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Country Discussion Topics
To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

Family Milking Cow
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Deb    Posted 03-05-2002 at 13:20:25       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi! We just recently bought an Amish farm and will be moving into it at the end of the month. I'm looking for some advice on a maintaining a family milking cow.
We "eventually" wanted to get a family cow but wanted to wait until we got settled. The Amish family that is moving out is selling their bred Jersey in an upcoming auction. As we are just in the process of reading up on home dairy cows, I can honestly say, we're completely "green."
Our questions are:
This cow has a reputable history and has been well taken care of, there is no worry of disease or the likes, and the cow has her "routine" already established on this farm. Would it be prudent to bid on this cow or should we wait until we're further read on the subject and risk picking one up later that may not be so reputable?
Also, she is 8 yrs old and expected to calve the beginning of June. What is a fair price for her?
And what equipment, supplies, etc would we need to immediately purchase?
Any links or any info that one may have would be greatly appreciated!!!!

Donna    Posted 03-07-2002 at 17:41:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
She sounds really nice, I would go for it, You can always keep her calf, if it is a female to replace her with later, My grandfather and I kept cows and
this is a nice age to have, She sounds like a really nice starter cow to me.

magpie    Posted 03-06-2002 at 16:38:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
I would buy her Deb, then you wont even have to hual one in. Sounds like she bight be a nice cow. If she has belonged to Amish she is probably used to being hand milked. If your green now with cows soon you wont be, best way to learn is jump in head first. You wouldn't be worring about weekends off if your buying a farm anyway. I don't milk twice a day or even everyday, I just let the calf on her when I dont want the milk. This wont net you top production but who cares. You will need a STAINLESS STEEL milk bucket with no seams, expensive but worth it. Also need stainless steel straining apparatus with the proper milk filters. Do not use plastic to milk into or store milk in. And if she steps in your bucket which she may untill you get to know each other, throw out the milk and start over next day. In this area she would go for $700. Ask what the farmer wants dicker a bit ( so you wont get a bad reputation) buy her.

Brian G. NY    Posted 03-06-2002 at 07:15:29       [Reply]  [Send Email]
When my father gave up his small farm back in the mid 50s, he kept "peaches", our very best milk cow. Now I know he kept her to provide the family with milk and butter, but I think more importantly, he kept her to teach my brother and me responsibility and to keep us busy and out of trouble. We always raised a calf and a couple of pigs too, so there was always a place to utilize the excess milk. It is a serious commitment; she has to be fed, watered and milked twice a day, EVERY day! Not too many people want to be bothered these days, but I think kids can learn a lot by taking care of animals.

Colleen Davies    Posted 12-25-2003 at 22:57:04       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Please answer a question from our family. We have a bet going on here. How many teats does a cow have??
thank you

Coaltrain    Posted 03-06-2002 at 06:49:36       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I agree with okie dokie! Also if you bought a farm that commetment is far greater than a couple amimales to tend. Deb every one does thangs dfferent that is what is so great about farming. If it were me I would figure out how to get these chores down to a science. The jersey has saved many families from stavation. Put another calf on her when she comes fresh if she has a bull calf feed it will and process him for the best most tender meat. If she has a heifer save her for replacement. Breed her back to jersey artificaly. Just my opinion. Coaltrain

Ole Cuss    Posted 03-06-2002 at 14:40:12       [Reply]  [No Email]

Good to see you are still around, coaltrain!
Haven't heard from you in awhile and was afraid you had fallen into the sorghum works.

Coaltrain    Posted 03-07-2002 at 14:37:56       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hay ole cuss good to hear from you been just working like crazy Working on the barn still got a weeding to do next and cook with the chuck wagon. Then next week a reception. Fixen to start garden soon. Butchered and cured 2 hogs 3 weeks ago. How you been doing? Coaltrain

Hal/WA    Posted 03-05-2002 at 20:02:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
I wrote a reply on 02/27/02 that you might want to read. It is on page 3 of this forum as I type this. Of course, it is just my opinion.

