Tag Archives: what to look for in a milk cow

What it takes to be a SFFC milk cow!

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Have you ever thought about what we look for, and insist on, when we buy or keep a replacement heifer? Well, this is Bess; We called her Gallant Bess when we first bought her because she looked like she was about to die, but had a light in her eye that made me take a chance on her. Turns out she was just wormy and starved (Oregon feed is very poor quality compared to our mountain hay and a cow can starve if not fed a good pasture mix).

Here is the “before photo for those who have not seen her early on

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Poor cow! But why did I buy her? She had unique genetics we are not able to find in the US. She is sired by a Friesian bull (from a colony in New Zealand that was found to have been solely grass fed for generations) and a Jersey cow with A2A2 and grass fed genetics. We purchased two others from this same genetics, so I took a chance and fed her right, wormed her and this is her today; giving 6 gallons on once a day milking.

Galant Bess

So, we buy the cow and then she must

  1. ┬ápass the Johne’s, TB, BLV, BVD, and Neospora tests.
  2. The day after freshening we send her milk to Animal Profiling International to test for mastitis DNA.
  3. We also do an on site test, and
  4. the cow handlers check before every milking for mastitis looking or abnormal milk.
  5. She must be gentle and easy to handle; although we work with them and find ways to make it easy on them, like building a new cow stanchion!
  6. She must give over 2.5 gallons a day as a first freshener
  7. she must have easy calving
  8. she must never have had to have antibiotics
  9. she must have a good reproductive history or be a virgin heifer.

As you can see it is not easy to be a SFFC milk cow! But this is the result

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Anna and Terri tested every milk filter for me after each cow was done milking. Annie, Holly, Ethel and Bess; all clear filters which tells us; along with the API mastitis tests, that every cow’s udder is clean and healthy.

What does that mean? That you get clean and healthy milk!