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
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.
So, we buy the cow and then she must
- pass the Johne’s, TB, BLV, BVD, and Neospora tests.
- The day after freshening we send her milk to Animal Profiling International to test for mastitis DNA.
- We also do an on site test, and
- the cow handlers check before every milking for mastitis looking or abnormal milk.
- 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!
- She must give over 2.5 gallons a day as a first freshener
- she must have easy calving
- she must never have had to have antibiotics
- 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
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!