Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: house cows  (Read 4777 times)

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • hampshire
Re: house cows
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2014, 09:22:48 pm »
Just jumping on this thread to ask Sally yet another question!!  Re jersey cows, if you arnt feeding hard to produce milk, and they are on rough grazing, will one calf keep up with the milk supply? Have had differing views on whether i will need to buy in a couple of extras for my jersey when she calves next month.  I am hoping to just have her calf on her, will stay with her till weaning next spring.  thanks!!


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: house cows
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2014, 03:42:45 am »
I just have two Jersey cows so far, a third due to calve for the first time in August.  So I have limited experience to share - but Hillie, the original and 'matriarch' of my little herd, produces way too much milk for just one calf, especially a Jersey calf.  Even if I kept her on restricted/poor grazing and didn't give her any cake, I suspect she'd just get thin and still produce more than one calf could drink.  When the calf is older it'll drink more, and a beef x calf will have a bigger appetite than a pure Jersey, but early on in the lactation, she'd certainly need either a second calf or for me to be milking several litres off her every day.

Plenty, Hillie's first daughter, now on her second lactation, would be easier to manage and probably could cope with just one calf.  I have often wondered whether she is less bounteous than her mum because I didn't rear her for record-breaking lactation, whereas I bought Hillie as an in-calf heifer from a dairy farm, so of course she had been reared to produce as much as possible.  I can get more milk out of Plenty but she needs feeding to do it, whereas Hillie always produces a lot of milk and just loses condition if she doesn't get enough feed to support her production.

Hillie produced even more milk in her third lactation, and dairy farmers do say that they hit their peak at this point - if they are going to go down with milk fever, it's often on the third lactation.  So even if your girl manages with just one calf the first time, she may need some help using her milk later on.

If it were me I would plan to get one calf to suckle your girl alongside her own calf this first time.  You could probably wean the add-on at 3 or 4 months if you want; by that time her own calf should be able to drink enough to keep her comfortable.  (Depending on her productivity, and how good the grazing is by then - if it's a good summer you may still struggle!)   I take it you are not wanting to milk her yourself?
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • hampshire
Re: house cows
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2014, 09:34:56 am »
Thanks so much for all your help Sally.  Regarding milk - bought Daisy at 3 weeks from a Jersey herd, bucket reared her.  She is in calf to an Angus.  I have got the option of getting a bull jersey calf in at short notice for pennies so will go with that if necessary and he can go in my freezer as i love jersey meat.  I will be taking milk myself but not huge amounts and not after about 4 months as they will down in the water meadows then.  Have had a good feel of her this morning, cant quite fit a whole fist in the gap, but she is very slack.  Udder is even firmer this morning but teats are still looking normal!  Lambing seems so easy now in comparison! I am a nervous wreck with this calving! She is the only one in calf this year, the other 3 will be AI'd in July with her.  Will keep you updated!


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