Question for new cow mama

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strick5fam
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Question for new cow mama

Postby strick5fam » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:38 am

I currently have a jersey/holstein that recently calved 5 days ago. she is on pasture and we have coastal hay bales out now. She gets 5 lbs grain (22% protein) per day. When the pasture is lush again this spring should I add alfalfa pellets to her grain or give at feeding/milking to replace hay?

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Re: Question for new cow mama

Postby RanchMan90 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:16 am

strick5fam wrote:I currently have a jersey/holstein that recently calved 5 days ago. she is on pasture and we have coastal hay bales out now. She gets 5 lbs grain (22% protein) per day. When the pasture is lush again this spring should I add alfalfa pellets to her grain or give at feeding/milking to replace hay?

Is she nursing other calves or milking? You won't need hay when the grass comes on.
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Re: Question for new cow mama

Postby strick5fam » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:32 am

she is nursing and we milk once a day- so no need to add alfalfa when she doesnt have hay anymore?
thanks

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Re: Question for new cow mama

Postby RanchMan90 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:49 am

No, doesn't sound like you're pushing her too hard. You could always add more feed according to body condition.
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Re: Question for new cow mama

Postby farmerjan » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:59 am

The last thing I would do to a dairy cow is to feed alfalfa pellets in place of hay when they are on pasture. A cow needs roughage, and the long stem kind is better than concentrate any day. I would keep some hay in front of her whether she is on pasture or not. All my family nurse cows have access to hay year round. They don't eat much if any during pasture/grazing season. They are grained daily as they usually have 2-4 calves on each of them, and I will separate the calves and milk once a day also, when I need the milk and to keep a good handle on the condition of their udders and the milk. But, after one DA on a young cow, I have found that a little hay is often the trick to help prevent it. I am sure most of my cows don't eat enough to make a difference, but it is there. If I feel that they need more protein, which the alfalfa pellets would provide, I just up the dairy pellets. We have a 38% concentrate dairy pellet available, usually for top dressing a silage bunk mix; that I will buy and mix a handful into their regular feed. 22% feed is a good amount of protein to feed with pasture and/or hay.

Since you don't sound like you are pushing her production I think just giving her the grain and good pasture and keeping a little hay available is fine. Lush spring grass is alot of water so they will be eating alot to satisfy their needs, and you also need to be careful of an imbalance in magnesium. Use a Hi-Mag mineral for her as her free choice mineral, so that she doesn't have a problem. They will get very loose on the lush green grass so don't be surprised if the manure gets pretty runny for a while as her gut adjusts. That is another reason to keep some hay available; to give it a little more consistency. If she drops condition, just give her a little more grain. Sometimes the jersey/holstein cross will make alot more milk and they will "milk the fat off their back" in the beginning. More grain will mean more milk, but they will be making a certain amount that they are genetically wired to do, and can lose condition easily. You don't want to push the production, but you want to make sure she is getting enough to keep up her condition. I have 1: 1/2- jer/hol, 1: 3/4jer-1/4 hol, 1: jer, 1: 1/2jer-1/2guernsey, 1 guernsey, 1: 1/2guernsey-1/2hol. The jer/hol and the guernsey/hol and the straight guernsey lose more weight when they are in production, than the others.
I think some of it is that the holsteins have just been bred for so much concentrate feeding over the years that they just don't do as well when they are not fed as much. For just a family cow that you are letting raise her calf also, I like a jersey/angus or a jersey/hereford cross. Not too much milk, and a little beefier and the calf will make a nice family beef if the cow was bred to a beef bull.

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Re: Question for new cow mama

Postby RanchMan90 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:08 pm

farmerjan wrote:The last thing I would do to a dairy cow is to feed alfalfa pellets in place of hay when they are on pasture. A cow needs roughage, and the long stem kind is better than concentrate any day. I would keep some hay in front of her whether she is on pasture or not. All my family nurse cows have access to hay year round. They don't eat much if any during pasture/grazing season. They are grained daily as they usually have 2-4 calves on each of them, and I will separate the calves and milk once a day also, when I need the milk and to keep a good handle on the condition of their udders and the milk. But, after one DA on a young cow, I have found that a little hay is often the trick to help prevent it. I am sure most of my cows don't eat enough to make a difference, but it is there. If I feel that they need more protein, which the alfalfa pellets would provide, I just up the dairy pellets. We have a 38% concentrate dairy pellet available, usually for top dressing a silage bunk mix; that I will buy and mix a handful into their regular feed. 22% feed is a good amount of protein to feed with pasture and/or hay.

Since you don't sound like you are pushing her production I think just giving her the grain and good pasture and keeping a little hay available is fine. Lush spring grass is alot of water so they will be eating alot to satisfy their needs, and you also need to be careful of an imbalance in magnesium. Use a Hi-Mag mineral for her as her free choice mineral, so that she doesn't have a problem. They will get very loose on the lush green grass so don't be surprised if the manure gets pretty runny for a while as her gut adjusts. That is another reason to keep some hay available; to give it a little more consistency. If she drops condition, just give her a little more grain. Sometimes the jersey/holstein cross will make alot more milk and they will "milk the fat off their back" in the beginning. More grain will mean more milk, but they will be making a certain amount that they are genetically wired to do, and can lose condition easily. You don't want to push the production, but you want to make sure she is getting enough to keep up her condition. I have 1: 1/2- jer/hol, 1: 3/4jer-1/4 hol, 1: jer, 1: 1/2jer-1/2guernsey, 1 guernsey, 1: 1/2guernsey-1/2hol. The jer/hol and the guernsey/hol and the straight guernsey lose more weight when they are in production, than the others.
I think some of it is that the holsteins have just been bred for so much concentrate feeding over the years that they just don't do as well when they are not fed as much. For just a family cow that you are letting raise her calf also, I like a jersey/angus or a jersey/hereford cross. Not too much milk, and a little beefier and the calf will make a nice family beef if the cow was bred to a beef bull.
How many lbs of 22% feed would you feed daily if just on feed?
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Re: Question for new cow mama

