Here's two new members of our farm: Bessie and Daisy.
Bessie (on the left) is an open yearling and Daisy (on the right) is about to give birth to her first calf. We sold our crotchety old jersey and are excited to have these new faces on the farm.
New jerseys - rejoice with us! :)
Very pretty. When I was in high school my Holstein (misspelled) cow was one of my favorite pets. She would even lay her head in my lap when I would sit down in the pasture. I am now 22 years out of school and moved back to the farm and I have her daughter and grandson as pets. Dot is huge and I hope she has a heifer.
Congrats on your new animals. Are they both friendly? The anticipation of a new baby is always fun. Let us know.
They are quite friendly and not skittish, but not yet ready to let me touch them. They come within 10 feet of me but no closer. My goal is to be able to touch them this week and then it should be smooth sailing. Milk cows sure make great pets!
Good looking animals, Dave, even if they are Jerseys. I have a little Jersey/Holstein cross - want me to box her up and send her down? She's off to the sale barn tomorrow.
Too bad we can't trade animals the way we do plants, otherwise I'd take her! My children are begging for a little heifer to raise themselves. Maybe they'll get one in a couple months. :)
We got these from the Sulphur Springs Livestock Auction last Thursday. They do dairy auctions every Thursday and most of the animals through there are Holsteins. It's surprising what a quantity of dairy animals are out there in north Texas. Probably 90% holstein, 5% Jersey and the rest are "others" like Guernsey, Swiss, etc.
We chose jersey for the higher butterfat content and the smaller size animal. Also, the teats on the holsteins just seem too small for hand milking.
I'm planning on further breeding them using AI and semen from the Normandy breed.
even if they are Jerseys
LOL, Kathleen! I think Jerseys are beautiful. :-) (Of course I've never had a cow, so I'm probably not a very good judge...)
Nice looking heifers. And what looks like a real good udder attachment on the springer. Looks like she may not be too far off freshening. Are they registered?
Looks like she may not be too far off freshening.
Hopefully not for another month! :)
Are they registered?
Not that I'm aware of.
I think you've got a little time, although moving around can sometimes 'move' things around.
Trading cattle like plants - there's a concept.
Could be. Looks like she's dropped in the pins a little though. I'd like to see a little more swelling in that udder if she's fixing to do anything really soon. Ten days plus or minus is always the rule we use. But then we always had a breeding date when we were milking the little darlings.
Isn't a Normandy one of those that look sort of like a Holstein?
Could be. Looks like she's dropped in the pins a little though.
What does "dropped in the pins" mean? (Pardon my ignorance!)
I'd like to see a little more swelling in that udder if she's fixing to do anything really soon. Ten days plus or minus is always the rule we use. But then we always had a breeding date when we were milking the little darlings.
I was told she was 7+ so I'm not expecting anything for a couple months yet.
In cow terms the hips are referred to as "hooks", the bones in which the tailhead rests between are referred to as pins. In judging cattle confirmation you want heifers to have a little slope from hooks to pins meaning that the pin bones are a little lower than the hips when she walks or stands still. Having this slope usually results in an easier calving animal. When a cow is getting ready to freshen you'll see a little dip between the hooks and pins due to the muscles starting to relax and the body getting for the impending birth. You'll hear dairyman refer to it as dropped in the pins. Likewise you'll see the vulva starting to swell and the udder starting to make up. You've got the vulva swelling already. It may swell more before she drops the calf.
Seven plus months bred could mean anything from two months to two weeks off a due date. Or tomorrow. Heifers will sometimes bag up a little real early in gestation and fool you though. The main thing is that she does appear to be bred. I'd just keep her up near the house so you can keep a close eye on her.
What an interesting thread, and "cow lesson", KyDaylilylady! I never knew all that about hooks and pins either. Wish I had room to raise a cow (or two), mainly because I can see how they can easily become a pet that pays its rent.
Dave, you're moving right along on that new farm, enjoying/learning about pasturing, cows and milking, etc...I'm jealous! Now you need a horse to ride the range on while supervising your cattle, checking fence lines, etc.
Congrats Dave! We are looking for a Jersey or cross. Did Sulphur Springs have a large offering of Jerseys or did you have to go more then once? Do I need to take a trailer to the auction or can they be picked up another day? How much back ground info do you get with an auction? Are the prices much cheaper then purchasing from and individual?
Janet, thank you for all this helpful information! I'm glad I posted this thread now with all the new things I have learned.
Here is some info on the Normande breed (I think I misspelled it earlier): http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle/normande/index.htm
I know two people in different parts of Texas (College Station and Chandler) who have Normandes and they love them.
