Nurse cow advice

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8 years 3 weeks ago #520326 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Nurse cow advice

grayk03 wrote: I was planning on the calves feeding straight off the cow, no milking.


on her own or were you hoping to mother on another? Sorry not trying to pick holes in your plan just want to get a big picture. My oldest Girl Daisy is lovely but came from a dairy herd and mostly we can walk up to pat her etc but I wouldn't be able to hand milk her in a paddock (thinking the old fashioned pictures of a dutch girl and stool standing in a field) nor force her to mother on a calf she didn't want. She has done a good job at taking others at times, but that is another story altogether.

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8 years 3 weeks ago #520327 by tonic
Replied by tonic on topic Nurse cow advice
Some interesting comments. I would assume (maybe incorrectly) that someone buying a nurse cow for the first time would be buying a nurse cow, not just any cow they liked and hoping she would do the job?

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8 years 3 weeks ago #520340 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Nurse cow advice
Very good thoughts, max2 :) .
The word "calves" suggests that grayk03 is thinking about mothering other calves onto the cow. I have had some success mothering another calf onto a just-calved cow ..... but I have had lots of failures, so do not bother these days. Finding a good quality, adoptee calf within an hour of the cow giving birth can be a real problem. With some cows I have had to get the cow into the yards twice daily for 12 weeks and headbale her, for the calf to get enough milk. Other times, the same cow has taken the extra calf without any problem at all. Even with the one set of twins that I had, I had to teach the cow for a few days that she had to feed two calves.
I am very convinced that beef breeds of cattle have richer milk than dairy breeds, but less of it. If so, then some beef cows would be able to adequately feed an adoptee as well as her own. The problem would be getting a beef cow that was tame enough to mother a calf onto, as well as getting a calf, preferably of a similar colour to her own, within that "golden hour".
Another thing you will need to think about is dehorning the calves of dairy breeds.

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8 years 3 weeks ago #520343 by grayk03
Replied by grayk03 on topic Nurse cow advice
I am hoping to buy the incalf cow, then when she has her calf, introduce another calf at the same time. I have heard that penning them up might be easier than the calf feeding in the paddocks. The reason I would like to get a dairy breed, is as you say they are tamer. I have 2 beef heifers, but they aren't tame enough. Would a better option be to milk a nurse cow and feed the calves separately? Thanks so much for all the advice on this, learning a lot!

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8 years 3 weeks ago #520344 by tonic
Replied by tonic on topic Nurse cow advice

grayk03 wrote: I am hoping to buy the incalf cow, then when she has her calf, introduce another calf at the same time. I have heard that penning them up might be easier than the calf feeding in the paddocks. The reason I would like to get a dairy breed, is as you say they are tamer. I have 2 beef heifers, but they aren't tame enough. Would a better option be to milk a nurse cow and feed the calves separately? Thanks so much for all the advice on this, learning a lot!


I would look around and find an experienced nurse cow. It is so much less work to let the cow raise the calves for you and a good nurse cow is a wonderful thing! If you buy a cow that hasn't done it before you may be lucky and she will adapt, or you may have a huge struggle and even end up buying powder to hand raise the calf.
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8 years 3 weeks ago #520367 by RaeM1
Replied by RaeM1 on topic Nurse cow advice
We had three cows that we used to milk, one would take anyother calf no problems, and often you would see up to 4 calves having a feed from her, but the ayshire would try to kill any calves except her own, so we would milk all three cows each morning with a milking plant, and then put their calves with them for the day, as the ayshire could fill a test bucket up, we would also buy other 4 day old calves, and feed them with all the cows milk, plus mix some milk powder with that, and could feed 15 or so extra calves, WE would take all of the three cows calves off them at night and lock them up, and after milking let them out with their mums. It worked for us really well.

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8 years 3 weeks ago #520368 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Nurse cow advice

grayk03 wrote: .......... The reason I would like to get a dairy breed, is as you say they are tamer. I have 2 beef heifers, but they aren't tame enough. Would a better option be to milk a nurse cow and feed the calves separately? Thanks so much for all the advice on this, learning a lot!


I disagree with the dairy tame bit. From my experience its about how the cow (whatever breed) has been handled. Where I got my old girl from is a fantastic dairy farmer, whilst a former neighbour who also milks, is a complete arse and shows no passion or care for his stock. They were terrified of him. So to my mind if you want an adult dairy cow, find the farmer who has the best reputation in the district and ask when he is culling his stock. S/He will have favourites s/he will love to see go to a good home.

