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August 10, 2012
Suzanne – Because of your post on milking once a day, we have now got ourselves a cow. Your post inspired us so much and made me realize I could actually handle this cow business. Now we have jumped right in and I'm excited but I don't know what I'm doing! I've got a book, but there are some specific questions that I have for you. I now have a Jersey who is 5 years old and has 4 week old twins. So far I have been just casually milking once a day. I separate her from the calves for about 5 or 6 hours in the morning and then get to her when my little one is napping. Then put her back together with her callves.
Should I be separating her for a longer period? I know some separate them from the calves overnight and milk in the mornings. In that case, do you supplement the calves with some sort of feed? If so, what kind? Or are they ok being separated that long without anything but water?
Is it still very important to get all the milk completely out, or let the calves finish it off?
Do you alternate which teats you use? Or use the same ones, so the calves always know which ones are theirs?
March 30, 2009
I'm not Suzanne, but I'll offer my 2 cents worth.
If separating her for those hours give you enough milk for your needs and does not cause scours in the calves than that's what I would stick with. Cows like schedules so you want to keep your milking time close to the same time each day. We aim for within a half hour (we've gone as far out as an hour) of our set times each day. Scours can kill a calf so be careful of letting them have too much milk. With having two calves drinking off of mama you may be okay. My newest calf is about 5 weeks old. He couldn't handle being with mama most of the time at this age. He'd drink way too much of what she produces. So I milk 2x a day and leave one teat each time for little Stew. Also, the older the calves get, the more milk they can handle.
The calves do not need feed, but you can give them a small handful each time before you let them go to mama. (You can buy calf feed. We use just plain ole sweet feed.) This will help teach them that you're their friend. Makes things easier down the road if they will let you mess with them. They should start to eat grass soon. I know our little Stew has been eating bits of grass this past week.
February 22, 2010
Ok…..we had a discussion here.The question was :When you don't milk a cow and the calf is on the mama all the time why don't they get scours?
I said that it is because the more you milk the more the cow produces. If you don't milk… the cow only produces what the calf needs. Am I right? Or did I just think I was right?
March 30, 2009
Yes, Miss Judy, that is correct. The cow generally adjusts to the demands.
Why I said she may be okay milking just once a day and letting the calves be at mama the rest of the time is because there are two calves. If there was just one calf, I'd say that as young as it is that much milk from mama would definitely be too much. It may be too much for the two calves. She'll have to watch their poop.
She probably won't get as much milk at milking time doing it the way she is now instead of milking twice a day and then letting the calves have their share. However, if she's getting enough milk for her needs and the calves are healthy then everyone is content.
August 10, 2012
Thanks so much for the reply, Sarah Grace.
I wasn't concerned about them getting too much milk because we got them at 3 weeks and they were already being kept together 24/7 by the person we got them from. But that's definitely something I'll need to watch when she calves with us next year.
How long do you separate Stew from his mom in a day's time? Overnight? Also, do you leave the same teat for him every time? Or mix it around? Maybe if you could detail out your schedule, that would give me an idea of what I could be doing better.
Great idea about using feed to make friends with the calves. I'll have to get some.
Thanks so much for your help! It's a little overwhelming at first, having a cow. But I'm already so in love with her.
March 30, 2009
Was the person milking at the same time as the calves being with mama all the time? Also, remember the first few days is just colostrum. It takes a few days for the milk to come in. As long as the calves don't get scours than the only thing you need to worry about is if you get all the milk that you need. If you're wanting more milk, than you'll have to separate the calves from mama more.
I separate Stew all the time except after we milk. We milk once in the morning and once in the evening, between 7 and 8 each time. We milk out Mama Pearl all but one teat. We don't leave the same teat but rotate around. We let Stew drink and then check to make sure Mama Pearl is milked out afterwards Once Stew is done, we separate him out into his stall and calf yard.
I understand about being in love with her already. My favorite cow is the one we got last year. She was our first. Her name is Bessie and she's a Jersey. She is due to calf anytime. Buttercup was her first calf and she's here on the farm too. We got Pearl this year, and we're getting used to each other. She's a Guernsey. She's not as ornery as I was led to believe, but that may be because we're using a milking machine with her (thank you, Suzanne!!!!) instead of hand milking.
It can definitely be overwhelming at times. At the same time, it's a wonderful thing.
March 3, 2010
I would like to add that if you are supplementing with dry feed, that you either start them on grass or a touch of rolled grain. If you give them hay, their rumen might not be ready to handle it and you will kill your calves. This process of switching them over to feed and water takes a while. Just a heads up so that you won't have to learn the hard way like we did. Considering that there is still green grass and that they are eating some already, this will help start to change it over in a nice easy natural way.
