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Dairy Cow Advice needed

 
Sara Harding
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I have a friend who needs advice for her family dairy cow, just purchased about a month ago. The milk production has dropped and she is looking for a natural way to get it back up. Her family raises beef similar to Joel Salatin, but this is their first dairy animal. I know next to nothing about cows, but advised her to seek someone experienced to help find out the cause. Is there any site or person I can point her to? We are in Upstate South Carolina.
 
Tom Petty
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Don't seek advise from a commercial dairy herd, I learned that the hard way. I have a Organic dairy guy I get mine from now and my cow is doing great.

Tom
 
Andy Reed
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A cows production peaks about 40 days after she calves then declines. This is a natural factor, when you consider the needs of a calf. When it's born it's requirements increase, until it becomes able to digest grass, then it's reliance on milk decreases. The cows milk production follows the same curve peaking then a gentle slope down to a more or less stable production. Though a cow should have a couple of months rest or more, every year before she calves.

Two main factors influence production, feed quality and feed quantity. A cow can get full on straw, but because the quality is low she will not be getting enough energy to produce milk, and may lose body condition (fat) because she is starving even though she is getting fully fed.

Quality varies for pasture during the seasons, the best quality is the lush spring growth prior to early formation of seed head. The long stalky stage and seedhead pasture is the lowest quality.

I suspect (without knowing much about the situation) that the cow has gone onto a low quality diet, if you can, try increasing the quality of feed, think lush leafy easily digestable. Though cows can die from bloat if they eat too much quality feed all at once so a bit of straw doesn't hurt. Give it to her first to make sure she eats it.

I'd also add that beef cows are pretty hardy, and also have lower energy requirements to dairy cows. A large Fresian at peak production will need more then double the daily diet of a regular beefie.
 
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