Best small house cow

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1 year 9 months ago #552669 by AngeF
Best small house cow was created by AngeF
Hi Everyone, we are realizing a dream in our recent purchase of just under 6 acres in Waipukurau. A family of raw milk drinkers, we would like to get a house cow we can milk. I grew up on a farm, so while rusty, do have experience. Anyway, we were thinking a Dexter would be good since it's smaller and a dual-purpose breed, but then read some posts in here about how they have a tendency towards crazy, so now not sure. Would be super grateful for advice on which breed would be great for milking for relative novices. Thanks

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1 year 9 months ago #552670 by VioletFarmer
Replied by VioletFarmer on topic Best small house cow
Hi Ange, seeing as you are starting out, but have some experience from growing up on a farm, id go with a kiwi cross cow. Which is a Friesian crossed with a Jersey. I worked on a neighbouring dairy farm for a few years rearing the calves etc, out of the Friesians, Jerseys & Shorthorns & the crosses of them- the Kiwi Cross had the best temperament, good temperament and milk volume vs body size when compared to the rest. I do have a soft spot for the Shorthorns, but they were always the hardest to handle while milking or drafting. Do you plan to get a calf/ calves this season? Calving may be nearly over in the North Island- our neighbour here in Canterbury has calved about 680 out of their 820 cows already. Rearing a calf and training it up to be handled etc, takes more work- but you know what you have put into the cow. Buying a grown in milk cow, you need to be wary that you aren't getting someone else's 'problem cow'. Do you have any dairy farming neighbours/ family/ friends or can ask them to put you in touch with one local? Farms do sell older cows or others that may have had some minor issues or are being replaced, now calving is over. That is a good option if you have good animal health knowledge, yards, good fencing, good pasture etc, etc.

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1 year 9 months ago #552671 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Best small house cow
Hello and welcome,
Jersey, Jersey, Jersey. I've milked all sorts over the years but for a cow you're going to be handling on a daily basis, you can't go past a Jersey. They are clever and smart, will give you a bit of a run-around because of it.

Here is my Rosie, she turned 24 last month and last calved at 20. Her daughter is 19. I once spent nearly an hour looking for Rosie one day, I knew she had come in with the other 9 cows but still went back to check the paddock. No sign of any cow. Came back to the cowshed, walked in and there was Rosie standing in the bale waiting to be milked. She'd opened the gate (not latched) with her horns and was ready and waiting.

The bucket lid on Rosie's head is to indicate how smart they can be. She still had her full horns back then and had learnt to use them to slide the door back on the feed shed. She'd got in, somehow prised the lid off the chook pellets and got the lid stuck between her horns and head. It didn't stop her scoffing the chook pellets or being milked! The cow behind her is her daughter by a Belgian Blue Bull.

Everybody has their own preferences of course, but personally I wouldn't go past a Jersey for a housecow - and I've had a few wonderful ones over the years.





Cheers,
Ronnie
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1 year 9 months ago #552672 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Best small house cow
I too would recommend a jersey. I have a beautiful cow that I bought as a weaner, taught her to lead and tie up and had her tested after calving for butterfat content of her milk and before calving to see if she was A2, which she is. her rich creamy milk is ideal for making both butter and for milk for the house. she's also a sweetheart when it comes to kidnapping others calves and taking on a bought in one. She's reared 8 calves in the last 4 years.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S
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1 year 9 months ago - 1 year 9 months ago #552673 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Best small house cow
Definitely Jersey but don't mate her to a Jersey bull unless you are absolutely certain that you like Jersey meat from an offspring. And Jersey bulls tend to be much more dangerous than some other breeds. For hand milking, chose a cow with large teats.
Last edit: 1 year 9 months ago by LongRidge.

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1 year 9 months ago #552674 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Best small house cow
what I found was although a Friesian cow is perfect for milking as they have been bred for that purpose - they produce so much milk and consequently need a lot of grass. I would go for something less productive, and A2 of course! You will need an ice cream maker, a butter churn and a low BMI score!

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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1 year 9 months ago #552675 by AngeF
Replied by AngeF on topic Best small house cow
Hi VioletFarmer, having worked with my fathers horses I totally hear you on having issues with someone else's 'problem cow', so ideally would like a calf (I'm guessing we should get 2 so they don't get lonely?) and raise it ourselves. Though it was many years ago now, I was successful with calf, goats and lamb training for calf club! We are in the Hawkes Bay, can you recommend any farms to buy from here?

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1 year 9 months ago #552676 by AngeF
Replied by AngeF on topic Best small house cow
Thanks, we have 5 kids and with all the smoothies, glasses of milk, hot chocs, etc we end up going through around 4L a day, so I think a Friesian or Kiwicross would make too much for us, even leaving a calf on her.

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1 year 9 months ago #552677 by AngeF
Replied by AngeF on topic Best small house cow
Thank you. What would be a good bull to mate her with for meat offspring?

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1 year 9 months ago #552678 by AngeF
Replied by AngeF on topic Best small house cow
Thank you, your girl is gorgeous.

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1 year 9 months ago #552679 by AngeF
Replied by AngeF on topic Best small house cow
Thank you, and your girl is awesome, so much character!

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1 year 9 months ago #552681 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Best small house cow
Unless you get a cow with extreme milk-fat production, you need more milk than you'd usually use to get enough cream to make the other things you'd want. That's why people end up making cheese or bacon from their excess.

We get about nine litres a day from our cow when she's also feeding her calf and that's ample cream to see us through the year with butter.

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1 year 9 months ago - 1 year 9 months ago #552685 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Best small house cow

LongRidge wrote: Definitely Jersey but don't mate her to a Jersey bull unless you are absolutely certain that you like Jersey meat from an offspring. And Jersey bulls tend to be much more dangerous than some other breeds. For hand milking, chose a cow with large teats.

Longridge we are currently working our way through a home kill beast that was a pure jersey steer. His is the nicest meat I have ever eaten.

A low birth weight Polled hereford would produce a good beef animal fro a jersey cow, but best to mate a heifer with a jersey bull at least in the first calving as the calf is most likely a low birth weight calf. One of the reasons why the Kiwi cow was developed was due to mating friesian first calvers with a jersey bull.
Yes jersey bulls can be grumpy, but then all bulls should be treated with respect because they are entire males and full of testosterone! Goes without saying that most male animals can be beligerant and unpredictable sometimes.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S
Last edit: 1 year 9 months ago by Stikkibeek.

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1 year 9 months ago #552687 by VioletFarmer
Replied by VioletFarmer on topic Best small house cow
Yes Ange, two calves is advisable, three is a good insurance policy if you have the grass. Jersey calves tend to be a bit sulky when young, but its amazing when they get to about 3 months and fill out and grow some muscle- they are quite lovely! When the heifer is 16 months or so old she would be ready for mating or AI, so long as she is healthy & a suitable weight. Any low birth weight bull of a moderate sized breed, would be good. Red Devon, Hereford, Charolais, our neighbour used Red Poll bulls over his heifers last summer, they are a great choice for Jersey heifers- small at birth but great growers from then on. Im in Canterbury, so i can't recommend a farmer near you to get calves off sorry. Local buy sell pages are a good starting point :)

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1 year 9 months ago #552695 by AngeF
Replied by AngeF on topic Best small house cow
Talking with my kids piano teacher today and she has a 3 year old heifer angus jersey cross, quite small and was hand raised and super friendly. Would she make a suitable milk house cow, and is it okay for her to be this age for having her first calf? Thanks

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