Low milk and fee requirements

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
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bigbluegrass
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Low milk and fee requirements

Postby bigbluegrass » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:53 pm

I have a "jersey cross" who calved 1/17/13. This is her first calf. I left her calf on her and so far I just take what's left. I did this last year with my 4 yr old jersey cow, and she milked about 1 1/2 gallons a day plus took care of her calf. After about 3 months into her lactation, the calf would take pretty much everything, so I separated them at night and got about 2 gallons a day. The new cow, I am only getting about 1/2 to 3/4 gallon a day plus what the calf takes. I did split the calf off one night and the next morning I got 1 1/2 gallons. However, the calf had scours the next day and it took a week to get over that. The calf is still kind of young and I don't want to stress it too much. I realize the calf gets as much as it can drink, and is probably drinking 2+ gallons a day. That is fine, the calf is healthy and growing great. I don't want to feed milk replacer and I would like to avoid bottle feeding the calf. I don't really need more milk, I just wonder if the cow should be producing more or if I need to feed her better.

I was feeding her 14% sweet feed before she calved at about 7 lbs per day. After calving I put her on 18% CP and 7% fat feed I had mixed up with molasses in it. She eats it great. I started her at 7 lbs and worked my way up to about 12 lbs now. There has been no increase in production. I don't know if I should keep feeding her more if her production won't go up. I would like to put some weight back on her, since she does looks a little thin, but how much before I need to worry about getting her sick. Should I feed a bit less for longer? She got a little runny for awhile when I pushed the feed up above 10 lbs per day, but seems to be doing better now. Besides the feed she has access to grass hay. I have not had it tested, and I would imagine it will test pretty low. I am hoping to get enough protein in her from the concentrates to make up for the poor hay. How many pounds of grain should I feed her a day?

After calving she did have edema pretty bad. That seems to be mostly cleared up. But her production remains low. Maybe that is still slowing down production? I put that peppermint rub on her. Not sure if it helps. It is possible she is Jersey/beef cross and she just won't milk much. I don't know anything about her except she came from a dairy dispersal sale and she is a Jersey cross.I thought coming from a dairy dispersal she would be more milk cow and less beef cow. Her ear tag was removed when I got her.

I do believe she is letting her milk down. After milking her bag normally feels pretty loose. There have been a few times I think she held back on me, but not normally. After I finished milking her a couple times, I put the calf in and it was hungry. So while the calf was sucking I checked and I could hardly get a squirt out then either. Any ideas? I am not really that worried, just more curious what folks on here would say.
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farmland401
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Re: Low milk and fee requirements

Postby farmland401 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:34 am

It seems that you are doing things in the right direction. If you have a cow in the future near calving feed some grain starting about 2-3 weeks pre-calve in small amounts stepping up to 8 to 12 pounds at calving. NO salt/sodium in diet, check the label on pre-mixed feeds. Feeding a milking cow, rule of thumb could be 1 pound of grain for every three pounds milk along with long stem forage for maintaining rumen bacteria. Its good that you are pushing the protein levels. 18% is good for heavy producers but might be a bit strong for this animal. ...again rule of thumb, watch the manure, too runny, cut back on protein; if it clumps in a pile, more protein. Try to buy some soybean meal or other high protein source from a local farmer if possible or from the feed store for protein source (watch your prices). Jersey with the beef cow cross might not be genetically inclined to milk much more than for the calf. Keep the energy going into the cow if she is thin (ribs showing) and back off the grain if she starts looking too heavy. Good luck.
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TexasBred
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Re: Low milk and fee requirements

Postby TexasBred » Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:04 pm

I'd leave the feed with 7% fat. You're getting nothing for it but a big feed bill. Most dairy feeds sold in bags are sort of commercial feeds and not really "dairy rations". Look for a good 18% Pig Grower with a fiber level of not over 4-5%. Should give her all the protein and energy she needs.
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