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8 years 3 weeks ago #520370 by Cigar
Replied by Cigar on topic Nurse cow advice
Having mothered calves onto our quiet, halter trained Jersey cow, I would not be buying a an unproven cow hoping to turn her into a nurse cow. I would be looking for a nurse cow who has accepted calves for at least two years, and not a so called nurse cow that gets put in a pen twice a day for calves to drink from.

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8 years 2 weeks ago #520588 by bev
Replied by bev on topic Nurse cow advice
i seen the cow you are thinking about buying.
Yes she is a cull, but she is the pet of the herd, hence why they are selling her instead of hooking her at the works.
$600 is cheap I think, I sent my 2 culls off 3 weeks ago, got $1130 for the friesan and $880 for the 15yr jersey girl. and that was at local
sale yards.
You could try and mother calves on, but if you have no experience at this nor the facilities, you could either just let her raise her own, will
be beautiful meat, or wait until some are listed on trade me as a unit already, but they are closer to the $1500 mark to buy.
The cow is in good condition and is currently getting milked OAD. If she has a heifer calf, there is no reason OP couldn't raise it as their future house/nurse cow.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ronney, tonic, grayk03

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8 years 2 weeks ago #520592 by Inger
Replied by Inger on topic Nurse cow advice
The Ayrshire is a very long lived breed. A friend of mine, up near Kaitaia, has one that is 18 and still calved and milked okay. If she's in good condition and on good grass, she could still be fine for a few years yet.

If you'd like to talk to this Ayrshire breeder, send me an email or private message and I'll give you his phone number, so you can talk to him yourself and get some advice on the breed and what you can expect from them.

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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8 years 2 weeks ago #520595 by cowvet
Replied by cowvet on topic Nurse cow advice

Inger wrote: The Ayrshire is a very long lived breed. A friend of mine, up near Kaitaia, has one that is 18 and still calved and milked okay. If she's in good condition and on good grass, she could still be fine for a few years yet.

If you'd like to talk to this Ayrshire breeder, send me an email or private message and I'll give you his phone number, so you can talk to him yourself and get some advice on the breed and what you can expect from them.


meh

My uncle had a Friesian in his herd until 18 years of age. just because one lasts that long does not mean the rest of the breed will.


I love animals...they're delicious

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8 years 2 weeks ago #520603 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Nurse cow advice

cowvet wrote:

Inger wrote: The Ayrshire is a very long lived breed. A friend of mine, up near Kaitaia, has one that is 18 and still calved and milked okay. If she's in good condition and on good grass, she could still be fine for a few years yet.

If you'd like to talk to this Ayrshire breeder, send me an email or private message and I'll give you his phone number, so you can talk to him yourself and get some advice on the breed and what you can expect from them.


meh

My uncle had a Friesian in his herd until 18 years of age. just because one lasts that long does not mean the rest of the breed will.


I know the family to whom Inger refers - what she didn't say or may not know is that their eldest cow lived a decade longer - she was 28 when she died. Whether this was due to the breed or the ability to give good care to a small herd is anybody's guess. Given that I have a R19 and others that are coming up behind her I suspect it maybe the latter. And just maybe the Ayrshire does have longevity. I don't know as my two Ayrshires are first calvers and I doubt I will live long enough to find out. They are certainly a "strong" cow and probably under rated in NZ farming.

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8 years 2 weeks ago #520604 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Nurse cow advice

bev wrote: i seen the cow you are thinking about buying.
Yes she is a cull, but she is the pet of the herd, hence why they are selling her instead of hooking her at the works.
$600 is cheap I think, I sent my 2 culls off 3 weeks ago, got $1130 for the friesan and $880 for the 15yr jersey girl. and that was at local
sale yards.
You could try and mother calves on, but if you have no experience at this nor the facilities, you could either just let her raise her own, will
be beautiful meat, or wait until some are listed on trade me as a unit already, but they are closer to the $1500 mark to buy.
The cow is in good condition and is currently getting milked OAD. If she has a heifer calf, there is no reason OP couldn't raise it as their future house/nurse cow.


Thank you Bev. I gave up on this discussion because I'm getting past banging my head against a brick wall. Over many years I have bought in dairy culls and they have all been a pleasure to have around. I knew nothing of their history but there wasn't a mean one amongst them - and they would mother on calves despite the fact they were not "nurse cows".

Gray, now that you have someone that knows the cow, it may help to make a decision for you. I too think the price isn't too bad given what they are getting at the works and as bev has pointed out, she could be the start of something for you.

I would really like to know where you go with this because I have taken on old cows, cross breds that everybody scorned etc. and now have a bull calf that a farming guest spent a week trying to figure out how she could get it to fit in her vehicle to take home.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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