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Dairy Cow?

 
Tawny Crawford
Posts: 6
Location: Texas
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Hi!
We are considering purchasing a diary cow/heifer. This is totally new territory for us. I raised 'show cattle' as a teen, but dairy is a new world for me! We plan on drinking raw milk. What should we look for in a good dairy cow/heifier? What type of testing does she need to have done? Does the milk need to be tested for anything for it to be safe to drink? (I assume it's much like a goat. You milk into a cup, make sure it looks good, and go on. Filter milk and get it COLD! Make sure clean teets and healthy animal etc) We have littles in the house, some very young, who will be drinking the milk and want it as safe as possible!

Thanks you so much in advanced for you knowledge and help!
 
Andy Reed
Posts: 85
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Just because cows are big animals and very strong, and because you have no experience I strongly recommend you get some help from someone who knows what they are doing. Remember you are going to have your head very close to a back hoof that can give a good hard kick. If you can't get someone to help you, maybe try and go somewhere and get some hands on experience first.

Cows are very sensitive to human moods, if you are nervous or fidgety, they will feed off that, and get nervous and fidgety. In particular heifers are orders of magnitude worse then an older cow. I'd get an old cow already in milk, and start there, the older and quieter the better. Don't even attempt to milk a heifer unless you have some experience and most importantly pleanty of confidence.

I wouldn't get to concerned with breed or any traits other then tempermant. The owner will disclose if she is on any antibiotics and what the milk witholding periods are, other then that I personally wouldn't have any concerns with drinking raw milk as long as you observe good hygene, and yes chill it quick. If the cow has mastitis it will be obvious, talk to a vet about the best treatment.

Most contaminants regarding milk quality cow from the environment ie. manure, not from inside the udder of a cow, all my kids have grown up on raw milk.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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If you have dealt with goats milk, you can handle cows milk--same procedure, just a LOT more of it!

The cow herself is a different story, as Andy said. You show cattle experience should come in handy in getting her to do what you want outside the milking stall. Same tricks apply.

She needs a lot more space, water, and food than goats. It is a sizable investment. Make sure you understand the costs before you get into it.
 
Tiffany Rich
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4 years ago we went from paying for our herd share milk to operating a herd share. We had milked goats inn the past, but never owned a cow. We started with one older cow, we are now milking 5, and raising a steer a year. I can tell you,i milked 22 goats for 15 years on and off. There is a HUGE learning curve. Do not let that scare you tho. We started with 17 shares and are up to 80-85. Our cows are very sweet. NowNow there are rank Milkers. Ask to hand milk the cow. If she is dry handle her udder, she shouldn't kick or move. Its best if you do not know the history of the heard, to have the cow johnnes (yo-knees) tested. We love or milk. We have chosen all Jersey cows. They have a very high cream level, the cows are quiet and have sweet temperaments, and they are smaller. Hope this helps some
Tiffany
 
Ben Walter
Posts: 92
Location: Deland, FL
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I bought two pregnant Dexter heifers about a month ago. One gave birth about a week in and we have been milking her. I had experience with sheep and pigs but not cows or dairy. We had a few hiccups, but on the whole everything has been going smoothly. I'm getting about 2.5 gallons a day from my girl, but she's a really small cow, probably 600 lbs. She's full grown and the other girl is probably about 100 lbs. heavier. I love the breed...they are supposed to have great temperament and both of my girls are easy to handle.

I may try to cross them with minature jerseys to push milk production, but I'm really happy so far and may not need to. I'm rotating them on pastures with sheep and occasionally chickens in chicken tractors. The grass isn't really growing yet, but I hope this strategy will work well. I'm following the sheep (and when the calves are old enough) behind the cows.

I've had a wonderful experience so far...I'm actually making cheddar cheese right now. I say go for it!
 
Tiffany Rich
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I bred our very small Jersey to a Dexter this last time. She calves with a very large headed bull calf. was bummed. But meantime he was sold, $100, and she is milking 40#a day not quite 6 weeks in. She is about 700#. I think you will be very happy with that cross. Attached a photo of him.
The other pic is of his sire.
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dexter/jersey calf
.facebook_42083405.jpg
[Thumbnail for .facebook_42083405.jpg]
 
Ben Walter
Posts: 92
Location: Deland, FL
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Awesome Tiffany! Thanks!

I'm definitely trying to stay small. It's hot and humid down here about 6 months a year and I think a small animal is a good way to go. I'm also contemplating milking my sheep. I have Gulf Coast Natives which shouldn't make too much milk, but I could try to cross them with a milking breed as well. I'm experiment with different animals right now to find hardy ones. I continue animal production for meat, but I'm definitely drawn towards dairy. So many great cheeses are sheep's cheese, or a mix of cow and sheep (or goat). Right now I'm mostly a vegetable operation, but I would love to transition into a dairy/creamery. There are lots of great grants out there and if I can create a nice proof of concept (rotational grazing/good cheese) I think I would increase my chances.

