Emma Jones

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since Oct 11, 2013
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Recent posts by Emma Jones

Thanks Adam you've confirmed a lot of what I was thinking : ) She was quite young when she came to us, I think she was bred as soon as was possible so that she could be sold. I don't know about the 'questionable genetics' bit she seems lovely to me! Seriously though we bought her from a family farm so she maybe isn't from super stellar genetic stock and I think that she will need time to develop her milk. She is a registered pure bred jersey but beyond that I really wouldn't know. I think when she was bred she would have been about 16 months so she is over 2 now, definitely under 3. She was bred last January to calve out in the fall, I would much prefer to wait on breeding her next year so that she calves out in the following spring, is that doable? Everything I read talks about breeding them asap but that would mean another fall calf which isn't ideal.

The hay she is on is not alfalfa, I will look into getting some for her, if we can't is there an alternative? I can get kelp for her (any suggestions on how much?) and could buy alfalfa pellets while I try to source alfalfa hay but I've heard they are not great.

Thanks again for all the advice!
7 years ago
Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply and give advice, it is much appreciated! Sorry it took me so long to reply but my computer has been broken and I'm only now able to get back online. I did manage to read the suggestions before I was cut off so here's what we've been doing and how it's been going:

Good stuff:

- We've been working on her stress and comfort and she is a lot less fussy in the stall. She is getting used to the machine and is being led much more calmly into the stall (without needing to be bribed by oats!) that feels much better for all of us.
-We feel we've got the hang of the machine and seem to have got it working as it should be. Though it is a surge milker it has very long tubes on it so it sits to the side on the ground not hanging down.
- We've enlisted the help of her calf, when she stops releasing milk we've been bringing him in and giving him one of her teats while we milk the rest, we've had a nice amount of cream this week and I've even made butter!
- After milking we're keeping her in the stall with her calf while he nurses, this seems to be helping her to associate the stall with nursing him and letting her milk down.
- We've been getting 4-5 litres a day which is a huge improvement for us and keeping us in dairy quite happily.

Worries:

- Her milk let down is slow and her production seems to have levelled out at a gallon, she is separated from the calf each night so that seems way lower than it should be. I worry we've messed up and that her production is levelling out not improving.
- I worry she will start holding out on us to get us to bring in the calf!
- If her production is low could it be she is missing something from her diet? They are now on hay so I worry I need to get a more complete dairy ration to boost her carbs. There is an organic producer near here that does a mixed dairy ration that might work.
- Today her back left quarter seemed to have barely any milk, that was the one I gave the calf to try and stimulate it, I worry there is something wrong there.

My mind is split into two camps, one saying we are not getting as much milk as we should be, she isn't 'paying her way' and that we should go to twice a day milking to boost her up. Honestly I don't even know what that would mean in terms of the calf etc, so that feels a bit scary too. I also wonder if we are doing something wrong.

On the other hand I'm thinking woohoo 4litres a day! We are getting what we need, so is the calf, she is happy and calm and when we wean the calf we'll be getting loads more milk anyway. This way I'm not overwhelmed in the kitchen with way too much milk while I'm still learning to manage it and she isn't exhausted going into the winter. I also think this is the beginning of a long relationship and setting a good grounding now will also be more valuable than anything else. Am I just being silly with this thinking? I worry that if we don't develop her into a strong milker now she'll never be a good producer, her udder is quite small but I wonder if that is because this is her first calf and that she'll produce more as she ages and calves out more.

Sorry I know this is long! Any thoughts or suggestions greatly appreciated as always : )

7 years ago
She is a first time mum and while I wouldn't say she was stressed I would say she is grumpy! My first thought is o ave the calf nearby o get a second drop of milk, I'll give that a try.
7 years ago
Hello there : )

Our newly milking dairy cow seems to be producing a low amount of milk from what we'd expect. We are doing once a day milking with her, separating her from the calf at night and reuniting them after milking. After 2 weeks of painful and unsuccessful hand milking we now have a belly surge milker but we are getting not even a gallon from her and barely any butterfat on the milk. What are we doing wrong?!

We give her some oats when we are milking, the rest of the time she is on hay. As soon as the calf gets on her milk is literally dribbling down his face so I know she is holding back but I don't know what to do about it! Do we need to feed her more grain to up her milk?

