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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Jun 23 2014 :  05:59:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We have the opportunity to get my long dreamed of cow, but it is much sooner than planned...

QUESTION: if I buy a cow/calf pair and the cow is experienced milking but they stopped milking her a few weeks ago and just put the calf back on her full time - could I leave the calf on her ALL the time and just lead her into the milking parlor daily and play around with her and her udders and get her used to me doing everything without really milking her all the way? It sounds really stupid now that I "said it outloud"...

The point is I don't really need all the milk right now, but don't want to bring her home and then not do much with her and have her not bond with me and also get used to not being milked. I know I can't keep the calf off her and then not milk her regularly and completely... but i was thinking this would almost be like "practicing" with her and we could start to bond and trust, but don't want to do anything that would cause problems in the long run.

Mu hubby and I got the long dreamed of small farmstead almost two years ago after spending years dreaming, planning, saving, scrimping, and researching. We are familiar with the farm lifestyle and loving it, and have been adding one large thing to the farmstead each year to take it slow... We have been using a raw milk dairy the past year and love it, but they just closed this weekend... hubby and I took a milk cow and livestock class last month to hone up on everything we need to know but we didn't intend to actually get our cow for another 12-15 months ;>

I am feeling now that it might be a good decision to get a great cow now and underutilize her rather than settle for not the right cow later on... but if my plan wouldn't work then if I can't committ to getting it right I should plan to leave her for someone else that can.

maryjane

6764 Posts


Posted - Jun 23 2014 :  06:29:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Love that you said such a thing right "out loud." Your plan is a good one. Many years ago, I made the mistake of putting a milk cow and her nursing calf in a large pasture with two Angus (mother and daughter meat cows) and unfortunately, she picked up some bad habits from them. When it came time to wean her calf and get her pregnant again, I had to get her used to be a handled all over again. If at all possible, try to do it around the same time every day. Also, make sure you honor all the cleaning protocol you would as if you were saving the milk. Mainly, clean hands! If she gets upset about where her baby is, you can bring baby in also or at least have it nearby.

How exciting!!! You have a new intrigue and love in your life! Is this her first calf? Boy or girl? Congratulations and welcome.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Jun 24 2014 :  7:37:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thank you for the detailed response, it helps us beginners so much. I have your new book and love it - as gorgeous as it is informative. we took a family cow class at the Ploughshare Institute in Texas last month, and they hadn't seen your book yet (it was released just that week) so I had the pleasure of sharing it.

One thing I must have missed in your book, do you share how/if you separate momma and calf each night/day prior to milking? that is what all the once a day milkers recommend and I wasn't sure if you did that, or if because the cows give so much milk you don't feel the need to do that.

Thanks again for inspiring us - I have been a MJF subscriber since the beginning and appreciate the fellowship and kinship. Blessings to you and yours, and your Jersey girls!
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maryjane

6764 Posts


Posted - Jun 25 2014 :  06:34:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think everyone does that part of it differently based on their schedules and the amount of milk they need. I like leaving my babies and mommas together at night (in a shelter) because that's when things get so cuddle-y. (Don't think I haven't thought about bedding down with them in the "manger." The scene is so placid and peaceful).

Here's what I do:
I milk every day at 11 am. When I bring them in to milk them (one at a time), I'll find that an entire side (2 quarters) was recently emptied or maybe just one quarter (calves take more and more milk as they grow). So I put my milking machine on the teats that have milk. It seems like my calves get enough milk from just one side but I have seen them stand on one side and reach over to get the teats on the opposite side (looks awkward for sure!).

Once the calves are about two months old, I start to separate them very early in the morning by putting the moms (or the babies) in a separate fenced off area (within sight of their calves, otherwise they'll get upset).

As the calves age (I try to keep my calves on until 4 months of age), they need to be separated for a few hours every day anyway so they can get their fair share of hay and alfalfa pellets and get their digestive systems used to "solids" so to speak, just like a human. They also need water.

As an aside, milk cows have been bred to be milk cows such that they have big udders and more milk than a newborn can take. If you don't start taking some of the milk soon after birth, she'll likely get mastitis and could permanently damage one or more of her milking quarters. Not only are you preparing for a birth but you're getting ready to milk every day once a calf is born. Once a calf is around 2 or 3 months of age and depending on the size of the cow, a calf can keep up with her milk production and you could quit milking. But you have to observe and make sure the calf is hitting all the quarters every 24 hours.

I love observing all this on a daily basis and figuring out what I'm going to do (and learning new things every day). It's like gardening because every day things change.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jun 25 2014 :  8:19:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am printing your reply, MaryJane, and tucking it inside my copy of "Milk Cow Kitchen" for future reference! Thank you!

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Oct 05 2014 :  12:56:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good idea! I just printed a copy of this process to put in my book, too.
quote:
Originally posted by CloversMum

I am printing your reply, MaryJane, and tucking it inside my copy of "Milk Cow Kitchen" for future reference! Thank you!

