House cow newbie

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10 years 9 months ago #35749 by andik
House cow newbie was created by andik
I have a jersey x (don't ask me what with - she was supposed to be purebred but she is quite large and has nice tiger stripes!!!) heifer due to calve in the next 4-6 weeks. She's our first ever house cow, and I'm trying to be really prepared. So what do people think I need to know? I'm not too worried about the calving and have a fabulous neighbour who will help out with any dramas at the drop of a hat. But how long should I leave it before I start milking her? My plan is to shut up baby overnight and milk once a day in the morning - how old does bub have to be before I take it away overnight? What feed would you give the lovely Mona while she's being milked? She's quiet enough to walk into a race and stick her head over the gate to eat.
As for design of milking stall, I read on here somewhere about angling the posts - can anyone tell me why this would be?
Right, that's some of my questions, and I'm sure there's lots more, but really would just appreciate other opinions/experiences that would help me out as a first time house cow milker (by hand, by the way, cos I ran out of cash to get a machine!). Better get back to my hand strengthening exercises...... :)
Andi

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10 years 9 months ago #467798 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic House cow newbie
Are you only wanting to milk her for your own needs? If so I would be inclined to leave baby on her. My girls usually produce 28 odd litres for the first few days (lots more the first milking) and I milk once a day.

The up side is that baby will have milk on demand and be with its mum (and visa versa, nothing more beautiful than seeing Mum and Bub together - yes I am a sook for that sort of thing) the down side is separating them down the track.

Its not easy and you will have at least 3 days and nights of constant bawling from both of them and Mum will do whatever it takes to find her baby. Longer if they can still see each other and longer if Mum does what my hereford x did and jumped several fences to get to bub. In that case we moved Bub up the road to a sympathic neighbour for a few weeks. [:I]

In the short term fter giving birth your hiefer will have tender teats and likely to kick out a lot and quickly. See if you are now able to run your hand over her udder and teats in practice. See how long she is happy to stand for you in the right place, get some daily practice in as if you are doing the real thing.

I think Ronney once posted on here how she ties up her cows rear leg when required. I supplement feed (adding a bit of nutrimol (sp?) in with the meal) when milking so it takes their mind off their udders... which I found really successful with a 1st time mother cow that I felt was likely to be difficult.

Congrats on wanting to give it a go! We bought our single milking plant not long after starting hand milking as my hands easily cramp. Best thing we ever bought.

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10 years 9 months ago #467824 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic House cow newbie
Ayrshire blood often produces tiger stripes. You will also get it with Hereford crosses, but there will usually be a broken coloured face to go with that.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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10 years 9 months ago #467826 by BlueSkyBee
Replied by BlueSkyBee on topic House cow newbie
I leave the calf with my housecow, and milk once a day, did that for probably the first 4 months or so, then started separating the two overnight, as her milk was getting a bit scarce. (drought starting etc)

I just put a lump of hay into the head of the bale, and she happily munches.

When she first calved, I had the calf on the other side of her, so she was not anxious, and milked my side. When the calf started getting a bit bigger, and would wander off, I made a pen at the head of the bale, and started putting the calf into that so she could see and smell the calf while I was milking.

If you give her supplemental feed now, it can be a good idea to start feeding her where you are going to be milking her, just to get her used to the routine of going into the correct area, you can even rope her in or however you are going to restrain her, so she is used to the feeling of being confined.

Cows can be quite temperamental after calving, and their mother protection instincts are in overdrive, so the less 'new' things she needs to learn straight after calving the better.

Make sure you feed her decent amounts of hay after calving (and before if you can) to help prevent milk fever, and when she's first had the bub, don't milk too much out of her for the first week or so, taking too much at a time can trigger milk fever as well.

All the best! :)


To dig in one’s own earth, with one’s own spade, does life hold anything better? –Beverly Nichols


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10 years 9 months ago #467834 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic House cow newbie
Go to RD1,farmlands or the vets and buy a couple of magnesium packs for just in case.... i keep a couple here on hand and although I am not confident with placing the needle, I have had cause to have them on hand to use as part of a basic first aid kit and found someone more knowledgable than I to do it when OH wasn't here.

They are cheap enough and to have on hand just in case is priceless.! I have had a neighbour call me for supply when one of his went down unexpectedly.

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10 years 9 months ago #467864 by andik
Replied by andik on topic House cow newbie
Great advice, thanks so much.

28litres!!! OMG!!!![:0]

We are just wanting milk for our own use. I have been making cheese with goats milk for a while and will continue this with the cows milk to try to provide us with all our dairy needs, but even for that 28litres a day might be a bit much!!!

