Udderly dysfunctional… for a calf

A few pics of udders that might have some problems!

these are NOT our cows, but you can see a few pictures of problem udders when cows are bred for increased volumes of milk. A calf would have significant difficulty nursing from one of these udders.  The first udder would be difficult but could be done if she were shown repeatedly, where to go for the milk.

Today’s calves still “search” much higher up, where the udder were traditionally.  That’s why the high udder on our old world jersey is where the calf will located it easily, by instinct. Read the rest of this entry »

Chocolate getting close to delivery

Warning: there are some graphic pictures of real life, in the slide show!

When a cow is close to delivery her bag will begin to fill up with milk, her teats lengthen, and mucus will show-up on her perineum.  Her very full belly was low to the ground and looking very wide, NOW looks less full. The calf has moved up and back.

The calf has moved into position, to the birth canal. The ligaments around the birth canal have softened so they can stretch and let the calf through. We moved Chocolate to the big pasture so she will have room to move around and to choose her birth place. The other cows will provide security and protection for her.  The birth, when it happens, tends to occur fairly quickly.  Smaller breeds of cows don’t have the birthing issues of the large breeds.

Chocolate is an old world jersey… closer in heritage to the original stock that was brought over in ships when the english colonized the american colonies.  They came

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from the Isle of Jersey (southern tip of the english isle). They are currently at risk for being lost, as their numbers are so small.  Most Jerseys were bred up in size so that they would produce more milk.

Chocolate is just a few inches shorter than our standard Jersey, Bessie, but she looks fuller in body. Standard jerseys have a more boney look to them, while the old world’s still have some “meat” on their bones.  They don’t give us much milk, but for a small family farm, that is just fine.  Our OW Jersey will live for 20 years, a jersey in an industrial dairy has a life span of 4 years, usually. We are after quality, longevity, and health… and give up “volumes” of milk, for that tradeoff. We also choose to milk once a day, which puts less demand on the cow.

We want to use Chocolate for breeding more OWJerseys because she is naturally polled (i.e. no horns), she has an excellent temperament, and gives good milk. She never gets sick (no mastitis, infection in the udder, which is a reoccurring problem in standard jerseys). We don’t want to lose the older genetics.  While she will not give as much milk, the milk she does give is high in butterfat… i.e. will make good butter, cheese, & other milk products.

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