New calf

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Free ranging stanchions?

My wife took this picture one day after she looked out the window and saw this.  These two girls had been free-ranging and just chose to stand in the swing set and chew their cud.  We don’t free range them often except when their pasture is sparse or we are feeding poor quality hay.

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Egg Production

Thanks to my father we (he) converted an old grain wagon into a chicken coop.  Thanks Dad!

We now have 32 more layers in this out in the cow pasture to help us keep up with demand for our eggs.  I wanted 200 but after a “compromise” we ended up at 32.   This great little coop on wheels allows us to bring the chickens out in the pasture where they can help fertilize the pasture and break up the cow pies.   We surround the coop with electric netting  to keep the birds safe.

 

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Milking

Delaval Bucket Milker

I get asked how do we milk fairly often.  So, here it is.   We use a DeLaval bucket milker with a newer Superflow claw.  The bucket is old but the claw is new.  The bucket is not a paper thin one that you see them making today but extremely well built and durable.  This is a great set up the only problem is the bucket alone weighs 18 lbs empty.  After milking its very heavy to say the least.

We tried milking our cows by hand and found that it didn’t work very well.

First, the teats on our cows are very short and need to be stripped.  Stripping is when you squeeze your fingers together at the top and pull all the way to the bottom.  It takes a lot of muscle and your hands cramp up when you’ve got about a quart.  The modern dairy cow has been bred for short teats that are uniform that work well with milk machines.  Both of our dairy cows we are milking at this time have teats to small for my big hands to hand milk.

Second,  we found it to be pretty unsanitary.  Hair from the cow and other things would fall off during milking and the milk wasn’t clean.  Most hand milkers can get away with this when they lay      a cloth or filter on the top of the bucket and milk through that.   Since our cows required so much effort to hand milk that we spent more time bumping around than we needed to, and the cow gets antsy and starts to dance around which doesn’t help.

How much does one cost?  A setup like this with the pump runs from $875-$1200.  A surge  belly milker with pump can run cheaper at $600-$1000.  The main price issue is the vacuum pump and the quality or lack there of.

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Annabelle

Annabelle

This jersey heifer is by far the tamest I’ve seen. Another great heifer calf. She is jersey and the same age as Anna. They will be bred and should calve the same time next year.

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Anna

Anna

I’ve been on a buying spree lately and we picked up several more cows. This is Anna. She is half jersey half Swedish Red and will be bred this fall. She is a great heifer and we look forward to working with her more.

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Dottie

New Cow

We needed more milk for many reasons. We ended up bringing “Dottie” into our herd to assist. Many reasons led to our decision to get her. We needed more cream and shes a jersey. Also, We needed something that we didn’t need to halter train. She is 9 years old and well broke and gentle. She has been a great addition and gives rich creamy milk. Note shes shedding her winter coat and her halter is broke in this picture.

Shes currently giving about 2 gallons a day and 1.5 pints is cream.

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