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Sharing Milk with Calves

 
Philip Nafziger
Posts: 65
Location: Columbia, Ky
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I have two jersey cows, one jersey bull calf and two Holstein heifers. That is the beginnings of my dairy heard which i would like to expand. All the cows, except for the bull calf, were bought off farm. Some have been good, some ok, some not so good. It is nearly impossible in my opinion to score a great cow when buying from someone else, so i am working on growing my own dairy heard. I've run into some problems with this first calf. Of course I want him to get as much milk as he needs and wean naturally, but he has a big appetite and I think he is stealing milk from another mama! How can you mitigate letting the calves nurse while you try and get milk from the cow too?
 
Adam Klaus
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Philip Nafziger wrote: How can you mitigate letting the calves nurse while you try and get milk from the cow too?


Separate the calves for twelve hours each day. It is very possible that a hungry bull calf would nurse off of any cow that would let him. By separating the calves for half the day, you will get lots of milk, and the calf will still get more than enough.

hope that helps!
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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The problem comes when you have one bullY calf that steals milk meant for a younger calf. You have to watch for that, even yearlings that were weaned from their moms will steal of the cow is too nice.
 
Orrin Murdoch
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This question is for Adam if possible.
So I have been milking two cows for the past month.
Their calves are still on them so I have been separating them at night and milking in the morning.
After I get as much milk as I can out of the cows then I let them outside and they nurse their calves for about 15 minutes.
Is there any way to get that milk instead of having them hold it for the calves?
I appreciate any suggestions.
Orrin
 
Kelly Smith
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Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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Orrin Murdoch wrote:This question is for Adam if possible.
So I have been milking two cows for the past month.
Their calves are still on them so I have been separating them at night and milking in the morning.
After I get as much milk as I can out of the cows then I let them outside and they nurse their calves for about 15 minutes.
Is there any way to get that milk instead of having them hold it for the calves?
I appreciate any suggestions.
Orrin


we were having the same problem you are having. momma cow recognizes the calf comes shortly after milking and holds up some milk for her calf. (like a good momma should).

we found that keeping the calf separate for ~60-90 mins after milking (instead of right after) helped stop our cow from holding up. it took about a week or so for us, but she finally stopped doing it.
hope this helps.
 
Orrin Murdoch
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Thanks Kelly.
I will give that a try right away.
In your case did you have to keep the delay in place long term or were you able to go back to re-uniting the cow and calf right after milking once the behaviour was set?
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 699
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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Orrin Murdoch wrote:Thanks Kelly.
I will give that a try right away.
In your case did you have to keep the delay in place long term or were you able to go back to re-uniting the cow and calf right after milking once the behaviour was set?


we kept the 90 mins or so time for the rest of the time we had the calf. we generally sell the calf after 3-4 months FWIW
 
Angie O'Connor
Posts: 31
Location: Alberta, Canada
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Another option that works for some people, more dependant on your set up I think, is having the calf nearby while milking the cow. Either beside her or in front. Many will let down everything with the calf so close, although there are Wily Old Girls who won't fall for this!
 
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