Hi from a Mamaku Dairy Farm

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11 years 10 months ago #32861 by White
Hi all. I'm normally pretty much dog tired being up at 4am every morning but if I can be of any help to people rearing calves or milking a house cow, have a sick or lame animal, or a general query re pasture/break feeding/cropping etc, I'll do my best.

About me. I'm a dairy farmer, the female half of a Management team on a 350 cow farm in Mamaku, Rotorua. Slightly over the hill but not dead yet. My partner and I have some LIVELY conversations in the milking shed, as you do, but we keep in mind the 12 hour working days we endure for 18 days straight and make sure we have a DATE on our 3 day weekend off.

Looking forward to getting to know some people that happen to live outside the Mamaku area!

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11 years 9 months ago #439777 by Camelotwenz
Hi I've just joined and as I have 3 yearling Jersey heifers who may or may not end up in the freezer, you advice would be nice. I had thought of getting them in calf and have them rear the calves for meat but AI seems too confusing and I don't want a bull. Any thoughts? It all seems a bit daunting. Many thanks, Wenz

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11 years 9 months ago #439781 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Hi from a Mamaku Dairy Farm
Welcome, White. :) A number of people ask about calf rearing - often without a lot of prior research, so I'm sure you'll find questions to answer!

Camelotwenz, the ease of AI depends where you are and when you want to do it. It's not too difficult to organise - it's things like heat detection and having good facilities which are likely to be the harder parts.

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11 years 9 months ago #439786 by Camelotwenz
Thanks Ruth. We have good yards, and I'm sure I've noticed some signs of the heifers being in heat. Do i get a vet to do the AI, do i buy semen in advance or do i use an AI technician? Sorry, so many questions :confused: We are in Te Kuiti/Pio Pio area. I won't do anything til next year, and someone said we should only use a jersey bull or semen to prevent pregnancy or calving problems.

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11 years 9 months ago #439795 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Hi from a Mamaku Dairy Farm
There have been a number of AI discussions on here. Contact LIC and ask about their technician service in your area. Vets don't generally do AI, unless they happen also to have been AI technicians. The tech brings the semen with her/him, because it's stored in liquid nitrogen until required. You can buy one or two beef straws from LIC for your heifers which the tech would carry with them.

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11 years 9 months ago #439798 by stephclark
hi camelotwenz.. i am not an expert like the others here, just a small holder who used to hand milk 2 jerseys and 4 frieshians..
we never had probs with calving the jersey girls, and they ran with a hereford bull every year..in fact the only calving probs i had in 10 years was a breech out of 3/4 hereford cow..
you dont need to stick to jersey bull.. just dont go mad with a Piedmontese[;)].. a murray grey would be a lovely x over a jersey and at least the calf would be a reasonable beefie for the freezer..not alot to a jersey meat wise..

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11 years 9 months ago #440233 by Camelotwenz
Thanks for that info...definitely useful and I really appreciate it.

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11 years 9 months ago #440527 by White
Replied by White on topic Hi from a Mamaku Dairy Farm
Well, that's how tired I've been. I'd forgotten I'd even posted in here to introduce myself and I went and did it again tonight. Mental note: Must get more sleep.

Seems I've set off a sub thread in here re AI and mating.

Personally, if I had only a few Jerseys I'd put a bull with them as it costs each time the AI tech is called out and each cow/heifer cycles in their own time. If you want to go for AI, watch for other cows 'bulling' (jumping up and riding them like a bull would). If the cow being 'ridden' stays put, she's on heat. You'll need an AI tech within a day or two. If she's wandering or walking away, marginal and probably wasting your money. The cow on top IS NOT the cow in heat.

If you want beefies, put them up to a Hereford bull. 4 to 6 weeks should be enough to get your girls pregnant. You could lease a bull but barter systems with your local farmers or block owners work a treat. It might cost you a beefie calf or mechanical service... whatever you can trade.

As a dairy farmer our heifers are ALWAYS put with a bull for their first calf. We AI cows only. I'll tell you why when Norm wakes up and I ask him.

Hope that was of some help. I'm off to bed now. Got to be up at 4. :(

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11 years 9 months ago #440537 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Hi from a Mamaku Dairy Farm

White;440009 wrote: ...You'll need an AI tech within a day or two. ...

It needs to be just a little more precise than that! [;)]

White;440009 wrote: ...We AI cows only. I'll tell you why when Norm wakes up and I ask him....

Because heifers have tiny wee cervixes which are often a bugger to find and then get the inseminator through. When a calf's been through the other way, everything is bigger, firmer and easier to negotiate in the dark interior.

That isn't to say heifers are always hard to do, nor that an experienced inseminator can't do them lickity-split, but they can pose problems less often found in previously calved cows.

I'll be up at three! (But I'll probably just do my calving round from the stairway window and then climb back into bed. [;)])

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11 years 9 months ago #440542 by Camelotwenz
Hello, thanks heaps for this info from both of you, I really do appreciate it :) I will give your input some thought. It sounds like it would be easier to find someone with a bull.

We were told to only use a Jersey bull first time to avoid calving problems and possible damage to the mother. Would you agree?

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11 years 9 months ago #440543 by Camelotwenz
Aw sorry stephclark I didn't read back far enough..thanks for your input too. And I realise I have repeated myself about the jersey bull thing. Sorry. Maybe I am just being a little too cautious about my girls. Don't want to cause them any undue problems. Or myself for that matter. Just had a lambing season from hell...

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11 years 9 months ago #440549 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Hi from a Mamaku Dairy Farm
Camelotwenz, I have long believed that calving young heifers is not for beginners. If you don't know what's normal, how would you tell if something was wrong? Heifers mated at 15 months have around 40% more calving difficulty than those mated a year later. If you found lambing a challenge, imagine having to deal with babies which weigh eight times as much: they're not nearly as easy to get out of their mothers if things get tricky.

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11 years 9 months ago #440588 by Camelotwenz
Yep I agree with you Ruth :) very sage advice I think. I've been lambing sheep for 12 years now and this has been the worst for bearings and orphan lambs and I have struggled physically this year. :o

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11 years 9 months ago #440654 by White
Replied by White on topic Hi from a Mamaku Dairy Farm

Camelotwenz;440024 wrote: We were told to only use a Jersey bull first time to avoid calving problems and possible damage to the mother. Would you agree?


Smaller breed heifers like a pure bred Jersey would definitely have it easier calving if Dad is a Jersey also. If it's your first time dealing with calving, a Jersey bull is probably your best option. And keeping the bloodline pure Jersey means a more valuable calf at the sales. :)

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11 years 9 months ago #441976 by thevarneys
Camelotwenz - I was in a similar position to you a year ago, re: jersey heifer/mating/AI etc.
I did read carefully all the advice posted, which was mainly "beginners shouldn't do it, it might go wrong", then proceeded to get heifer in calf using AI.
The AI took the first time, technician charged $20 cash, I have about 100 photos of the birth a few weeks ago, and all is well, with a healthy fast growing AngusX Jersey calf.

So, dont be put off by well meaning advice, but do research and ask questions.

The thing is, if beginners shouldn't do that kind of thing, how will we move from a beginner to someone who has some experience?? :D

I wouldn't hesitate to call the vet (as I don't have much experience), and we did get the vet out last week for mastitis, wheras a more experienced farmer can do a lot more of the medical/vet emergencies themselves.

Re the breeds, I was told that Angus are a good low b/w, and that seems to have been the case for ours, as our heifer is only 2 and managed fine.
And man is he growing fast now! :D

Some people are so poor, all they have is money.

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