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farmer Liz

36 Posts


Posted - Oct 14 2014 :  12:55:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sounds like a good idea to me! I think as soon as she gets the idea that you feed her in the milking palour it gets much easier to bring her in there! And certainly handling her is important too. We leave cow and calf together at all times and milk the cow as necessary. Twice a day at first and then reducing to once a day when the calf is bigger. Finally we get to a point where we just milk once a week, because we don't always want to be making cheese and that 4-5 L once a week is plenty. For that milking, we separate the calf overnight and milk first thing in the morning. My one tip is don't have the calf and cow too far apart, or too close to the house because they will bawl all night and you won't get any sleep and you will have a stressed out cow to milk in the morning!

http://eight-acres.blogspot.com.au/

Self-sufficiency and Permaculture in Rural Australia
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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - Oct 14 2014 :  1:11:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cindy, what type of cow? Is it the Guernsey you were hoping for?

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Oct 14 2014 :  4:24:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ron, this goes back to June. It was a jersey/guernsey cross but the situation was questionable so i passed. since then decided i want full guernsey, or decided to stick with what i really wanted in the first place, and that is why i am calling you tonight!

quote:
Originally posted by Ron

Cindy, what type of cow? Is it the Guernsey you were hoping for?

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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - Oct 14 2014 :  5:30:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ah, got it!

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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sheilabrands

4 Posts


Posted - Oct 20 2014 :  10:28:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am so grateful to have found this forum. This post was very helpful but I am still unsure how to approach my situation.

I got a good milk cow I wasn't quite ready to bring home. The work around we found to deal with the situation is what makes me seek clarification...

My cow and the calf she had last Thursday are being boarded by a friend at his dairy.

To honor our wishes, the farmer is allowing the cow and calf to stay together 24/7 -- which is not his normal practice. (He typically separates cow and calf, putting all the little ones together and bottle feeding them. Mamas are milked on schedule in regular fashion.)

The question I have is how should he handle MY COW? My husband (who normally has good instincts) thinks it makes sense to just take some of the pressure off the udder by milking all quarters partially as needed. Everything I have read tells me that the mom needs to be milked regularly at least once a day (and possibly even twice a day) --full out -- to keep her production high and risk of infection low. BUT when I see this described, it is always with a separation period for mom and calf... so I am confused.

* Will not miking the cow fully at least once a day be detrimental to my cow?
* Will milking her out completely AND leaving the little one with her all the time allow the calf enough milk?

IF a change will be beneficial to them, I know the farmer will do his best to honor me, but I am not looking to make his life more complicated unnecessarily. I am not that confident and desperate for expertise at this stage.

I expect the cow and calf to come to my farm in about two weeks. Mentioning that in case that info is impactful. Any suggestions or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. (I feel like a dunce and want to do right by my girls.)


Edited by - sheilabrands on Oct 20 2014 10:48:35 PM
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maryjane

6764 Posts


Posted - Oct 20 2014 :  11:19:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Depending on what the farmer where she is being kept is seeing, she should probably be getting milked at least once per day or at least checked to make sure the calf is taking milk from all four quarters. (I assume the calf got colostrum in the first 24 hours.) It's important to manage a cow's udder in the beginning because when the calf is young they don't usually take all the milk momma gives. I've had calves here who only milk on Momma's right side the first couple of weeks (go figure). I would get with the farmer tomorrow to make sure the calf is nursing on all four quarters. He should know what you mean. If the calf isn't getting on all four quarters, he needs to milk her out regularly.

If you have them together full time, he could take the cow out and milk her completely once per day and baby will still get the milk it needs. At that point in time (doing it at the same time every day is good), he may find that one quarter or two are empty or low, not a problem. Once they get back together shortly thereafter, the calf will nurse perhaps (and not get much or any milk) but will be fine until later when momma has milk again. This will prevent a possible build-up of uneven pressure in her udder. Hope that makes sense.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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sheilabrands

4 Posts


Posted - Oct 21 2014 :  04:35:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
MaryJane, I appreciate the reply... It helped so much. I will speak to the farmer this morning. This issue has been keeping me awake at night for days. Big hug to you.
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sheilabrands

4 Posts


Posted - Oct 21 2014 :  04:36:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

PS: The book is gorgeous. I ordered a second copy because I was handling the first one I bought so often it was getting a bit beat up... I call it my 'working copy'. :)
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maryjane

6764 Posts


Posted - Oct 21 2014 :  07:12:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Why thank you!!! I'm just so pleased to be of use to people. That's what it's all about. Knowing how to do something is one thing but sharing makes your accomplishment a million times better.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Oct 21 2014 :  9:57:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sheilabrands


PS: The book is gorgeous. I ordered a second copy because I was handling the first one I bought so often it was getting a bit beat up... I call it my 'working copy'. :)



I did the same thing!

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens

Edited by - CloversMum on Oct 23 2014 09:26:29 AM
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sheilabrands

4 Posts


Posted - Oct 22 2014 :  05:12:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's funny. We are meant to be friends, Clover's Mum! :)

Edited by - sheilabrands on Oct 22 2014 05:14:19 AM
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Oct 23 2014 :  09:27:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sounds like very soon you will have your own daily source of fresh milk! How is everything going now?

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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