Shoe - I'm glad to see you in this thread. :)
cocoa_lulu, I'll send you a detailed dmail with the info I have on the sulphur springs auction.
I'm trying to figure out how to levitate that little heifer from Kathleen's farm in NY, to my little farm in Missouri..
oh well, another year or two and I will be ready for "my" milk cow.
I went out late this afternoon with a bucket and some sweet feed to try starting to make friends with the girls. Well, it went very well! When I presented the bucket of feed and shook it a little, Bessie was indifferent at first but Daisy (the springer) instantly recognized what I had and made a "Bee Line" over to where I was standing.
She straightaway dipped her head into my shallow bucket and started eating. While she was doing that I slowly and gently started petting her head and her back. The longer it went on and more comfortable she became. I nearly couldn't get back out of the pasture as she was following me so closely for more!! It was definitely a successful start at making friends.
Anyway, while I was petting her head I went to scratch around her horns. She has very short horns that are flat at the end. Much to my surprise, the horn that I touched is loose! It feels like if I grabbed it I would have been able to pull it off. Has anybody ever heard of this before? I'm wondering if she has had her horns treated with caustic paste or something to dehorn her?
Dave and family congrats on the new members! they are adorable!
Glad you got to pet them. Hope the kids can soon too! We had cows
when i was growing up -never did the milk thing though ;)
No idea on the horn thingy
Dave, Stan says the caustic paste is a possibility, or rubber bands or possibly they were burned (he dehorned calves and heifers for years.). He also says if they aren't growing, don't worry about them. If it falls off, it falls off.
Oh, and now a lecture about petting cows' heads - DON'T DO IT. Maybe an occasional scratch on the crown, but if you're going to pet a cow, pet its side, scratch its back, rub your hand along its belly. Cows who get their heads scratched become butters, trying to get more more more.
We had a buck whose horns would do the same thing. We bought him at 6 months old so I'm not sure of the method used to remove his horns as a kid. But his horns would grow about 3" and then would become loose. He would rub his head on the doorway and the unfortunate tree in his pen. He would rub them right off; leaving a bloody small stump and streaks of blood running down his face :-( We would have to spray blue cote on them. Not sure why this would occur.
I've say it was the dehorning paste or the hot iron that gave you the little nub. That's not uncommon on either one if the paste got rubbed off or didn't have enough applied to the horn bud or if the iron wasn't hot enough or wasn't applied long enough. My father used to give the calves a shot of novicaine to each horn bud before he dehorned them with the electric dehorners. It was a lot less stress on the baby calf and him too.
I'll have to say that I am a chronic head scratcher. Kathleen is right though. Some cows will try to rub against you or possibly butt you to get you to do more scratching but usually after I swatted them a few times they learned that wasn't acceptable behavior. Probably the best thing though is to not start the practice. Course most of the girls that got scratched were the show heifers and cows and were spoiled horribly anyway.
You might want to consider breaking the heifers to lead. It could be nice just to walk out, grab a halter and head for the barn.
I'll take your advice on the petting the head. Thankfully I only did it one time with Daisy and I won't ever do it again.
I'm shopping around for a good halter right now. Getting the halter on will be the trick. :-)
Dave, Thanks for the auction info. We are going to go check it out after Thanksgiving. Keep us posted on the new girls, please. I have a lot to learn and will be watching. Are you going to feed grain or grow a substitute?
You're very welcome. Post what you find when you go to the auction!
Are you going to feed grain or grow a substitute?
I'm giving very small amounts of sweet feed and 20% range cubes during the hopefully brief training period. After that, no more.
We have 90 acres, about 50 acres of which is pretty good bahia pasture. Our goal is to have a rotational grazing system. I currently have 20 good quality round hay bales to get them through the winter, and I have seeded wheat into the pasture for additional winter grazing.
I also sowed about half an acre of wheat into a plowed field that I fenced off. The harvest from that will provide our family wheat needs as well as enough to seed the pastures again next fall.
We're also growing a lot of brassicas that will supplement them starting in late December and January.
My plan is to never buy any feed for them.
Just put the nose opening of the halter over the bucket with feed in it. While she's eating put the strap over behind her ears and buckle it. If she's as greedy as you say she'll never realize that she's been haltered.
We are wanting to raise our as Self-Substainable as possible too. Dave, if you find yourself supplementing, please let me know. I would like to keep notes, what works, what doesn't.
Our situation is a bit different. We have same amount of acreage, yet we lease our land out to run beef cattle (on rotated pasture). They pay us a yearly fee, bale and maintain fences as well as doing any dozer work needed around here.I'm not sure our hay bales will ever be enough for dairy, they are cut with beef cows in mind and I can't really ask our leasers to do any differently.
