Thinking of cows again.

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12 years 2 months ago #31003 by goatmama
We have toyed with the idea of cows in the past but have not made the final leap for a couple of reasons: large animal pugging up the paddocks, high water requirement (no longer an issue), the pushy ness around gateways and leaning over fences to get to our trees in the orchard. Had bad experiences with the neighbours steers at our old place where they stoved in our fences and ate the poplars we planted for wind breaks.
Now we are once again looking at getting a house cow.
We have plenty of water and water catchment.
We have milking machine and are presently milking goats- can easily be modified for a 'quiet' cow.
Good supply of hay and loads of grass to feed her.
What we are still questioning is: breed recommended?
Is there anything else we haven't thought of?
I know she will require magnesium and calcium suppliments, but what else is essencial cow specific needs?

10 acres in sunny Southland. Husband and 3 boys. 17 Wilties, "Clucky quarters" 2 doz + chooks, rouen clair ducks, Coffee our Irish Terrier and Kaz and Mooch our wee Kitty's. Our Big White Shepherd, Nena. Bennie and Mo the moos
Prov 27:27

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12 years 2 months ago #417634 by igor
Replied by igor on topic Thinking of cows again.
Jersey. No question. Small animals with high quality milk ideal for cheese and butter making. You might get away with not giving magnesium and calcium supplements but it is good to have them to hand just in case. We give calcined magnesite as a supplement in the winter months as the cow approaches calving just as a help in preventing milk fever when she calves.

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12 years 2 months ago #417635 by igor
Replied by igor on topic Thinking of cows again.
This is clover. She loves lucerne at milking time.

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12 years 2 months ago #417687 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Thinking of cows again.
What do you want from the cow that you cannot get from the goats? Goat cheese is easy enough. I understand that it is very difficult to make butter from goats milk, but do you need butter?
If I were set up to milk goats and still wanted goats but didn't want to sell the milk, I would get some bobby calves to raise on the goat milk. That way I wouldn't have cow milk contaminating my much more nutritious (to humans) goat milk.

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12 years 2 months ago #417702 by Inger
Replied by Inger on topic Thinking of cows again.
If you get a small Dexter cow, she won't be able to reach over the fence too far, so your trees won't be pruned as much.

The Dexter website lists 'for sale' Dexters in it's 'Market Place' section. There are plenty of breeders in the South Island. You can also place a 'wanted' advert on Dial-a-Dexter which Digby runs.

45 hectares between Whangarei and Paparoa. Registered Dexter cattle, Wiltshire sheep - black, white & pied.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry. Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
A cat called Pusscat and still looking for another heading dog.

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12 years 2 months ago #417707 by goatmama
Replied by goatmama on topic Thinking of cows again.
Volume, stamina, durability LR. I know it is autumn and Maggie kidded in July, the other 4 are around 5-6 months of lactation. We are getting a total of 2L on a dry day, 1 1/2L on a wet day from 5 goats.
Just lost one who got caught out in the last lot of bad weather (she was also on the thin side and wouldn't fatten up regardless of what we did for her, including wearing a waterproof cover), and we live with nothing between us and the South Pole.
Every paddock has a goat shed/ shelter in it big enough for all the herd to get in.
Goats are lovely but thin skinned and we are in the South part of Southland. Some days we see the girls and they are out in the paddocks and looking like beautiful full and content goats, then other days it rains, the southerly blows in and there is not an animal to be seen.
Last year, within 3 months of the severe snow dumping down here, we had only 1 surviving kid out of 9 born that season.
Cows are tougher than that. After 6-7 years working on Dairy farms in Southland (pre married life) I have been an active part of working with and managing cows on a variety of setups and have never lost any to the cold like we have with goats (with covers on and all).
We had goats in Tuatapere and still have the two does from there. It was further inland and the climate(even though it is only 20 km away) was a lot more temperate.
Those does by the way only ever gave 2 1/2 L, and 1L each. I know we couldn't afford much when we bought them but we were also under the impression that a dairy doe would/should give more than that.
So we are questioning cows again. We want to do the best for the animals and for ourselves.

10 acres in sunny Southland. Husband and 3 boys. 17 Wilties, "Clucky quarters" 2 doz + chooks, rouen clair ducks, Coffee our Irish Terrier and Kaz and Mooch our wee Kitty's. Our Big White Shepherd, Nena. Bennie and Mo the moos
Prov 27:27

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12 years 2 months ago #417709 by goatmama
Replied by goatmama on topic Thinking of cows again.
Thanks Inger, we looked at Dexters the last time cows were bandied around and they are still high on the list, along with Jersey cows.
Clover looks like a real sweetie Igor. Hope you never run out of lucern.

10 acres in sunny Southland. Husband and 3 boys. 17 Wilties, "Clucky quarters" 2 doz + chooks, rouen clair ducks, Coffee our Irish Terrier and Kaz and Mooch our wee Kitty's. Our Big White Shepherd, Nena. Bennie and Mo the moos
Prov 27:27

