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Dairy without the calf removing

Discussion in 'Everything Else Cattle' started by cjc, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. Aug 20, 2018
    cjc

    cjc Loving the herd life

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    So I have been playing around with an idea. Right now our family farm makes money two ways, eggs and cows. We no longer sell beef we sell cows. But it has me thinking about another business, something I know very little about.

    Can anyone share with me what they know about the possibility of having a small dairy farm where the calf is not removed. What are the health concerns? What do I need to think about?

    I live in a very conscious city when it comes to buying local, supporting small farms and hugely, animal rights. I think I would have a decent market to sell milk, butter and potentially cheese that has been produced by cows that still have their calf by their side.

    Has anyone ever tried it? What do you know about it.
     
  2. Aug 20, 2018
    Donna R. Raybon

    Donna R. Raybon Loving the herd life

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    :)I have done this with my own cows, and I work as relief milker on commercial dairy (30 Jersey cows.)
    With my own cows I penned calf away from mom overnight and let calf have daytime milk. Calf does not take a lot of milk first month and I milked mom twice daily without putting calf up, got plenty of milk. After calf was at least a month old is when I would pen calf at night. Because calf was with mom they will eat what she eats so they have calf starter grower both in a creep feeder and when penned overnight. By the time calf is eating 2 pounds a day ( about 60 to 90 days old) you can wean if you continue to feed starter grower.
    :)
    :)Biggest caution is to never let a starving calf have a full udder as they will scour and can even die. When you pen calf, milk momma out, turn calf in with momma, calf gets just what milk momma makes and not a huge belly full. And, calf has creep feeder, too.

    I would castrate bull calves asap. You do have to consider how you plan to dehorn..... polled genetics are easiest. If you use paste calf has to be kept away from momma 24 hours and vinegar applied. Hot iron is :):pgood if you know what you are doing, but calf has to have horn buds big enough to feel. I favor iron as I have done hundreds of goat kids.

    You would need cows easy to handle and with high tight udder so calf able to nurse. I have experience with Holstein and Jersey....much prefer the Jersey. But if your climate is cold, Holstein do better. Jersey do better in our hot, humid summer.

    How many cows are you planning to have? What labor is available? Momma cows with calves can be temperamental, if not downright dangerous. And, can you AI so you do not have to keep a bull?
     
  3. Aug 20, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    CJC is in BC Canada. Sometimes very very cold, sometimes pretty dang hot.
     
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  4. Aug 20, 2018
    Donna R. Raybon

    Donna R. Raybon Loving the herd life

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    You would have to account for cold when separating Calderon momma. Not only does calf huddle up to momma for warmth, but also nurses often to stay warm.
     
  5. Aug 20, 2018
    farmerjan

    farmerjan True BYH Addict

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    @cjc.... glad to see you back on here with us some more. The requirements for raw milk vary and I have no idea of what BC or any other province of Canada requires. Now, you know I drink raw milk and have for years. Have many nurse cows and milk for myself. The biggest problem is the liability because if ANYONE gets sick, for whatever reason, then you could be liable and lose everything. I am not trying to scare you. It is just a BIG RISK if someone gets some milk that they don't handle properly and could try to come back on you. There is a few places that might help you out. These are for USA but may have some Canadian counterparts you can check. REALMILK.com is a website related to the Weston A Price foundation and has alot of information for states, what is allowed, etc. Alot of information in general. Also "Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund" FTCLDF addresses the legalities and even offers a course for people wanting to make raw milk available.
    Some states here allow sales, some have herd shares or cow shares, and some absolutely will not allow raw milk for personal consumption ( which is silly as no one will tell me I cannot drink milk from my own cow). Many "offer" milk as "pet food" so that they are not liable for it in any way as they are not selling it for human consumption.
    I understand you wanting to do it in a humane manner. However, there is a factor of more bacteria when a calf has unlimited access to the cow and her teats.
    What I do is somewhat similiar to what donna said, I pen my calves away from the cow for 12 hours, milk her, then let the calves have her for 12 hours. M/L. So calves are penned up in evening, cow goes out for the night to graze, cow comes in, in the morning, gets milked then the calf/calves, are allowed to spend the day with the cow. She goes out at night.....repeat. The calf is getting plenty of milk, and I am not milking out of a teat that the calf has been sucking on maybe an hour before. The cow will get used to the routine quickly and will be glad to not have the calf constantly bothering her. I mostly use my cows as nurse cows and still do it like this. The calves will learn to eat grain faster if they do not have the cow to nurse on all the time and the cow really will learn to appreciate the break.

