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chives

313 Posts
Victoria
Shelton WA
usa

Posted - Jul 30 2014 :  8:37:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't own a cow yet, I help my neighbor hand milk hers. Her cow is polled. Is a big deal if she does have horns, I realize you have to be a bit more watchful. I see some jerseys cows with horns. Does anyone have one? I know crazy question. Vicki

maryjane

7053 Posts


Posted - Jul 30 2014 :  9:40:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It seems to be a matter of personal choice. I know of a woman who owns Jerseys and likes their horns. I'm uncomfortable around horns, especially when my grandchildren are around. I've also noticed that cattle use their horns on each other when they're establishing a hierarchy. There's often a lot of pushing and shoving during feeding. Not to mention their horns can get stuck in wire fencing. My cows are always trying to put their head through a fence for greener grass. Just seems easier to me if they don't have them. It's one less thing to worry about.

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

36 Posts


Posted - Aug 03 2014 :  3:20:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our cow Bella had her horns cut down to stumps just before we bought her because one of them was growing back towards her head. The removal would have been very painful for her, but better than a horn through her head. Her daughter, Molly, has horns, and we let them grow. She has had a better diet than her mother and her horns a strong and straight. As its only the two of them, we don't mind leaving Molly with horns, although she does use them to get more than her fair share of the hay ration at times. I understand in a larger dairy situation you might want to remove horns. We also think that horns provide better protection for the cow against dogs. Occasionally, when Molly is very excited or agitated she can accidentally swing her head and catch you with a horn, it does bruise, but no permanent damage done. Biodynamic farmers believe that the horns are important with cow health, but that makes me wonder how naturally polled cattle survive! If you do want to remove horns it should be done at a young age, as it involves digging them out of the skull (pretty messy, that's why I prefer to leave them alone if its safe to do so). I was under the impression that you can't get naturally polled dairy cows, but maybe someone else can comment on that one. It does just come down to personal choice and how many cows you're going to keep.

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

Self-sufficiency and Permaculture in Rural Australia
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maryjane

7053 Posts


Posted - Aug 04 2014 :  10:51:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Farmer Liz,

For my Jersey breeding program, I'm trying to eliminate horns in my herd for the reasons you state, the occasional bruise, in addition to the potential for injury to another cow, and also to eliminate the worry of them getting them stuck in wiring fencing.

More importantly, I have quite a few grandkids and don't like having a cow with horns around them. I also raise bulls and bulls garner plenty of my respect. A bull with horns is even more problematic, especially for veterinarians. Horns are just one more thing you have to worry about. Below are two links to a bit of discussion and some photos of my bull, Beaumont, after getting his horns removed (and I have other photos/details in my book).

Yes, getting them done at a young age and while using anesthesia turns out to be a minor procedure as opposed to doing it once they're older. A round hot iron is used to burn and kill the cells around the tiny stub of a horn and so it quits growing. If you do it to a calf around 1 - 2 months of age before there is any horn to speak of and while the calf is still nursing (for comfort and also Mom's attentive licking of the injury), they don't seem to even notice it's been done to them once the numbing wears off.
https://heritagejersey.org/chatroom/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=176
https://www.heritagejersey.org/chatroom/topic.asp?whichpage=1&TOPIC_ID=36

On another note, I've noticed Jerseys or Jersey semen being advertised for sale as "polled." Yes and no. That particular Jersey may have been born without horns but it doesn't necessarily mean that trait will be passed on. With all of my cattle, I extract a bit of hair from under their tails to send off for genetic testing. One of the things I test for is horns. I think that particular test costs $25 or $35.

Here’s what the results tell you:

H/H HORNED. No copies of either Polled molecular marker are present.

Pf/H POLLED. One copy of the Polled-Friesian molecular marker is present. At least 50% of the offspring will be polled.

Pf/Pf POLLED. Two copies of the Polled-Friesian molecular marker are present. All offspring will be polled.

Pc/H POLLED. One copy of the Polled-Celtic molecular marker is present. At least 50% of the offspring will be polled.

Pc/Pc POLLED. Two copies of the Poll-Celtic molecular marker are present. All offspring will be polled.

Pc/Pf POLLED. One copy of Polled-Celtic and one copy of Polled-Friesian molecular markers are present. All offspring will be polled.

It’s pretty fascinating how this plays out in an actual herd. All my cows and bulls still carry one H so I still see horns occasionally. I do have a bull that will be one year old in November who is Pf/Pf so I can use him to begin to not only eliminate the horns in my herd but ensure that if his semen is used on a cow with horns, their calf will be born without horns. For my herd, I have the ten-year plan in mind!

I couldn’t believe my recent bad luck. I paired a Pf/H with a Pf/H and I got an H/H. Back to square one with that calf. So when someone offers semen from a POLLED bull, you need to find out a bit more genetic detail if you’re trying to eliminate horns. None of my cows or bulls have horns. More than half have been born without them. I've been pretty lucky.


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

3486 Posts


Posted - Aug 04 2014 :  9:34:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you for explaining all of this! I am printing out your explanations and inserting it in my Milk Cow Kitchen book.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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farmer Liz

36 Posts


Posted - Aug 05 2014 :  01:00:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks so my MaryJane, its good to know that jerseys can be polled, I will have to find out what is available in Australia for our next AI. Of course, you can't always be choosy when buying a house (family) cow as there aren't always too many options, in our area anyway! And I agree with the bulls, we have only had a polled Braford bull, and a little Dexter with scurs, I would not want to be around a bull with horns!