If you do decide you have to try the "family cow" experience, I suggest that you get a cow that is used to hand milking and also get another cow, steer or calf. Cattle are herd animals and are very lonely if they are alone. You will have much less problems keeping them in your fences if they have a buddy. Good luck, but I wouldn't do this again.

pat    Posted 03-05-2002 at 17:55:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
well heres my 2 cents ,, normally I get change back from it but any way, beings you are just moving in, and dont actually have all that much farming experience , and are contemplating buying this cow just for convenience of the cow,, I would hold off,, any cow ya buy later on will get used to your routine, and you get the same hard work, everyday twice a day everyday, in the snow twice a day,on vacations twice a day,well Its a lot of work for a lil milk with one cow, yes it takes only about 15 minutes to milk but you will be better off gatting at least one more just to give this thing company and help it stay warm and comfortable, but still 2 cows dont seem worth all the trouble, twice a day everyday,,,,,, for milk you can buy at the store for cheaper than you can milk it for, and then comes the worries of mastitis and vet bills,,,, and remember no more vacations,or late night outs or long days in the town yo must be there twice a day for your cow,,,ony way I would hold off rethink it, and if you must have a cow on the property go for a hereford or other beef breed, they keep the pasture down, still cost ya an arm and a leg but thats farming good luck

OW - calf instead    Posted 03-05-2002 at 16:00:31       [Reply]  [No Email]
Why not buy a good heifer calf instead & raise your own milker? Then you and her can learn together & everybody learns to pitch in. Like any 700 pound pet, that's the end of "weekends off". No matter who gets the flu or whatever, the cows still burn hay EVERY day. :)

Spence    Posted 03-05-2002 at 15:34:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
I agree with Okie Dokie, she's kinda old.

Jersey milk is very rich and they make a good
family cow. A cow will have his full set of eight teeth by 5 years old. After that you have to guage by the wear of the teeth.
I'd clean out the barn and hose it down and put one of those disinfectant tablets in the hose. Then open it up to the sun and air it out.
Then I'd call a vet and have her looked at to see if she's healthy. After that I'd drink the milk
straight and make butter as well. You should try to make cheddar cheese too, and maybe sell it at the fair.
I was brought up on straight from the barn milk and if you keep things clean and healthy I wouldn't worry about it. Here is what John Seymour of "The Guide to Self Sufficiency" says about Jersey's.

"Then at the opposite end of the scale there are the Channel Island breeds. Of these the Jersey
makes the best house-cow. They are small don't give as much milk as the Freisian, but is the richest milk there is. Their calves are poor beef and are practically unsaleable, but they are good to eat all the same."


mike    Posted 03-05-2002 at 13:32:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
lots of time,if you dont have this think about beef cows,much easier and much less time consuming,

Deb    Posted 03-05-2002 at 14:21:36       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Again, not to appear ignorant, but other than the actual milking (which takes 15-20 mins????), cleaning stall, processing/storing milk, what else am I missing? (I want to know exactly what we may be getting into.)

mike    Posted 03-05-2002 at 14:30:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
feeding,,calving,shots, pasture upkeep,not sure what your winters are like but need lots of fresh water,vitamin supplements,deworming program,need knowledge of diseases in your area,learn what to look for and identify problems before they spread from mother to calf,

Okie-Dokie    Posted 03-05-2002 at 14:48:18       [Reply]  [Send Email]
An 8 yr. old Jersey is not young any more, but if I was you, I would give it serious thought.I would just talk to the folks you bought the farm from and try to make a fair deal if they have not committed to a sale. That way you know your 1st milker won't carry in any new deseases and she won't have to get used to a new place. Try to learn the previous owner's routine so as not to upset her by being new owners. What is she bred back to? I have ate some pretty tastey Angus/Jersey cross steers in my time. If the calf is going to be straight Jersey and turns out to be a heifer, you will need a replacement when the mother is retired to the baloney factory any how.As for a fair price, You might check local sources as value changes with areas. Good Luck, and keep us up to snuff on your progress with your new farm.