I love cows and have always loved cows, and part of the reason for moving to a lifestyle block was so that I could have one/some. I grew up on a farm so have had plenty of experience around them, despite it being a while ago. I didn't realise what a difference that made until I introduced my husband (boy from London) to my lovely Mona...I thought she was gorgeous and really quite small (rising yearling), and he thought she was the biggest scariest thing he'd ever seen!!! He has grown to love her and not be scared by her now.

I have started getting her into a race each day that I can and feeding hay, but it has just occurred to be (doh!) that I always do this in the evening, not the morning....might have to change that.

As for her breeding, I suspect more Hereford than Ayreshire somewhere in her past, but as she's delightful I don't much care!

Thanks again,
Andi

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10 years 9 months ago #467871 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic House cow newbie
Andi, don't worry, your first time calver is never going to produce 28 litres :D

The stripes (there's a name for that but it eludes me at the moment) comes from the Jersey side being crossed with something else. If your see that stripeing in cattle it is guaranteed that it will have Jersey in it somewhere. But for what your wanting, it doesn't matter what she is, what does matter is that she is quiet and it seems that she is.

Eventually how you go about things will be what suits you and the cow and this will take several years to come about. But as this is your first time out I would advise leaving the calf with her for four days - this will get rid of the colostrum which few people want in their coffe (but some do). Then lock the calf away at night - and yes, iniatally the pair of them will bawl. As your not going to know what sort of production she has, and keeping in mind that heifers are not often the biggest milk producers, milk her in the morning and leave one teat for the calf or maybe even two if your not sure.

Your next problem will be let down. She will instinctively hold back for her calf so you can either milk at the same time as the calf is drinking (messy) or let it in to stimulate let down and then remove it until you have as much as you want. Nothing is set in concrete and everything varies from cow to cow so you are going to have to work out what suits you best.

I don't use hay, makes a hell of a mess in the cowshed. All my cows (and the bloody bull) eat multi feed nuts and this is what they get - not huge amounts, it's a treat not a bribe. I won't stand for fidgety cows wanting to drift around with their back legs, stand on hands, hoses, kick cups off and this is where you learn to use your voice for command. I do leg rope but only when absolutely necessary, most of the time I don't even bother with the backing chain.

The first season with your new cow is likely to be a nightmare and you could end up wondering where you got that silly idea from. But persevere and it will become a breeze. Do the same thing at the same time every day, get your routine going and eventually your cow won't give a damn what your doing or when your doing it. I know this because I'm milking cows that are coming up for 15 years of age and they will stand in the cow shed with flood water swirling around them as though that happened every day. Thankfully it doesn't[;)]

Cheers,
Ronnie

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10 years 9 months ago #467880 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic House cow newbie

Ronney;470219 wrote: Andi, don't worry, your first time calver is never going to produce 28 litres :D

Cheers,
Ronnie


That is true, I was thinking in general calving milking terms and what I get from my older girls.... sorry ! [:I]

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10 years 9 months ago #467981 by andik
Replied by andik on topic House cow newbie
Phew! At least that'll give me a few years to work out what to do with lots of milk before I'm dealing with 29litres!!!!! :D
Everything you've said has been SOOOOO useful. I'm looking forward to the whole experience, though have been through the "first season" with goats and realise how much of a nightmare it can be. Thanks so much for the warnings!
Andi

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10 years 9 months ago #468038 by igor
Replied by igor on topic House cow newbie
The difference between a goat and a cow of course is that a moderately strong person can force a goat to stand still to be milked while a cow is much larger and stronger than a person. We have both. I hand milked our purebred Jersey cow the first season, then bought a machine. This past season (her third) I was getting 15-18 litres most days through the peak, milking once a day only in the evening. If your cow is a beef cross you are likely to get a bit less unless she has thrown heavily to her Jersey side.

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10 years 9 months ago #468040 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic House cow newbie

igor;470403 wrote: ...If your cow is a beef cross you are likely to get a bit less unless she has thrown heavily to her Jersey side.

Or her beef side is heavily milky too. There are some high-producing beef cows around!

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10 years 9 months ago #468041 by igor
Replied by igor on topic House cow newbie
Good point Ruth. I hadn't thought of that.

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10 years 9 months ago #468079 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic House cow newbie
www.lifestyleblock.co.nz/lsb-forum/showt...hlight=maisie&page=3

Post number 58, my post. Just in case anyone was cynical in believing how much I get from my Girls. Maisy must have been around 8 years old/young at the time.

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