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

Self-sufficiency and Permaculture in Rural Australia
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maryjane

7053 Posts


Posted - Aug 05 2014 :  06:48:08 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I see "polled" Jersey semen in some of the major worldwide catalogs but again you have to know a bit more than that. I'll post some links the next time I'm browsing for semen:)

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

313 Posts
Victoria
Shelton WA
usa

Posted - Aug 05 2014 :  6:29:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all this information. There is so much to learn and consider. I just want one mid size cow. One day. Vicki
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Aug 06 2014 :  4:46:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Vicki, It will happen! I never thought I would have "one mid-size cow" and now I do! The opportunity rather fell into my lap when I wasn't expecting it. You have a great chance to be learning all of this beforehand and time to consider exactly what you want.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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Andrea0509

155 Posts


Posted - Mar 12 2016 :  2:44:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Does the Pc/Pf marker indicate that a cow may not be 100% Jersey? I have a prospective buyer for Percy inquiring about her lineage and wants a pure Jersey. I was unable to obtain the information from the original owner when I registered her with HJO, so I have nothing to go off except that she's a Miniature Jersey. Any insight on this? Thanks all! :)

Hobby farming with my husband & two kids in beautiful Michigan ~ 1 Jersey; Miss Persimmon, 2 Olde English Southdown ewes; Lula & Clementine, and chickens to come Spring 2016. Loving the adventure!
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maryjane

7053 Posts


Posted - Mar 12 2016 :  2:55:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If those are Percy's polled markers, it means she's homozygous polled as opposed to heterozygous polled. Homozygous means she's double polled and all of her offspring, even if bred with an H/H, will not have horns. It has nothing to do with percentage Jersey, other than original Jerseys had horns. Most "miniature Jerseys" have some Dexter somewhere in their lineage. That's how the folks who erroneously marketed their sized-down Jerseys as "original Jerseys from the Isle of Jersey" brought them down in size--they crossed them with Dexters. Original Jerseys weren't miniature but mid-sized.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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Andrea0509

155 Posts


Posted - Mar 12 2016 :  4:06:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you for the quick reply Mary Jane! That makes more sense. Do you think with her dark coloring she's mixed with something down the line, perhaps a Dexter several generations back? I'd say she definitely has the Jersey look in every other way (in my newbie opinion), especially with the white ring around her nose :)

Hobby farming with my husband & two kids in beautiful Michigan ~ 1 Jersey; Miss Persimmon, 2 Olde English Southdown ewes; Lula & Clementine, and chickens to come Spring 2016. Loving the adventure!
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maryjane

7053 Posts


Posted - Mar 12 2016 :  4:57:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm guessing that the person asking if she's 100% Jersey is also a newbie and perhaps someone thinking about wanting to market 100% Jersey. 100% Jersey is a difficult standard to prove if not impossible, even in the bigger registries unless you have multiple generations of Jerseys that have been registered and genetically tested to verify parentage (a recent development). The white ring around her nose speaks Jersey and is a good one, which means she'll be a cream producer. Really, all we can hope for, given the one-upmanship marketing in the cattle world, is generally Jersey, generally Guernsey, etc. unless of course you're trying to set yourself apart. That's the idea behind most of the 100% language, even for things like grass-fed. Black doesn't mean Dexter because there are red Dexters. Black is a common coloring in Jersey herds and not necessarily a function of Dexter breeding. Ayrshire, Jersey, and Guernsey were once the same cow before there was forced isolation for the purpose of marketing. There's a lot more I could say but I'll save it for when I feel long-winded:) In my opinion there are other more important questions to be asked when considering a cow for purchase. Good luck and glad I could be of help.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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Andrea0509

155 Posts


Posted - Mar 13 2016 :  11:16:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for taking the time to share your prospective on this Mary Jane. I passed the information onto the prospective buyer and she decided to pass on her. I'm still hopeful that we will find the right family for Percy, just have to patient. :)

Hobby farming with my husband & two kids in beautiful Michigan ~ 1 Jersey; Miss Persimmon, 2 Olde English Southdown ewes; Lula & Clementine, and chickens to come Spring 2016. Loving the adventure!
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maryjane

7053 Posts


Posted - Mar 13 2016 :  12:13:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Andrea, until you find a home for her, you might think about calling around locally to see if you can locate some wood chips (not wood shavings--they're too thin) in order to make a much smaller space for her using extra cattle panels. Whenever I've turned any size cow loose on wet grass or pasture, the result has been mud and permanent pock marks. With a small space that is adequately filled in with wood chips, she can't generate mud and that will give your front yard:) a break. (And then you won't have to worry about the neighbors shaking their heads). Better yet, you could put down a couple of black mats covered in straw that you muck out daily. Also, I've settled into a 2x/day mucking routine rather than one and I like how clean everything seems and how much quicker it is to do when done 2x/day. It's kind of like doing dishes as you cook rather than piling them in the sink for later--it's just easier to tackle psychologically.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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Andrea0509

155 Posts


Posted - Mar 14 2016 :  09:11:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the tips on this Mary Jane! It's not terrible right now with the cooler weather that came back in, but I know once we get back into the 60's it will get messy. It's mainly the lower half of the pasture that gets like this. The upper half is high and dry. Good ideas with wood chips & using mats. We have a huge pile of brush from clearing last summer & we're already planning to chip it this spring to fill in the muddy areas.

Thanks!

Hobby farming with my husband & two kids in beautiful Michigan ~ 1 Jersey; Miss Persimmon, 2 Olde English Southdown ewes; Lula & Clementine, and chickens to come Spring 2016. Loving the adventure!
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Mar 15 2016 :  2:30:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
And, you already have your own source of wood chips! Even better!

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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