Deb    Posted 03-05-2002 at 15:58:14       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hubby and I giving this some real thought. (That's why I'm here. You can never have enough info. :-)
She's crossed to an Angus, disease-free, and mild temperament. And I do agree, she's on the old side. Instead of rummage sales to disburse their household items or outright sell their livestock, they hold auctions. (Rather interesting, I thought.)
Anyway, we were at the farm yesterday and spent quite a bit of time there etting the layout and the mechanics down. The Jersey and his horse are already committed to the auction, so that eliminates an outright sale.
It's a super-large commitment and we want to be well-informed. Perhaps we'd be best getting a heifer later. Ah, decisions, decisions. I just know she's already there and established, which would seem like half the problem.
Also, from your post, I take it the idea of butchering the old hag for dinner table meat in a year or so would be out of the question. So what do you do with your old cows? Whom would you contact about selling or do you find an auctioneer that takes them off your hands? (This would be good to know.)

Christopher    Posted 03-06-2002 at 08:21:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
One more point,
If you get a cow please leave the calf on her unless you want to be swimming in milk, also if you do this you don't have to be so particular on milking time. Our 8 yr old jersey gives 7 gallons per day, which is way more than we can use. We leave the calf on and try to get several more calves from a dairy or someplace, an older cow should take a calf easilly so you don't have to bottle feed them, we can usually put 3 calves on her and have enough milk for all of our cheese, butter, ice cream etc. there are 10 of us, 8 kids and two adults. And plenty to sell to the neighbors to help offset the feed costs, then we sell the calves when they are ready and that more than takes care of any other costs, we raise our own hay and grain which makes it so we usually come out ahead at the end of a year, as well as have all our milk free. another $.02 worth.

Christopher    Posted 03-05-2002 at 19:33:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
The guy who said all she's worth is hamburger doesn't know what he's talking about. We have two Jerseys, one 8 years old and one heifer that we just bred. The 8 yr old is in fine shape and has many years to go before she is done for, Jerseys will last longer than other breeds, especially those Holsteins. if she has been taken care of I would say an 8 yr old cow would be the perfect first family cow, she will be much more mild and even tempered than a first freshening heifer, easy to milk and I am sure she will last many more years if you take good care of her, just watch for milk fever, ask the owners if she has had it before, contrary to popular opinion it is reversable, I have done it with our cow, if she has had it I would not buy her though. As to being tied down having to milk every day, I wouldn't have it any other way, after you see the trash these big farms are trying to label as milk you will want your own cow. I will not drink regular milk or eat regular eggs period. If you keep your milk clean and cold it will be fine and a supirior product, you can make the best butter and great cheese and the best icecream in the world! As far as price goes, around here an 8 yr old jersey (registered) would go for $1,000 easy, anything under that is a bargan if she is in good shape. You might expect to pay much less than that where you are, I have paid as low as $350 for a 4 yr old on the west coast, I think they go a little high here. At any rate that half angus calf would make an awful good freezer full! My .02 worth

Larry    Posted 03-05-2002 at 21:23:40       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I'll have to agree with your reply,Christopher. The cow that was on the Amish farm already would be a good starter cow. But one other point I'd like to make. Be prepared to get a lot more milk than you can drink. I know an Amish family that milks a Jersey/Angus cow,and they have more milk than they know what to do with. They drink all they can plus make thier own butter,cheese,and some ice cream and still have some left over. BTW,this family has eight children and two adaults in it.

mike    Posted 03-05-2002 at 19:50:19       [Reply]  [No Email]
i said it was hamburger bacause deb was talking about slaughter in a year.

Okie-Dokie    Posted 03-05-2002 at 16:24:05       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Looks like some one is going to wind up with a pretty nice milk cow to me. I don't keep any milk stock here. We have some polled shorthorns that we cross with an angus and sell the butcher calves to people in Okla. City who have a desire for high quality organic natural beef. It is a narrow niche market, but we always have to turn customers down as we can supply only so much beef to so many folks. It is the only way we, as small opperators can keep our heads above water in the beef raising business. (This type of beef always commands a top end price.) If you need to know more, feel free to e-mail me and I will answer what questions I can. Good Luck!!

mike    Posted 03-05-2002 at 16:23:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
hope you like hamburg cause thats all shes worth

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