A MS girl with a love for Jerseys

Applevalley1

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
Jun 17, 2020
Messages
10
Reaction score
23
Points
36
Are you concerned at all about the imprinting on the bull calves due to bottle feeding? I've read that Jersey bulls are difficult to manage without that handicap but after imprinting on a human with bottle feeding, downright dangerous upon reaching sexual maturity. Not something you want around you or your kids, no matter how sweet and cute they are now.






I do completely understand and know firsthand how dangerous any bull can be that is raised by human hands because they have no fear of us in them. Right now Taz is 7mos old and with getting all these new heifers he has shown out some. Back when we were still raising beef cattle I had a holstein angus X bull that was my baby for 14mos that I raised on a bottle. My sweet little brownie picked me up by the butt with his horns from behind one morning..the second time it happened my husband loaded him up. My kids are not allowed in the fields with the cows in them without us and we have made sure to teach them that they are not pets and can and will hurt or kill you in the blink of an eye. Only reason I've held on to taz this long is because I'm going to eat him in a year and now that I have jerseys I'm going to use him to breed until he is finished out. I'm not bad to my animals by any means and I do develop relationships with them because we do have to work together, but I process my meat from the hogs, chickens, quail, and cattle I raise just like I eat my produce from my gardens so if he becomes a safety issue for me then he will be in the freezer that same day. Just a little showing out I can manage, you never ever go in a pasture with livestock without something in your hands and your cowdog, but if I ever feel like I'm in real trouble with one then it can no longer be a part of the Apple valley crew. And we make a point to spend a lot of time with our cattle and walk beside them and pour out feed instead of just dumping it from a truck as we drive thru that way our herd isn't wild and can be a tad more predictable.
 

Applevalley1

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
Jun 17, 2020
Messages
10
Reaction score
23
Points
36
Just a real quick hello and welcome. I am not an expert, but have had dairy animals for a long time. I will try to answer any questions you ask. The articles that @Beekissed referred to should be read and you need to take them to heart. I am not of the same thoughts on some of it but there are valid points. That said, jersey bulls are one of the most dangerous..... and fastest moving..... of the dairy breeds. But we can discuss that in another post. If you use the @ sign and the person you want to reference, it will show up in the alerts for that person and will generate a response quicker.
Thank you so much for chiming in. And yes ma'am I do know how dangerous jersey bulls are, especially when raised by human hands because they don't fear us. My husband raised beef cattle for years-his whole life he has had them until we had to sell out back in 2018 which was the 1st time in over 100yrs that there wasn't cattle on this property. But since he knows a great deal about beef cattle I cannot talk to him or ask him questions about my cows because he gives me the response "a cow is a cow" and he has been wrong about everything I've asked him so I came here because Google is of no help either. Okay, before I ask my few questions let me give u a quick rundown, I have a cow that is bred with her 3rd calf that weighs around 1,000lbs, a 1st calf heifer(24mos old) that weighs around 700lbs, a 10 month old heifer that's about 450lbs, a 7month old heifer thats probably 375lbs, 7 month old thats 300lbs, 7 month old bull thats about 550lbs, and a 4 month old bull and heifer that are about 200lbs each. I have had the big bull his whole life, the little bull since he was 5 days old, the 1st calf heifer and 4mos old heifer calf about 3 1/2mos, and I just got the big momma cow, 10mos old, and 2 7mos old heifers 8 days ago. I know dairy cows don't fill out like a beef cow does but question#1 how can I tell if a dairy cow is too thin or not? One of the 7 month olds I know needs some groceries. And taz has eaten good his whole life bc I've fed him so i know but you can still see their backbone and ribs. They aren't pot gutty like I've seen some but I've seen dairy cows just driving passed people's places while driving that look better than mine. Question#2 I have adequate pasture for them all to eat but the man at the dairy i got the cows from said you feed dairy cows grain every day all year bc it makes them produce milk. How much is an ideal amount of grain for each of my cows given their age/weight/dry or wet(only one wet right now but big cow should calve this week)? I bought a 16% pellet feed that is different from what they had at the dairy and they all seemed to like it except the big one, she wouldn't touch it. I only got 300lbs just in case they didn't like it. I fed 300lbs in 3 days!!! Plus 2 whole square bales of hay!!! I just feel like they need groceries because I see their backbones and ribs(newer ones more than others except big cow seems not too thin). I just switched feed again and got a custom 14% mix that they all really like, glad bc I got a whole ton. They won't hardly pull grass, my husband said its because I feed them too much and I've got to cut back and make them graze or I will go broke and they will die. They just lay down nearly all day like they are chilling. Please give me some general guidance on this. Im a firm believer in feeding anything I'm responsible for, I can't stand to see a starving animal and mine look starved to me and I know I'm feeding them. I have wormed them so thats taken care of, they have a salt block, bagged minerals, and tons of fresh water. Lastly, do you know anyone with some small scale dairy equipment for sale? Just maybe a few gallon size pasteurizer, and whatever else I need to be able to pass an inspection and start selling milk at the farmers market? What all would I need with only having 2 milk cows, as far as equipment goes if I want to hand milk, pasteurize, and bottle on farm? Thanks so much for your time.
 

