close to a gal of milk.
    answered by a retired dairymen.
  4. Parson's Wife

    Parson's Wife Blessed Abundantly

    Jan 22, 2008
    I agree with chirpy in general.
    On #5 & #7
    The price of feed is really high now. Course in the summer, hopefully you have lots of good grass. Don't forget to add in the cost of hay as well. But you get the benefits of milk...lots of it.
    How much milk you get depends on the type of milk cow. In general about 1 to 3 gallons a day.
    Lots of drinking, cooking, perhaps you can sell the extra or give away.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2008
  5. Omeletta

    Omeletta Songster

    Jun 12, 2007
    Alberta, Canada
    Thanks for all the great answers! I want a family cow (shortly in the future, God-willing). Our friends jersey gave so much milk, so much cream on top, and it all got used around their place. The pigs, the chickens, them (us sometimes, yummy), and several foster calves. It was great, and I look forward to it in the future! Forearms of steel!

  6. Cara

    Cara Songster

    Aug 30, 2007
    Wow there's lots of difference in opinion LOL.

    I forgot to mention a few things. We'd probably have to keep her penned and feed her, as the pastures are way too big to bring her in twice a day if she is inclined to wander. The one that our house sits in is 800 acres, so we'd have to find and gather her horseback LOL. My father in law mentioned that we would want to keep her out of the weeds so that the milk is not tainted. We would only have to buy the hay for her.

    Can cattle eat lower grade hay than horses? The beef cattle here have alfalfa when penned just because it's what we have on hand for the horses. They spend 99% of their time on pasture.

    Do milk cows produce enough that we could raise a calf on her in the fall/winter and have enough milk for our own use (there's just 2 of us)? We'd probably only need 2-3 gallons a week.

    Presumably we can milk her and give her milk straight to a dogie if she won't allow it to suckle. They usually get a gallon a day each. What happens to a beef calf on dairy cow milk I wonder? I'd imagine they'd get huge. Sorry i'm thinking out loud!
  7. spook

    spook Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    North Central Florida
    I'll tell you a bit of a story about making sure you milk a cow at roughly the same times each day, 5 am and 5 pm for example, during the ice storm of '98 most farmers lost their herds of cows due to lack of milking.
    Personally, if they had gone out and released the pressure in the udder and atleast warmed snow/ice on a wood stove, then they could have saved them.
    The farm I "grew up on" around the corner from the house, when the generator broke, we stood in the parlor and hand milked with a hollow tube- like a dialator, and drained the girls because we didn't want to heat the bulk tank up with fresh milk.
    You want to look into diseases, magnets, mastitis, stepped on teats, sun burns in spring-oh yeah they do if they are a light skinned cow/udder. Shots, rabies to flu shots, hoof trimming if she doesn't walk them off enough, split hooves, rocks in them and artificle breeding costs and problems.
    You say problems with breeding? Yes, we had 1 bull on the sheet that was chosen as sire to the girls, with artifical insemination, when the delivery date was due, we watched to find that after the first calf died, and expelled, the 2nd one happened, the vet was contacted...its the bull that carries the enzyme that begins the dialation of the cow to begin calving. Needless to say, we never chose just one cow to sire those in heat at the same time.
    Cows aren't awful to have, just that there is a lot that you may not care to deal with. Oh, and when she first comes into milk if she is a first calf heifer...she is going to kick the ever loving daylights out of you!!!!!!!!!! It huuuuurts!
    Also, we used to leave dishes of minerals and vites for the cattle , they will either eat it or not, if they don't, they are fine.
    I hope you look at the pros and cons, expenses, probably go to a farmer and ask him what it would be the best bet.
    Good luck and I do love cows, all those things I mentioned was in a time line of MANY years and herds of 250. (here in the East where I live, that is a big number- not like out west!)
    Blessings for all you decide!
  8. CindyS

    CindyS Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    Geneseo, Illinois
    Cows actually need better hay than horses, high quality alfalfa with high protien. Protien is what makes high milk production. You can probably get enough for you and a couple calves if she has good breeding. there are alot of differences in cows. You will need to milk her to feed the calves if you want some for yourself also. You want her to let her milk down for you. If she is motherly to a calf she will hold it for the calf. you will get some milk but not all of it.
  9. spook

    spook Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    North Central Florida
    Another thing not at all important, but with Holsteins (that is all I know) if they have twins, they are cute, is always sterile. We never kept a twin(s) because its 2 years before you can find out if they or she can be bred and that is a lot of emotion and cost.
    Oh and cows can come down with "milk fever" prior to calving and just after, you call the vet or learn how to do your own IV.
    We took the calf away at birth, let momma clean up the calf and we would milk her by hand to give the thick yellow colostrum to the calf (for immunity) for 3 days, then according to the color, you can then use her milk. Oh- hard wood shavings will give them udder infections!
  10. CindyS

    CindyS Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    Geneseo, Illinois
    There is a problem with twins only if one is a female and one is a male, the female will be sterile. the male will be fine. 2 males or 2 females no problem. also this problem is with all cattle, not just holsteins.

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