We also do once a day milking. It certainly makes things a lot easier when you can just let the calves be with the cow in the evenings. We milk early mornings and love the freedom that this style of milking brings. You will also find that your calves will grow larger and be stronger for it. We are going to let the calf suck until natural weaning takes place, which should be soon. It will be no hassle on our part and we understand that natural weaning is a lot more quiet.
She will be a year in September sometime and is now as tall as her mom. She's a big girl now, and considering that she is half beef, great eating too! We will not keep her for milking or a nurse cow…she somehow got a "stupid gene" and we are not overly fond of her unpredictable ways, esp. with her having horns and us having little children running around. The calf did chase some of our ducks yesterday, which she has seen many times before, and separated the duckling from her mom…promptly stepping on the little one and killing it. It was a sad day for us and somewhat traumatic for the kids as they got to watch and hear the whole thing. I am just glad that they didn't get in the way and get hurt. I have a feeling that the calf will be on the table in a couple months (or less) once the weather cools off.
March 30, 2009
LK brings up a very good point. I am sorry that I did not make it clear. I would not give the calf feed without letting it eat grass. We generally only give our cows feed at milking time or as a treat. They eat grass and then have hay during the winter. I am giving them some alfalfa cubes at treat time this year as our grass and hay is not the best.
Buttercup, Bessie's calf from last year, will drink from Bessie every chance she gets! Buttercup was separated for months before going to visit at Suzanne's and then separated again when she came home. Yet she still tries to drink from Bessie whenever they are together! I'm hoping that when Bessie and the Buttercup have new calves that Buttercup will quit. It makes it a challenge to keep them apart. Our grazing area is split in half but I'd rather have them all together so that the fields have a break.
October 12, 2012
Just to say I was so glad to find this on the internet this week. I've been milking this way for several years. Right now I have a jersey "Cheese Cake" that gives about 2 1/2 gals a day. She is a small cow, just right for us. I purchased her July 13, 2012 and also purchased a 3 day old calf to put with her. She's 3 years old and was at a dairy where she was milked twice a day. I am letting the calf run with her all day. I put him up at night and leave her out to eat grass. In the morning I will milk if I need it but if not I let Luck have it. He is now old enough to have all if need be.
I lost my last cow last September and took this long to be able to replace her. She was part of the family.
I thought I was crazy for years. I would milk around 9:30 in the morning (not 5:30). My husband said I needed to get up early to milk like his mother did but although I'm country I am a night owl and don't like milking at 5:30, unless it's in the afternoon.
I do have a question. My last cow got mastidus in one of her quarters. Could this be from letting the calf stay on her all day? Doing this I cannot put the cleaner on her after I milk.
December 8, 2010
Good morning all, this is to add and not take away: Duh
The vet told me as have the Delaval (milking machine suppliers) that the reason a cow gets mastitis is 2 fold. One is that she lays her udder in the poop before the holes in her teats close up (it takes about 30 minutes) after milking. The other reason is that she is holding milk for the calf because she is nursing. I use a Delaval predip to clean and a post dip to protect my cow.
When you milk is up to you and the cow, she will adjust to your schedule and do nicely. I have milked once a day and like to do that, however the cow I milk now ( holstein) likes 2 times a day.
Just a note for the fun of it. If while milking with a machine or after you finished by hand you would like to get to know your cow better or make better friends with her try brushing her or rub her down with a pair of nubby rubber gloves. You will get much closer to them and find great friends in your pastures. Then when you want to walk up to them in the pasture they will come to you and love on you.
March 3, 2010
RDSERV, did you strip her out completely when you milked? Not doing so would be something that could cause that. Also as holstein woman stated that laying down in the poop can cause it.
Holstein woman…we brush our cow every time before we milk her. We have read that it helps them to relax and they give more milk. It doesn't hurt that it helps get rid of some excess loose hair that might otherwise fall into the pail.
October 12, 2012
Holstein woman, I'm like you I love to love on my animals. They give back so much…. sometimes more than humans. I brush Cheese Cake all the time.
I let the calf have 2 tits and I take the other 2. I always change up. She is milked out when we are through. Now that the calf is old enough to eat grass I then let her out all day with the calf letting him get what he wants. Then in the evening I get her up to feed and keep the calf up all night letting her back out. I just don't think the dip helps much because I let the calf out with her all day.
Should I keep the calf off her all the time? I don't have but one pasture and it makes it very hard to keep them seperated. It's not like I need any more milk…
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