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12 years 2 months ago #417776 by Jo-Otago
Replied by Jo-Otago on topic Thinking of cows again.
Bum, that's not much from 5 goats, I'm getting the same from one [8)] who's 7 months into lactation & will be milked through this winter. Last time I milked her through she went down to about 1L/day but picked up again in spring, and she's not a huge producer in dairy goat terms (peaks about 4.5L/day).
A cow will certainly give you the volume over a goat though :) .
Which breed is really personal preference, I love jerseys but they are apparently slightly less hardy than friesians, the good ol' jersey-friesianX (or 'kiwi'X) can be pretty good too. A Dexter or Dexter/JerseyX might work well if looking for a smaller cow which theoretically would cause less pugging of paddocks (though our calves and yearlings don't seem to pug all that much less than the adults from what I can tell).
I've got a rising 3yr jersey/friesianX first-calving heifer spare if you're interested [;)]. May be better getting something already trained up to be milked though when starting out (then again if you've milked moos before you won't be as 'green' to it as we were, poor moo had to teach us rather than the other way around, lol).
Other things to consider I guess would be will you AI or borrow a bull to get her in calf? If AI then you would probably need another cattlebeast to help with heat detection.
An electric outrigger should solve any fence-pushing/tree-eating issues.
Cattleyards not essential if you have a quiet cow, but some kind of restraint needed for AI (we've had this done in the milking bale before, but depends on the cow and your AI tech) and also for TB testing.

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12 years 2 months ago #417842 by buzzard
Replied by buzzard on topic Thinking of cows again.
Get a Jersey, no question.

but if you get a dairy cow, you have to treat her like one, and thats pre calving magnesium and post calving calcium and magnesium.
A bag of mag chloride frm your RD1 etc will do her and then the moment she calves some limeflour either drenched, or mixed in with any treats you may be giving her.

but if you want to top up your house hold milk supply, get an empty cow, they are around now so they wont be hard to find, then she will milk through the winter for you and then come spring the goats can take up the slack, then you can AI her to calve for next autumn again so she'll go through next winter when your goats drop away again

try these people here,
www.dairyexporter.co.nz/article/26656.html
they are down your way, have a tremendous herd and might just have a suitably quiet, older empty that's still milking well for you that you could pick up for a reasonable price

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12 years 2 months ago #417917 by goatmama
Replied by goatmama on topic Thinking of cows again.
Would love to have a goat that milked like yours Jo but we dont.
We are looking at Dexters for the reason you mentioned- smaller beastie = smaller footprints (in theory). The cow comes with her calf which was born in the spring so is nearly as big as mum now.

We had a sheep run put in about 2 months ago and our fencer made them high knowing the goats would be going through and has ideas that goats jump fences so he made the race higher to prevent them, so that covers the yard issue.

Have electric fencing available through portable unit and reels.

Will look into the Mag Chloride you sugested Buzzard. Would the lime that the bulkies spread do for the Lime flour or is it something else?

We are looking at AI as we don't want to have a bull on site if we can help it.

The goats are still going to be useful and kept on but next season I will only milk Maggie or Marmite and the other 3 can be there for moral support. Not much diferent from what they are doing now.

Thanks for the link and advice.

10 acres in sunny Southland. Husband and 3 boys. 17 Wilties, "Clucky quarters" 2 doz + chooks, rouen clair ducks, Coffee our Irish Terrier and Kaz and Mooch our wee Kitty's. Our Big White Shepherd, Nena. Bennie and Mo the moos
Prov 27:27

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12 years 2 months ago #419134 by Jo-Otago
Replied by Jo-Otago on topic Thinking of cows again.
For magnesium (pre-calving) we buy magnesium oxide from CRT, and for calcium (after calving) I use dolomite (also from CRT) - the bigger the bag the cheaper per kg. I like dolomite (after calving only) because it provides both calcium & magnesium. Both come in powder form & are now readily accepted mixed in feeds by Dotty-moo, but I did have to start introducing the MgO at very small amounts (mixed in diluted molasses) and the only thing that she would eat it mixed in with initially was lucerne chaffhage (the moist forage). Now that she (after 2yrs) seems to have accepted the fact that no-one is trying to poison her :rolleyes: she eats anything we put in the bucket :p

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12 years 2 months ago #419143 by igor
Replied by igor on topic Thinking of cows again.
Clover is not keen on being medicated either. I was mixing her calcined magnesite with a mixture of well soaked speedibeet and lucerne chaffage last winter. Some days she was still reluctant to eat it even with the addition of molasses.

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12 years 2 months ago #419157 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Thinking of cows again.
Fussy lot! We just scatter it on the baleage in the feeder (a round one) and although they shake it, eventually they eat the lot, magnesium as well!

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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12 years 2 months ago #419207 by goatmama
Replied by goatmama on topic Thinking of cows again.
We got a big Horse mineral block that the lady at PGG recommended as she gives it to her cows and it is high in Mag and Calcium.
I agree with Sue though. We used to chuck the mag out on the silage or straight onto the pasture for the cows on the farms (when working on them years ago). None of this bribing them. Must be getting soft ay?

10 acres in sunny Southland. Husband and 3 boys. 17 Wilties, "Clucky quarters" 2 doz + chooks, rouen clair ducks, Coffee our Irish Terrier and Kaz and Mooch our wee Kitty's. Our Big White Shepherd, Nena. Bennie and Mo the moos
Prov 27:27

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12 years 2 months ago #419208 by goatmama
Replied by goatmama on topic Thinking of cows again.
By the way, what is the best approach to quietening one down for milking? Only have a small calf shed we use to milk the goats in. Are in the process of trying to adapt it for a cow. Should we take the calf off of them and see how they go now or let them settle over winter and start in the spring? Or halter her and tie her like they do for the A n P shows?

10 acres in sunny Southland. Husband and 3 boys. 17 Wilties, "Clucky quarters" 2 doz + chooks, rouen clair ducks, Coffee our Irish Terrier and Kaz and Mooch our wee Kitty's. Our Big White Shepherd, Nena. Bennie and Mo the moos
Prov 27:27

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