Over the years we have bought, sold, and raised many milk cows. We have learned a lot on this journey. Come along and find out what we learned, and tell us who was your favorite cow?
Today we have in our milk string:
Penny three quarters Jersey one quarter Angus
Bess our cheese specialist 1/2 NZ Fresian and 1/2 Jersey
and just sold Holly: purebred Jersey;
and another just sold Annie: Sweddish Red Angus
all 4 are A2A2, who is your favorite?
Some History of our cows:
The first Jersey milk cow we bought at our Grenada ranch was one our daughter found in a poor situation in Redding. This is what Hattie Mae looked like when we first took a chance on her. Both Bob and I were vet tech’s and felt that she was not sick, just starved. She was turned out in a pasture with two big calves on her. We respect what people say about cow’s milk is for calves, but this poor cow just could not keep up with the demands without our help. Our great friends, Shawna and Jacob Barr came to the house when she looked like this and fell in love with her. She was the beginning of their very successful herdshare, Kid Creek Pastures. I felt that Bob and I had done the best we could for her, she was in a great place and I really could not handle the milk. I had a back prick test done for allergies and found out I was allergic to milk! After we sold her, others began to come to us looking for a healthy family milk cow. Being experienced buyers, we began to look and see what was available. Looking on Craigslist we found Ellie Mae an amazingly gentle cow that our two young daughter enjoyed milking. The other amazing thing I found was that I could drink her milk! It was while milking Ellie Mae that neighbors began to clamor for our milk (her milk turned out to be A2A2). Unfortunately we went back to the same seller and that was when we found a large number of cattle “brokers” who actually owned no cows, they sold right off dairies pretending to own and give fake histories. We bought a poor sickly cow, sight unseen, for neighbors and 5 heifers who proved to be freemartins. We had trusted him and took him at his word. We learned a powerful lesson. While these heifers were adorable, they were also destined to become beef.
Later we found 4 nice springing heifers from a farm in WA area.
Durabelle who ended up A1.
Later we bought another heifer from the same lady, sight unseen (would we never learn?)
Her name was Dusty, but we changed it to Galant Bess when she got off the truck. What a mess! The poor girl was 200 lbs underweight, wormy and full of ticks.
Gallant Bess is still with us today; and her daughter Lola will start her milking career in a month.
Bess now, shiny and beautiful. crossing the road to pasture.
Another favorite of ours was a very tiny Jersey heifer that found me. Her name is Mattie, and she followed me out of a field one day. Bob asked the rancher if we could buy her “if you can load her out of the field”. So I walked into the trailer and she followed me!Little Mabel loved Chy and Chy learned a lot of about cows from her. She was A1A2, so we bred her to a Dexter bull a friend of ours had and got our silly Red Head that was always full of tricks,
Lucy! A1A2, and her daughter Ethel A1A2 Who finally gave us an A2A2 heifer, LILLY Who is milking now.
Another favorite cow of yours may be:
Hattie EllenA1 who had
Annie A2A2Who had
Maybelle last year
We had more cows than I care to admit that proved to have Staph a, mastitis or infertile. They were butchered rather than sold. Our last chance girl:
Eleanor who we found at a Jersey farm in Gerber. She was knee deep in mud and her bull calf could barely stand in all that mud. She also ended up A1, so we sold her to a milker at the farm (note to self: if you want to keep really great milkers do not sell them a cow!) Eleanor right after we bought her. and today:
So, tell me, who is your favorite cow?