We have about six acres fenced off from the other pastures. I like this area, it's close to the house where milking would be easier. Pond pump irrigation is already in place for this acreage. What we are thinking is we could plant winter rye (spring grazing), kale (winter grazing) and mangels in different fenced off areas. I assume with mangels that I would have two growing seasons, like regular beets, But I don't know for sure. I would allow daily grazing just long enough each day for optimum nutrition and the rest of the time she could be turned out on the pastures with the beef cows......Question, Would this be enough land to support 1 or 2 jerseys. If so how do I measure that they are getting enough to maintain health and milking and avoiding bloating. Is this a pragmatic plan?
Since the beef cows come and go yearly, I'm not sure if I would be more prone to diseases. I plan to ask the vet, but would welcome any opinions on this. I wonder if pasteurization of the milk would become an absolute must if she's near other "come and go" cows.
Sorry, didn't mean to be so long winded. Just want to make sure I'm capable of doing the right thing for my future animals.
You are going down a very similar route that we are. I'm not experienced, though, and we're learning as we go here, so I'll leave it to the experts here to critique your plans. Looks like a good start to me, though!
Do consider wheat instead of rye for the winter grazing, though. Or a mix of both. I've read that rye is less palatable than wheat. Reports are that wheat grows very well for us in this region. East Texas Seed Company sells their seed wheat in the local feed stores around here. It's a winter wheat and open pollinated. $18 for a 50lb bag, if memory serves me. I just drove the truck and had a child in the back with a handheld broadcaster. We drove up and down the pasture while he broadcast seed everywhere. It was a lot of fun. :-)
Your 6 acres should have no trouble at all supporting a cow or two. I would definitely keep them away from the other livestock that you don't know and control, though.
Wheat it is then. My Mother suggested wheat as well. She's had more livestock then I'll ever have. She good for telling me what to do, but doesn't have an explanation as to why things are done the way the are. It's the "whys" that drive me crazy :0)
I got a halter from tractor supply this afternoon. I tried getting the halter on this heifer and failed. She got nervous and didn't like what I was doing. I did end up getting the back part of the halter on (the part with the buckle), though, and she's wearing it like a collar. It's a little ridiculous looking but at least I can tie a rope to her and hold her still for a while.
She accepted about 15 minutes or so of brushing without complaint. Actually, I think she was starting to enjoy the brushing, so I took the rope off and let her go.
Tomorrow with luck I'll get the halter off and try over again from the beginning. I've never put one on an animal before and this is a hard way to learn. I think a key here is going to have to be getting myself over the fear of her running me down if she gets spooked when I put the halter on.
Still, I'm very pleased with the progress I've made in only a day of working with her.
This is exciting to me! Dave, it's a whole new world, raising cows and such, eh? I bet you're having the time of your life though, and enjoying it.
"the fear of her running me down" part, I bet she chooses to back away from your if she freaks out. Of course now, if she is wearing the halter like a collar, and feels ridiculous (your words!) as she looks there is no telling.
Hope you are keeping a journal. Your new experiences would capture and hold my attention! (Hmmm...article?)
i was thinking a video would be nice ;) ;)
maybe thats how the California cows wear their halters
Dave Im sure she is waiting for you to run her over too
its new for both of you! Good luck
Wearing the halter will get her used to it & she won't notice it after a while. Only bad part of having it on all the time is the chance of getting hooked on something.
I always thought Jerseys were nice cows, but was stuck with Holsteins all my life. "Retired" from cow business about 10 years ago. At one time I milked part time for a neighbor. He had 180 to milk twice a day. Before that I worked on a farm for 4 years & we milked around 100 3X a day. There was two of us, each milking by ourselves. The other man did the 6 AM & 2 PM. I milked at 10 PM.
Not to change the subject, I heard on the radio tonight, they are trying to make it a rule if you are selling organic milk, the cows need to get 50% of their feed from pasture.
They are calling factory barns organic just because of the feed they are using. They feel are getting the wrong impression about what is organic.
Enjoy yourself, Dave.
Have a Great Day!
Dave, there's nothing wrong with having a healthy fear of cows. She weighs a great deal more than you do, and has a little tiny brain that works around food. She'll learn to think of you as the guy with the food, sweet feed now and new grass later, and will come when she sees you. Just remember, a cow is happy as long as she has a predictable routine, they are, if nothing else, creatures of habit. The easiest way to make a cow unhappy is to mess up her routine. Make sure the rut she gets into is one that you want her in.
I am so happy to follow this thread Dave. You're living the dream we hope for ourselves in about 10 years time. :)
how cute she so fluffy
What do the kids think.
names?? how fun!!!
that sure was fast!