Applevalley1

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
Jun 17, 2020
Messages
10
Reaction score
23
Points
36
I haven't seen any questions so can't really say much. You are right though, getting a first calf heifer that is that quiet and accommodating is absolutely the best. I have had some that are great and some that are true witches and some all the different levels inbetween.

I am wondering why you are keeping the jersey's as bulls? I realize that maybe you are thinking breeding in the future. But keeping 2 is not a good idea. The few months difference will not make a difference once they get more mature. Jerseys also mature sooner. You need to be aware that the heifers also will mature earlier. I have had jersey and jersey crosses and even holstein/beef crosses come in heat as young as 10 months old. You DO NOT want them to get bred that young.... but it only takes one quick breeding by the bull and they could get caught. Once a bull gets mature enough to breed, and has an opportunity to do so, you are in a much more precarious position with trying to deal with him. I have had a couple of jersey bulls; specifically to breed a few of my cows. Have not had any problems.... but more often than not you will. I also have used them, then sent them to slaughter as soon as they have done the job they were kept for.

Any jersey bull calf that i get, whether born here or bought as a calf to go on a nurse cow, is banded by 3 months. PERIOD. I have raised more calves than I can count over the years and have done bottles, buckets, and nurse cows and by far the nurse cows produce the best calves with the least amount of cost..... if you have a cow that will take the calves. Some of mine are great, a few are not, most can be convinced to take them with a little time and effort. I usually have 3 calves per cow, sometimes even 4 if the cow is a heavy milker. I used to do at least 2 groups per cow, so she would raise from 4-8 calves during her lactation but now I usually only do one set, let them stay on longer, and feed less grain after about 3 months. There are all sorts of tricks and ways to do it.

If for no other reason, please take it seriously that the heifers you are raising need to be kept separately from the bulls, so they don't get bred too young. Often you will not even know they got caught, and next thing you know at 14-16 months they are looking awfully round and starting to develop an udder and it is way too late to abort them. It compromises their growth tremendously.... even if they manage to deliver and even raise a calf at that young an age. They will always be "stunted" to some extent and often breeding back is a problem.