    I have to disagree with the statement that holsteins are better in the cold. There were more farms with jerseys and crosses in the colder states for years, and jerseys tend to produce a higher butterfat in the colder states. They have a higher metabolism in the cold and will eat more but they still will not consume anywhere near what a holstein will. I test for several Jersey dairies and they do not have any problem in the cold. The calves are alot smaller as you know so will feel the cold more, but that can be taken care of. You have always seemed to do a very good job with raising the crossbred bottle calves in the past. Dry bedding, a good place out of the wind, plenty to eat so they can metabolize their milk and feed well. I would rather raise a jersey calf than a holstein anyday.

    I think you need to find out what regulations there are to start with. Then go from there. I have done cow shares, and there is a demand for it but Va is one of those states that you kinda slide under the radar....raw milk is not allowed for sale.

    One thing, I will not drink milk from a cow that is not vaccinated for Bangs. Used to be required here but no longer.... and it is a simple one time thing. Brucellosis is known to cause undulant fever in humans. I bangs vaccinate the beef heifers that we keep as replacements because it can be transmitted in a herd. Better be safe than sorry. Look it up. I also only use killed virus vaccines for anything else I do. I am just not fully convinced that a "modified live" vaccine will not "modify" (or mutate), in some way with an animal and cause a problem down the road. Just me, I would rather give 2 doses of a killed virus than one of a modified live.
     
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  6. Aug 21, 2018
    cjc

    cjc Loving the herd life

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    Thank you so much @Donna R. Raybon and @farmerjan this has given me a lot to think about. I am not sure what breed I would go after. I have never dealt with Holsteins but I have with Jersey's. I do feel confident tho that regardless of weather I could care for both breeds without issue.

    I am going to look into how much it would cost me to convert my barn and also into the laws around this stuff. I think I would actually venture into the cheese realm. There is a very big demand in our area for "ethical" cheeses. Our farm is also on a street that is full of wineries that get a lot of tourist attention. The dreamer in me sees our farm being somewhat of a cheeseier (totally made that word up). But a place people come to try and buy cheeses we make on the farm with ethical dairy.

    Does anyone have any knowledge on making cheese? Have you ever done it?

    and yes @greybeard you are right. It is hot as hell here this summer, and last winter was a cold one. Our cows do well outside when provided adequate shelter. It's actually illegal here to have cattle in a field without a shelter with 3 sides. Our cows deal with hot summers, cold winters and very rainy seasons in between. What breed would you say is the best for our climate?
     
  7. Aug 21, 2018
    Donna R. Raybon

    Donna R. Raybon Loving the herd life

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    Each facet is a full time job... Milking cows and caring for cows and calves, raising feed, making cheese, marketing, delivery. Do not spread yourself too thin.

    Locally e coli outbreak put almost 2 dozen kids in hospital this summer. No cows ever cultured positive and not all kids consumed raw milk. Conclusion was that maybe two unrelated sources, one being raw milk and other a nearby daycare. The raw milk producers quit as far as I know. Google e coli outbreak in Knoxville, TN and it should pop up.

    I once had a doe go down with listeriosis. Had her milk in refrigerator from day before awaiting pickup. Went to milk that morning and she had full blown symptoms. Thank goodness client had not picked up night before. I dumped all milk and suspended sales until we got a handle on what was going on.

    Yeah, risk is minute, but it is 100% when it is YOU!!! I have consumed raw goat, cow milk as well as my homemade cheeses, yogurt, ghee, butter, and never any illness as a result.

    When ever I sold milk client had to bring their own container and I poured milk over. This gave a little bit of protection in that if I got sued there could be question of whether problem was mine or client.