Any and all advice greatly appreciated!
7 years ago
Well I did have a bash at milking this morning, I managed to collect a whole one...cup. Yep, that's how good a milker I am : ( I will be persevering this week but we are also going to purchase a surge milker just in case my super powers aren't quite up to scratch. Of course I could always try dressing up in camouflage and hiding behind a bush...it worked before!

I will keep re-reading your advice and aim to not get overly stressed (no promises) but the good news is Mama and baby seem to be doing well, let's hope that continues!

Thank you again for all your advice and reassurance : )
7 years ago
Thanks so much Adam! The little bean really got the hang of nursing yesterday and seems to be thriving, I even managed to spot him at it while I hid in a bush! I'm going to have a try with milking her a little this evening and follow the schedule you suggest : )

I do have a couple of questions (surprise), does the little guy need anything to help him through the night? I was warned against letting him drink water at first but I'm assuming he'll need it when he isn't nursing from his Mum? How much milk would you expect to get from a Jersey doing once a day milking and sharing? You mentioned 1/2 a gallon from each quarter but I'm thinking you meant half a gallon overall after milking each quarter? I'm also wondering when you begin the weaning process and if you can point me at some ideas as to how to go about it?

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, I can't tell you how much reassurance you've given us and helped us to. not. panic!

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!
7 years ago
Thank you so much for this brilliant and detailed info! It's very easy to get panicked by some of what's 'out there' suggesting you must stick a tube down it's throat within 6 hours!

We've let them outside now and they are roaming happily. She now has two nice and fully shiny teats with milk literally dripping from them. We've seen him nuzzle a bit at the back ones but never settled into nursing properly. She was moving around a bit but he wasn't massively keen so we think he was full. She's nice and protective of him, wants him near and licks his face regularly so I'm hoping she's a good Mama!

We discovered a cut high up on her udder (almost concealed by the fold where the udder meets her back leg/tummy), I've cleaned it up and put antiseptic on it. It looks more like a scrape than a puncture and has some scabbing so I'm hoping we caught it quickly enough. She didn't flinch when I washed and treated it so I hope that shows it isn't too serious.

Thanks again Adam for your calm advice, I really do just want nature to take it's course. I've read some of your posts on once a day milking and am planning to go down that route with her. I'm excited to start milking her! We will be bringing them into the barn at night because the coyotes around here are crazy at the moment but otherwise they'll be outside in this glorious autumn sunshine.

Just one more question (I promise!) when would you start separating the calf from the Mama in order to do a 'full' milking? I had thought at around 3 weeks we would put him in the barn with our beef cow (she's very gentle with him) and put his Mama in the barn next door ready to milk out the next morning then they can be together all day.

Can't thank you enough for the sage words!
7 years ago
Thanks so much Adam for your quick response! The calf is napping quite a bit, he isn't distressed or crying but I really can't tell if he's nursing or not. One of her teats is swollen and distended but it is very shiny, could this mean he is nursing just at that point? The others seem ok, a little bit dry skinned but nothing more than usual. She is licking him but when I am there she tends to be more focused on me than on the calf. We've brought him to the udder, squirted milk in his mouth and even popped the teat in his mouth but he didn't want to suck. We've got them in the barn together right now, I'm thinking they'll benefit from some outside time this afternoon when it warms up, it might also give us the chance to spot if he's nursing and to see how sprightly he is. I'm leery of intervening unnecessarily but scared of not doing enough. Are there any clear signs that he isn't feeding enough?

Thanks again for any and all advice!
7 years ago
Our jersey calved out yesterday producing a beautiful little bull. Unfortunately he doesn't seem to be nursing and despite our best efforts to get him on he won't even try. It's possible he's nursed when we haven't seen but her udder is very full and a couple of her teats are swollen with milk. I'm going to try milking her out and bottle feeding him this morning but any advice from more experienced peeps would be most gratefully received. He's standing, alert and certainly knows his own mind but we haven't seen him nurse once and when we put him to the udder he flat out refuses.

I'm wondering how often we would expect to see him nurse, how to go about the bottle feeding and if it is beneficial to my cow for me to empty off extra so she doesn't get blocked up.

Thanks so much for any help you can offer!
7 years ago