Looking forward to hearing more about what you are doing, want to do, and if I can give you any help at all.
Just seen this reply. I am selling the 4 month old bull is why I have not banded him. His new owner will be picking him up on the 26th, well I'm delivering on the 26th. Taz is not in the same pasture as the young heifers. I took those pics the day the man delivered the new cows 8 days ago and we just let him unload them in the front pasture where the others just happened to be. They are pastured as follows: heavy bred momma cow, 10 month old heifer, and both 7 month old heifers together and closed completely off from the others so the 4 month olds do not try to suck the bred cow and cause a world of problems I'm definitely not prepared to handle. And: 1st calf heifer, both 4 month olds since she nurses them, and the 7 month old bull are pastured together and closed off from the other group. I did it like that not only so the babies wouldn't nurse the bred cow but also because Lorraine, the 1st calf heifer, does need to be bred back per the man at the dairy. He said if they skip more than 2 heats being bred it is not good for their production or something like that-i just definitely remember him saying I need to get her bred back ASAP. I have never seen taz try to breed her and my husband says he is too young right now but I figured if it did happen that I have them pastured appropriately for it to happen with the one that needs to be bred and away from the ones that do not need to be bred. Is that true about me needing to get my heifer bred back quickly? Her calf is just over 4 months old now but not quite 5 months old yet. The dairy that I have been buying bull calves from, and all these heifers and cow too, are unfortunately going out of business and selling out. I originally got Lorraine to use as a nurse to cut back on costs raising the calves and to have one to milk because I have not done it since I was a girl and really enjoyed it and making butter and cheese. It was just so fascinating to me then and it hasn't gotten old to me yet, maybe because I'm just starting and the newness hasn't worn off but I really do enjoy it. You don't happen to know a source for bull calves do you? I could buy as many as they would let me, or on a contractual basis guaranteeing a minimum to purchase from them, and I am in East Central MS but do not mind driving if it is for enough calves to make it worth a trip. Now I have nurses and no calves :( and I also really enjoy raising them too. They sell really well here. I usually get them bottle broke, keep them a full week, then sell them and that way my costs per calf aren't terribly high and I make a little profit off of them. Thanks again for your time, you really do not know how much I appreciate you. If there is anything I can do to return the favor please don't hesitate to ask.
 

farmerjan

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
3,619
Reaction score
11,788
Points
468
Location
virginia
Have a list a mile long to do today, but I will try to sit and answer/comment this evening. Glad to know that you are not really a total "newbie" with the cattle. Sounds like you have a good amount of general knowledge and GOOD COMMON SENSE !!!!!
 

Applevalley1

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
Jun 17, 2020
Messages
10
Reaction score
23
Points
36
Have a list a mile long to do today, but I will try to sit and answer/comment this evening. Glad to know that you are not really a total "newbie" with the cattle. Sounds like you have a good amount of general knowledge and GOOD COMMON SENSE !!!!!
Thank you ma'am. I do have a bit of knowledge about cattle as a general topic, I just have a complete lack of knowledge in regards to dairy cattle specifics and I want my ladies to be in the best condition they can be in. I'm not one of those "if it has a name you can't eat it" or "it's my baby it won't ever hurt me" people. I am a farmer, I do have my picks like everyone that handles a lot of livestock, but at the end of the day it is a job and I want to learn this aspect of cattle farming to get a ROI and just have nobody to teach me. My daddy was the only person I knew that grew up with some dairy cows and I was never interested in them to ask about them then. I apologize for being so thorough, I am just very detailed and try to anticipate any needed info and explain with a book report long reply. Thank you again for taking the time to help me.
 

farmerjan

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
3,619
Reaction score
11,788
Points
468
Location
virginia
Okay, I might answer in bits and starts... but I will try to address your questions.

Sounds like you have them sensibly separated. As for the breeding the heifer back. The OPTIMAL for cattle is to have a calf every 12 months; once a year. They carry 9 months.... so If it all goes perfect, you will breed at 60-90 days and they will settle and they will get dried off 60 days before their due date for their dry period. That is when the calf grows the most, and the cow needs to put some "fat on her back" so to speak. She is storing up her body reserves as the first 60 -90 days, they cannot eat enough to replace what they need while coming into the peak of their production. So you dry them up, let their mammary system have a break, the calf grows the most, and they get 2 months off before they start all over again. Plus, you want them to produce good colostrum , and if they don't get that dry off, their colostrum will not be as "good" because their body hasn't been able to build up all the immunities that they pass on in the colostrum. It is important for them to just get a break from being milked/nursed.

That said, if she is milking heavy sometimes that will cause her reproductive system to be slow to coming back. If she is thin, it will delay cycling sometimes. So the dairies try to get them cycling and coming into heat at 30-45 days, then they will try to get them bred by 3-4 months in lactation, so they have a calf every 12-14 months. It is also the most economical for a commercial farm. It is not ESSENTIAL.

