Guernsey cow with correct tit length and more milk than you
and the calf can use.
The cow's mind is saying, "My head is down in protective mode. If I drop it more,
I am coming to kill you. This is my baby and I will protect it like all forest bovine
out of Europe. I have switched my tail to tell you that you have my attention
for the next decision to charge you. So I better have your attention."
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
Unlike most people employed to write things, the things I post about are a lifetime of experiences, plus that of my fore bearers having existential experience in figuring out how things are best accomplished. The subject today is the picking of a pet milk cow and I am still learning from the experiences of having another rescue calf we had which we are taking care of in Beanie.
We tried different names, but Beanie like the hat, is what best suits her.
My experience in this is for getting a pet cow, is to first get a pet calf. Understand that just like children, just like cat, dogs and horses, cattle are what you start out with. If you have a wild son of a bitch starting out, you are going to have a wild son of a bitch all your life.
Understand that you may have a cow like Curly who I thought was tame until the neighbors appeared one day, and Lord that cow was wild. She was ok around me, but strangers she was ready to bolt. Her calves were all wild sons of bitches too that would run through fences. I never understood it, but by God, you pay attention to what you are buying and that takes care of most of your problems, because the last thing you want is the days that cow learns to break through fences and is running down the road after some son of a bitch toots the horn at her, and she disappears into a forest of corn.
I would suggest the best for novices and others who think they do not have shit for brains, is to go talk to a dairy, or several dairies. Be pleasant and tell them what you have in mind. Believe me, the dairy managers and farmers know which cows are problems, know which bulls they artificial inseminate with that are wilder, and they can steer you in the right direction, as they always have calves.
Now to explain the calves. You do not want some heavy milk producer. Most dairies use expensive semen for their replacements they intend to keep, while using lower production bulls for heifers they are running through.
In that, as I stated, you probably would want a heifer calf from a heifer, they will be smaller, and when you get a dead head that is not climbing the walls, you will be on your way to what you want.
The reason you go to a dairy is this will help stop disease from being contracted from as sale barn or one of those lesbian cattle hustlers who sold me Belle and Daisy with the shits and dehydrated.
Now your preliminary work is also to find a vet who is not going to charge you for bullshit. That means you can talk to the dairy manager first and find out what shots they would give and what shots you should give. See some vets like having you hauling your cattle to their pens, which is a hassle and them showing up costs money, so you want something to deal with scours and a vaccination of some Long Penn, that would be long lasting penicillin to help with shipping fever and transition.
Now for your preliminary work, yes a great deal of preliminary. Do not purchase calves in the wet spring, wet fall or cold winter. You want heat as that will alleviate a number of your mistakes in warm babies last better.
You need a pen which is warmish. I do not want you burning down your garage or shed, but it should not be drafty. Garages are good, and you can put together a little pen about 6 by 6 feet with a door. You could get a wire hog panel which is 16 feet, bend it in the middle at 90 degrees and anchored against a corner wall, you pretty much have a pen for baby calf.
You will need to get some thrift store blankets, not slippery though, as the calf hooves slip on things easy, and you do not want them injured or legs splayed out laying there. Straw works wonders on this, but all of this has to be cleaned up as it will smell like a barn.
Baby calves like petting and rubbing. It stimulates them and is what the cows do. Once they figure out you are the dinner bell, you will have a permanent attachment.
You do not want them running off, so you need a halter with a rope. They learn to lead by one person on the rope and one from behind. It takes time, but once they figure out where home is and you are, they will keep track of you.
I take Beanie out in the morning to do chores, and she usually just plops down by the other cows by the fence or by something she feels secure by. She is a tame calf, so I do not have a great deal of problems with her. The problems are she has her own ideas, loves running and playing and knows I am the source of taking her back inside, so she dodges me.
Beanie is a crossbreed. Think she is Irish Galloway, Hereford, Shorthorn, probably some Charolais and toss in some Angus too. Her mother acts Galloway as she has a great deal of life and deciding she does not want to do what I need her to do. Beanie though takes after her father, a very docile bull named Rhett that I have to shove out of the way. He is a good shit and that is why I have him as I breed for tame animals first as I have had enough of that tail and head in the air wild shit.
I feet Bean three times a day. You work up to it as you do not want to overfeed a calf as it will pinch their gut and kill them. At 4 weeks she gets a quart of milk at 9 am, 4 pm and 12 midnight. If you get up earlier or get to it earlier feed then, as you do not have to feed at midnight. I am just up with the blog, so that is what I do.