I actually paid for both my cows through my CSA. I posted on facebook that I was looking for funds for a few dairy cows and within a few days I had more money than I needed. I will pay these folks back in milk, meat and cheese. There is a lot of interest in local food and it's reassuring to receive so much community support.
 
Tiffany Rich
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Ben, you souls allot like us here. We do a herd share. The extra milk i use to feed pigs and make cheese. I too milk the sheep,i have finns. I do allot of cheese workshops. I wanted to sell cheese, but i don't want the government that close with their Scopes up my backside. I am on fb if you would like to friend me. Tiffany perry rich/woodspryte farm.
Tif
 
Ben Walter
Posts: 92
Location: Deland, FL
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Tiffany,

I got your message from the page you don't use but I think I also liked the farm page. I couldn't find your personal page, but hopefully you can find mine. If you weren't so far away I would say we could share genetics since we are working with similar ideas...oh well. I love that you guys are off the grid...I would like to hear more about it here when you have the time.

Also, if you could share any information you have about milking/cheese making equipment....any mistakes you've made or things you are very happy with. If anyone else has that information to share I would appreciate it as well. Thanks!
 
Tiffany Rich
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Hey Ben,
Tried to find you. To find my personal page go to Tiffany Perry Rich. The profile pic is 2 black baby pigs.
Aren't you in mi?
Be glad to share info. W just got to catch up to each other. Loll
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
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i have dairy goats and workin on gettin a cow or two. but basically milkin is the same all around.

milk in a spot thats not the regular animal area

try to milk in a timely fashion so you can get it cold fast as possible (for taste and sanitary reasons)

make sure your bucket is super duper clean, as with all containers milk will come in contact with.

you may want to invest in a strip cup. its basically a cup with a very fine mesh top. you milk the first 3-5 squirts of each teat into this, checking each time. this way if the milk is pink (blood in the milk) or chunks (mastitis, etc) or other issues then they will pop up here first usually.
http://www.caprinesupply.com/products/milking/daily-milking-products/strip-cup.html

if you are worried about keeping up on mastitis you may want to invest in something like these mastitis tests http://www.caprinesupply.com/products/milking/daily-milking-products/california-mastitis-test-cmt.html

for filtering the milk you will need a filter bowl and filters. such as these links..
http://www.caprinesupply.com/products/milking/stainless-steel-4-quart-strainer.html
http://hoeggerfarmyard.com/xcart/Milky-Strainer.html

here is a video of filtering milk. my video, lol i'm gettin alot more milk now from my goats (:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtHyj6sBLRQ

and my youtube channel (: i have several videos of milking the goats. as well as videos of all my other critters.
http://www.youtube.com/user/girlwalkswithgoats/videos?flow=grid&view=0
 
A Philipsen
Posts: 58
Location: OR - Willamette Valley
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What should we look for in a good dairy cow/heifier?

A large, well-supported udder and, if you're going to hand-milk, nice big teats. Conformationally, pretty much the same things as your show cattle, probably, except skinnier You probably want to consider volume as well. My neighbor's little Jersey puts out about 4 gallons a day with little to no grain, my Dexter does maybe half that. A commercial-type cow would put out even more. If you're just wanting some for home use, sometimes you can find beef/dairy crosses that milk pretty well and also make big meaty calves. And you might have already considered all that, but I'm throwing it out there anyway.
What type of testing does she need to have done? Does the milk need to be tested for anything for it to be safe to drink?

It's not a bad idea to test for Brucellosis and TB. It's probably just a formality if you're getting a healthy cow from a reputable person, but it's not expensive and could be a liability issue if you don't and then sell milk.
(I assume it's much like a goat. You milk into a cup, make sure it looks good, and go on. Filter milk and get it COLD! Make sure clean teets and healthy animal etc)

Yep. Except bigger and dirtier and more likely to kick you in the head or pee in the bucket. Can you tell I have a wayward cow?
 
Chris Kott
Posts: 796
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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I've read nothing here about cattle with the a2 gene (I think that's what it is). I have read in other threads that apparently the newer breeds produce milk that is harder to digest, and thus might frustrate the aspiring raw milk drinker who wants to be cured of their allergies. Apparently the older breeds, like Jersey, and I'd imagine Dexter, produce milk we are, on average, more suited to digesting.

-CK
 
A Philipsen
Posts: 58
Location: OR - Willamette Valley
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Apparently the older breeds, like Jersey, and I'd imagine Dexter, produce milk we are, on average, more suited to digesting.
Some do, some don't. You would have to test your individual cow to know for sure.
 
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