Look at it this way.... when do you want her to calve????? Say you want a spring calf, March or April.... you count back about 9 months and that is when you want to breed her. So usually about June will give a March calf.... Now they don't always catch on the first breeding, but with a bull, settling is much more likely on the first time he breeds her.
You may want to consider your weather. What is the better time of year to have calves? Sometimes in very warm climates, you might prefer a late fall calf. Sure the grass isn't as good.... but you ought to be getting a "second growth" with the cooler temps? If you get a Sept to Nov calf, the temps will be easier on the cow. You shouldn't be so cold as to be a problem for the calf..... You can wean it off in the spring ---6-8 months, then it will be able to take advantage of the grazing too and she will be dry during the heat of the summer. So you breed her in say Dec-Jan. The bull will be a little more fertile too if the heat isn't "cooking" his semen. Bulls will extend their testicles as far down as possible away from their body in the heat in order for the semen to remain viable. Nature has it all figured out.... but extreme heat, and long periods of it will often cause some temp damage to the sperm, and that is common. Not a problem unless you are wanting to get them bred right then. The cow's body temp will also affect the semen.... if it is hot, her body is hot, she can in effect "damage or kill" the semen. On 90+ degree days here, if the cow is out in the sun, we say we might as well put the straw of semen on the ground for all the good it will do. That is breeding her AI or artificial insemination.
That brings me to another thought. You say this farmer is going out of business...selling out.... are there other dairies in the area? If so, getting calves should not be a problem.... but I get the feeling that there aren't many close? Are there any stockyards - sale barns- closeby? Maybe find out if any dairies take their calves to a sale barn and offer to buy direct off the farm?
What about breeding AI? Are there any cattle close to you? Many beef operations will do some AI.... ESPECIALLY if they are purebred cattle. I used to breed as a relief tech for Select Sires... a big AI company. I know they have people in most every state but whether they are close enough to you I don't know. BUT, if there is a farm closeby that does some AI on their own cattle, you might be able to get them to breed your cow(s) too. Lots of people up here do that.... it is good for community relations and all that. I have people call occasionally to come breed their "family cow" AI. I have a nitrogen tank semen tank, keep several "bulls" in it and can get whatever a person wants from one of the several semen companies. The straws keep "forever" in the liquid Nitrogen until you need them. More to it but that is the basics.

So you would not need a bull for that.....But getting back to getting her bred.... if a cow goes for a LOOOONG time before breeding back, sometimes they are harder to settle. They can get fat or the ovaries will quit producing eggs and they quit cycling. Sometimes they get cystic... I often will let a first calf heifer go 18 months between her first and second calf if she is producing heavily.... but I am not a commercial dairy. So she will go about 9 months before I breed her back. I breed them to suit MY SCHEDULE.
I am sure you haven't read all my "journal", but I held off several of my nurse cows because I was planning to have my ankle replaced in January.... I could not have them calving in March or April because I was not mobile enough to take care of them and get calves grafted on them. So I held them all off, and had a calf born the other week, and although moving slowly still, I am able to work with her. The others will calve in the fall and I should be as good as I can get with the recovery. It got replaced in Feb due to my son breaking his femur in Nov.... totally NOT in the plan.... Plus he does not deal with the nurse cows very well.... we have beef cattle too, and he works full time so he just doesn't have the time to deal with my nurse cows.

