Increasing Production

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
VC Rancher
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Increasing Production

Postby VC Rancher » Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:11 pm

I just bought a cow calf pair. The calf is 7 months and is still nursing, though it seems just once a day in the morning. The calf is eating hay and drinking water so I know it will be fine to wean. I am planning on get a weaning ring.

I just got the cow into the stanchion this morning to start getting her transitioned to giving me milk. She did great in the stanchion being that she is three years old and two days ago she had never been handled before. The problem was that I only got one squirt of milk of her. She was a little stressed at first but didn't kick. She generally was pretty relaxed.

The question I have is: What is the best way to increase her production? My wife suggested trying to milk her three times a day at first. But neither of us have ever milked a cow before. I know that we are not in the ideal situation but this is the situation we are in. She has been bred but won't calve until November at the earliest so I should get a few more months out of her before I dry her up.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
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Re: Increasing Production

Postby GMN » Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:40 pm

If she is going to calve in November of 2011 thats a whole 9 months away-are you sure the calf that was with her is hers? Does she have a bag at all?
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Re: Increasing Production

Postby VC Rancher » Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:50 pm

I say that because she was just put in with the Bull on December 1st and was in there for 60 days. She is a Dexter so she has 21 day cycles so she was with the Bull for two cycles. They have 10 month gestation periods...I don't know if that is the same as other breeds.

She does have some bag left...though it is not that big. I have watched the calf nurse her for a good three minutes or so in the morning and it had milk all over it's mouth so she does still have milk. I can push on the bag and it is still there and I can feel it giving as I push on it.

If I just try to milk her, will that make her body want to produce more, even if nothing comes out?
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Re: Increasing Production

Postby dun » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:38 pm

She's probably holding it up. You can massage her udder, maybe even wash the teats with a soft warm wet cloth, that may relax her some.
Gestation is probably more like 9 1/2 months. The norm for cattle ranges from about 282 to 289 days with 283-286 being more typical.
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Re: Increasing Production

Postby VC Rancher » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:49 pm

Thanks! I will try that right now. She's been doing great for all the crap she has been put through over the past 3 days. She already getting pretty trusting of me.
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Re: Increasing Production

Postby VC Rancher » Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:24 pm

Tried it but got nothing. When I get nothing, should I just keep trying for a certain period of time?
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Re: Increasing Production

Postby GMN » Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:55 pm

Maybe you can try some oxytocin, thats a milk letdown drug, or take the calf completely off her, and see what happens. if you took a picture of her bag, and posted it we could see what it looks like to say for sure.
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Re: Increasing Production

Postby VC Rancher » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:15 pm

That's the thing. There really isn't a bag like one would expect. I think because she's barely producing, but she is producing. The only reason I know she is milking is because I have watched the calf nurse her the last two mornings. I didn't see her this morning. If I took a picture, there wouldn't be much to see. I would like to avoid drugs, if possible. I want take the calf off but I have to get the weaning ring first. I don't know if they can be found around here.
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Re: Increasing Production

Postby GMN » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:26 pm

if the calf is old enough, just take it off, if your worried feed it a different form of milk for a few days-then see what happens to the cows bag.From the sound of it doesn't sound like the cow has much milk. Makes me wonder if there wasn't a reason the people sold the cow, and maybe threw in the calf to make the sale.
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Re: Increasing Production

Postby dun » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:32 pm

Pen the cow and calf next to each other but s that the calf can;t nurse. Very little noise form either of themsince they can still interact just without touching. It's commonly referred to as fenceline weaning.
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Re: Increasing Production

Postby VC Rancher » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:43 pm

I will try separating them, though I only have a 4 rail corral pipe to keep them apart. I don't think the calf could nurse through that, but it might be able to....I am still wondering if it will help increase production if I keep trying to milk her through the day, even though nothing is coming out.
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Re: Increasing Production

Postby Dixieangus » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:26 pm

what are you feeding her
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then when the pregnancy test is done and the calves are weaned...
sell the open cows...
don't fret..don't worry about how nice they are...
they are open and not producing a thing...
sell em.
-pdfangus

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Re: Increasing Production

Postby VC Rancher » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:06 pm

I'm feeding her three way wheat, oat, and timothy. I don't have any grain or sillage right now, but I was going to get some in the morning and that should help. But I will say she is doing good with just the hay. I just got some milk from her. It doesn't help that I haven't milked a cow before. So by the time I started figuring it out, she had had enough.
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Re: Increasing Production

Postby regolith » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:24 pm

Rare to see a suckling dairy cow with anything of an udder at all while the calves have access. Twenty-four hours away from the calf tells a whole different story.

Milking frequency and feeding (high quality feed, not just quantity) are key to maximising production. You have to remove milk to get any result from increasing milking frequency though.

I think your calf will be due any time from mid-late September, if she was exposed to the bull from 1 December.
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Re: Increasing Production

Postby TexasBred » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:41 am

VC Rancher wrote:I'm feeding her three way wheat, oat, and timothy. I don't have any grain or sillage right now, but I was going to get some in the morning and that should help. But I will say she is doing good with just the hay. I just got some milk from her. It doesn't help that I haven't milked a cow before. So by the time I started figuring it out, she had had enough.

Do what the others recommended but if you want milk you have to feed for milk. Give her some protein. Good dairy rations seldom come in a bag so if it were me I'd probalby buy a good 16% textured horse feed and get her started on it. Another question. Have you hand milked cattle before?? It ain't as easy as it looks and someone that's never done it seldom gets much milk. ;-)
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