I put down newspapers for pee, but she does good in peeing outside as I have her out three times a day as I am doing things and that solves a great deal of problems. Those cattle or hog panels do a great deal of securing a calf too. Just make sure about the wind, rain and shade as sun will cook a calf on hot days. Flies are a pestering problem, so you can carefully spray for them too.
In most cases you just handle a calf and that gets them used to being touched. Cows lick them on their udders, so you pet them there, and they will probably lift their tails and pee. Get them used to you over the months and it helps to settle them down. Understand that Daisy is a shit and she kicks at me for fun. Is just one of those things she has to be watched for.
I do not recommend two cows for company, as two cows like two dogs will run off if they get out. One cow will attach to you and like your company. They get out they will probably show up on your porch at night or like Daisy eat the screens of a window as she bellows her arrival.
I really like cows as they are good most days and quite settling in their being around you.
For breeds, just about anything will make a milk cow. I like hand milking so you will need a tit that is long enough to get your hands on it, or there is like a 1500 dollar automatic milker you can wash up once a day, as the calf should suck the cow out eventually. That though is what I mean about getting a cow with a small bag and not a large dairy udder. Jerseys are not those huge Holsteins as you do not want to deal with gallons of milk or have to have calves you buy to feed that milk to.
I like Gurnseys too in being mild cows. Jerseys are smart though and figure out things in how to open doors and get into other interesting situations. It is your choice though in what you get, but understand that your heifer will when she births, will not be producing a great deal of milk as it takes years for a cow to come into full production, around 3 or 4 years.
You do though have to get that milk out of of the cow though to ward off against udder problems, sore bags and mastitis. It is just something you will get done. None of this is hard or people would not have been milking cows for 5000 years.
For breeding, you will find a good vet, who will give your cow a shot to bring her into cycle on a specific day, where the vet will inseminate her, with a sperm straw of a bull you have chosen as another part of this adventure.
The calf is a bi product. I doubt you will want to put her into a dairy as their lives are short and hard. Also understand that people always have great ideas about milking cows and then find out that they need to be taken care of daily instead of sitting on their fat asses texting all day. So raising a calf which is a heifer for a home milking operation is something you would think about in dealing with that. A bull calf, you will probably castrate, and it will grow up into beef, as that is what life is as animals do not sit on shelves.
Most cows for your purposes, you should be able to get a year out of breeding them in milking. Meaning you would wait a bit before re breeding to slow the calf production down. You might want to take a break of a few months too and figure some milk from the store is a better deal. If you are a novice at this, do not breed for wet spring, autumn or winter calving, as it will add to your problems in a sick or dead calf.
I prefer to calve out from May until September.
For milking as I have noted, the calf is penned at night. The cow goes into the stanchion and the calf is let out to suck on their side, while I milk on the other side. For the afternoon milking, the calf gets it all, as I can not drink that much milk.
That is the daily routine.
It does take a baby calf though around 3 to 4 weeks to suck an entire bag out on a cow. So understand just like a baby human does not down a gallon of milk the first feeding, a calf is the same.
In my experience though, that is how I would invest in a milk cow. I would find a dairy that would not mind me pestering them, let them teach me things in questions asked, watch out for those damned Mexicans employed there, and then you might get to know the cows by sight, as they are all different, and you have a better chance at a tame calf.
Just understand that all animals are spooked by things. Beanie could care less about food processors or hair dryers. Does not care about vehicles or washing machines banging, but let me use a scoop shovel on newspapers scraping across the floor and she does not like that in the least. She is better now, but you never know what the hell is going to set them off.
Cattle just take common sense. You have to approach them with, "OK how is that dumb ass going to try and kill me or kill herself" and that solves a number of problems before they start.
It is like when you get a good idea about cows, you should stop and think a bit and wonder what in the hell is wrong with the idea, as a cow is going to find out what is wrong with your plan big time.
That is why you pet them young, halter train them and tame them down, as that solves most of the rodeo problems, you will ever have with 1200 pound animals who do not have any idea they are 1200 pounds and in most cases are still the European cattle of the forests who know how to use horns and hooves to harm.
Guernsey with about the right size udder and the correct tit length
And put a bell on your pet, as it helps in locating them, if they wander off, along with teaching them that buckets contain treats, and they will find you with the treat pale.
Just be aware that bells should be on leather straps so they will break off, as you do not want your cow getting hung up and choking herself off.....yes see what I mean about common sense and cows finding ways to kill themselves.