So, You need to make some decisions as to when you want the calf to be born, as well as not wanting her to be open for a year or more. There are ways to get her back to cycling if she does go for a long stretch.... no guarantees. But there are tricks to try if a problem.
I am thinking that your bull is maybe still too young? Is he tall enough? They will find a way, but sometimes it helps if they are somewhat close in size.
 

farmerjan

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
3,619
Reaction score
11,788
Points
468
Location
virginia
As far as feed. My cow that just came fresh is 3rd lactation. She is getting about 10-12 lbs grain a feeding. That is ABOUT a 1/2 of a 5 gal bucket. She is making a lot of milk. A young cow would need that much if she is milking heavy so that she doesn't lose weight. On average, a 5 gal bucket of feed will weigh around 20-25 lbs. I figure that a 50 lb bag of feed will fill 2 buckets plus a little.... depends if it is pellets or a sweet type feed with more grains.... but that is a good "general rule" to start with. So my cow is getting about 20 lbs a day, right now. If I get some 2nd cutting alfalfa hay soon, then she will get less grain and a couple leafs of hay to supplement. She is a jersey/holstein cross and will drop weight fast in the beginning.
The rule of thumb for growing dairy animals is 2-4% of their body weight. So a 400 lb growing calf would need about 8 lbs grain a DAY.... usually split in 2 feedings. So just for example, the milking heifer and her 2 calves ought to be getting about a bucket of feed a day.... with the cow maybe getting a more if she is thin. It all depends on how much milk she is making too and if you want her to keep pouring out the milk production.... Jerseys can look thin. Some "families " are more "dairy" than others.
The dry cow needs next to no grain... just enough to keep her coming into the barn or catch pen or whatever. Too much will make her fat, and can cause problems calving. She also could develop milk fever, which is an imbalance with the calcium in their system and can sometimes come from too much grain pre calving.... the 2, 7 month olds probably need some but not alot unless you think they are too thin.
My suggestion... since they don't seem to be grazing... feed in the morning, give them maybe a section of hay per animal... MAX. DO NOT FEED in the eve and "make them" go out and rustle their own grub.
The ones from the dairy are going to have a little harder time transitioning because they are used to more concentrates. They also may have had silage. That will put on and keep on weight.
If the grass is decent, they will eventually figure out that they need to graze or they will be hungry.

If you just wormed them, then it will take a little bit of time to get that out of their system too.
There are also some animals that are "hard keepers".... if they need alot of extra groceries, you need to make a reasonable decision as to whether they will be costing you too much. Or get used to looking at them with less flesh on them. But realize that the ones you got off this farm, dairy, are going to have to make some major adjustments to a different feeding method. You may have to feed more grain for awhile to get them to transition.....
Grazing will be better for them in the eve/night if your temps are hot during the day. So try to be "mean" and force the grazing issue in the eve when they will at least be more comfortable doing it.
Commercial dairies bring the feed to the animals.... us homesteader/family cow types expect our animals to do their part and get out and get their own meals instead of having it all "delivered to them"..
 

farmerjan

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
3,619
Reaction score
11,788
Points
468
Location
virginia
I just went back and tried to re read your posts, and I know that I have not fully addressed everything. I am falling asleep though so am going to have to quit for now. Had a pretty long day, and another tomorrow. I am still getting around slow, the ankle is doing good but the knees are hurting. They are the next to replace and I am looking forward to it because the ankle has done so well.

I think that I read there was an older heifer in with the dry cow too.... You may have to figure out a way to feed the heifers in there separate from the cow so she doesn't get too much grain while dry. Since she was getting some on her previous farm, then a little would probably be good, but not more than a couple pounds.... like a couple "mouthfuls" for her.
If they are not pot gutted, then they are okay to feed a bit more too. But if they are not grazing, you might have to be a bit ruthless, and not feed much to get them to go out and graze. If they were in some sort of "confinement" situation before, it will take them a little bit to understand and be able to get out and do what cows are supposed to do.
I will try to reread tomorrow and see what I forgot to address...
 

Applevalley1

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
Jun 17, 2020
Messages
10
Reaction score
23
Points
36
First off let me say THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS SO THOROUGHLY! You are THE BOMB!
The 1st calf heifer is not milking heavy I don't think. Her bags are nowhere near as large as the bred cow's. But she is nursing 2 calves that look excellent and filled out to a tee plus giving me a gallon each morning. And with the 4month old bull being taken off of her in less than a week when he goes to his new home I will be milking her twice a day instead of once.
With our angus cattle we did always arrange for them to calve early spring and late fall and stuck with that routine each year and my husband was funny about never keeping a bull past 5yrs old. But, I assumed dairy cows were not on any set breeding schedule since I always was able to buy calves all year round. It's good to know that I don't HAVE to be in a huge hurry to breed my heifer. I'm not worried about heavy production right now, just when I do get certified and get my needed equipment to do small scale sales at market I will need her to be giving me some milk. Once that all starts falling in place I can then for sure say what schedule I need her on but for right now there is nothing that would make it critical for my needs for her to be bred.
There are no other dairies around me. Our whole state is down to 45 dairies total, down from like 185 less than 5yrs ago. Very sad situation for small dairy farms like the one I have been doing business with. I was just talking to my husband about me getting certified to AI this year. There are plenty of beef cattle around here but none that AI that I am aware of. Just a bunch of older men that have had cows their whole life and just keep the tradition going. To give you an idea about the area I am from, the welcome sign to my town reads "welcome to puckett 300 good friendly folks and a few ole soreheads". Not very much advancement going on, just old fashioned type farmers. When daddy got sick and we sold our beef herd in '18, we did sell our bull to my husband's cousin that is only about 10mi up the road. And I know he would let us use him because he used him even before we sold him. So, ideally, I would like to breed my heifer and the bred cow to the angus bull at the same time so we don't have to fool with the bull but once with loading and unloading and all that. I know that is a good few months away but knowing that it is ok for Lorraine to not be bred back ASAP I can wait until then with no worries. I am keeping Taz around as an option #2 in case it doesn't work out with the angus bull. So either way, in a few months I will be able to get my cows serviced.
 

Applevalley1

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
Jun 17, 2020
Messages
10
Reaction score
23
Points
36
I just went back and tried to re read your posts, and I know that I have not fully addressed everything. I am falling asleep though so am going to have to quit for now. Had a pretty long day, and another tomorrow. I am still getting around slow, the ankle is doing good but the knees are hurting. They are the next to replace and I am looking forward to it because the ankle has done so well.

I think that I read there was an older heifer in with the dry cow too.... You may have to figure out a way to feed the heifers in there separate from the cow so she doesn't get too much grain while dry. Since she was getting some on her previous farm, then a little would probably be good, but not more than a couple pounds.... like a couple "mouthfuls" for her.
If they are not pot gutted, then they are okay to feed a bit more too. But if they are not grazing, you might have to be a bit ruthless, and not feed much to get them to go out and graze. If they were in some sort of "confinement" situation before, it will take them a little bit to understand and be able to get out and do what cows are supposed to do.
I will try to reread tomorrow and see what I forgot to address...
And on the feeding situation, for the past few days I have only been feeding once per day early morning when I milk Lorraine. And I no longer feed the bred cow and younger heifers at the barn. I now feed them in the pasture closer to the house under some trees so they will be shaded while they graze and the water won't get terribly hot. I have been feeding all of them a 2gal bucket per head per day. I will bump Lorraine's ration up per your advice to double what I've been feeding her. The bred cow I try to feed far enough away from the younger ones so she won't bully them because she is mean to them when it comes to feed, I've been calling her boss lady haha. But she gobbles her feed up and runs to the others and finishes theirs off too! The one that is real thin I got her in a routine of coming to the fence about midday for an extra scoop while the others are grazing. Just making those few changes have made a world of difference in their grazing habits. My husband said the same thing you did about them having a huge transition with coming from a dairy with no pasture to having a pasture full of grass to eat all day and blackberries :) but getting them away from the barn that they assumed they were confined to and out in the field and feeding 1x daily has worked so great and they seem spunkier(the young ones). I go outside and just look at them and they run around and explore like they now like their new home. It feels good when you know your ladies are happy. They are kinda skidding though, the younger ones, like they haven't been handled much so I spend a lot of time with them and they are starting to come closer to me and the one I give the extra scoop to let me scratch her behind the ear for a sec yesterday. Thanks again. I'm so glad we crossed paths because your advice and the way you explain things has been a tremendous help to me and I do greatly appreciate you. Have a wonderful day!
 
Top