Postby farmerjan » Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:08 pm

Depends on several things. How old is the cow? Where did she come from (commercial dairy that culled her or home raised?) How much milk do you want from her?
Okay, first calf heifer...nice udder...good flesh when she calved....you want 2 gal milk a day for the house plus all the calf wants. 5-10 lbs grain once a day max....watch her condition but also watch the calf. The cow is going to make too much milk for the calf and it will probably scour some in the beginning. Holsteins just make too much milk, that's how they have been bred for years. I would let the calf in with the cow after I have milked her and let it stay 12 hours. Then separate the calf, milk the cow in 12 hours put the calf back with her. So, milk in the morning, put calf in with cow, separate calf in eve, milk in morning...repeat. And honestly, I would have 2 calves on that cow not one, so that the udder does reach full potential without too much milk to scour a single calf. It has been proven that increased milk removal in early lactation will increase the overall production.. and overall better udder health by complete removal frequently of the milk. It is sooooo easy for a hol x to get mastitis simply because the udder doesn't get completely milked out. So if the calf doesn't get it milked out then she can harbor a bacteria that may not get completely removed through human milking, and next thing you know she has mastitis.
Older cow.....culled from a dairy....probably 10 lbs grain once a day, same as above but watch for condition and milk fever. Not only can they get milk fever early on, but they can get late lactation milk fever which is more potassium imbalance than the calcium like early on.
Older cow....not from a dairy, or just a low producer....condition and amount of milk wanted from cow.
I feed a 16% feed, not 22%, and up the amounts a little bit. But I have 2-4 calves on a cow at any one time. I want them to keep up their condition and I just like the 16% "sweet feed" from our local mill, and the cows eat it good. I have one that doesn't like sweet feed and she gets the 17% all purpose pellet that we get, to feed to any/everyone that gets feed for any reason. I don't push the cows like a commercial dairy, but they do make more milk than an average family cow. All my cows have been milked at different times, sometimes for a couple of weeks at a time 2x a day, and I want at least 5 gal milk a day from each, minimum. I find that is a breaking point for me to justify the feed inputs against the calves raised/sold. They each get approx half a 5 gal bucket of feed a feeding. The big hol/jer older cow gets about 2/3 a 5 gal bucket but she is a pretty big cow. I do add some of the 38% pellets to hers, usually about a 1 lb coffee can full, as she just gets thin. And believe me, she likes to eat. One other thing I do, each cow gets a leaf(section) of alfalfa HAY when they come in the barn with their grain and they all pretty much clean it up. I keep them in for 1/2 hour to an hour to eat then let them back out loose in the pasture. If I am sitting down to milk, the hay keeps them fairly quiet and content while I am finishing up with whomever I am milking that day. When the calves get a couple of weeks age on them I don't worry so much about the scours, but those first 2 weeks or so can be a make or break thing with the nurse cows especially the holstein crosses. I have less trouble with the jerseys, even with the higher butterfat, because they just don't make the quantity.

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Re: Question for new cow mama

Postby strick5fam » Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:18 pm

She is a three year old cow. Second calf, not commercial. She was from a friends small herd of 10 head Angus. He used her to nurse two calves. She was bred to a limousin bull. He decided to go to all Angus and sold her to us because we wanted a bred dairy cow. We only want/need one cow/calf pair and intend to leave calf with cow and milk once a day. Should I milk twice a day even with baby on since we wont have two calves and to prevent mastitis?
5lbs grain, pasture and hay daily

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Re: Question for new cow mama

Postby farmerjan » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:11 am

Okay, that's great since you know her background. Probably not that big a milker, but they will produce more the 2-3-4th lactations than the first. My first suggestion is to get a second calf for the simple reason that you can beef one and sell the other to pay for most of the grain, and it will help her udder and to use the extra milk. But that is entirely up to you. It sounds like he did have her to raise the two calves so she is experienced with that. Believe me, a nurse cow that will take calves is a TREASURE.....
The thing is to see how much milk she is making and adjust the milking(s) to make sure she gets milked out completely at least once a day. If she seems to be making alot, it the calf starts to scour, then you need to milk her twice a day for awhile. That is also why I suggested a 2nd calf.
Also, you may find that if you leave the calf with her all the time, she may very well not let her milk down for you and that will not only shortchange you for milk, but can inadvertantly cause her to lessen her production and/or cause mastitis. Believe me, they will do things like not letting their milk down so that their baby gets it...Nature's way, but can cause some problems down the road. Been there, done that. So that is why I will keep a calf/calves away from a cow when I want to milk, then let them back with her. She needs to learn that coming into her stall/stanchion or where ever you are going to milk, that that is what she is there for. And they will learn the routine quickly and be glad to get a break from the calves as they get older. I think the feed sounds fine.
The limi cross calf ought to make a nice beef for you.

If you see that she is dripping milk or anything that makes you think the calf isn't using it all, then I would milk twice a day for awhile. Just watch the calf, if it scours and is on the cow all the time, you may not notice it right off and they can dehydrate real quick. That is another reason why I like to separate them so that when they are in the barn lot, I can check them out real good and watch when they go back on the cow to make sure that they are enthusiastic. A calf that gets scours will get real weak too, wobbley and even if it wants to nurse won't have the energy.

This is not to scare you. Really, 98% of the time it works just fine. But the hol x cows just produce alot of milk and you want to keep on top of it. Figure that a calf will drink about 1 gal a day for the first 1-2 weeks - in little bits of a pint or so at a time. Then they will get up to about 2 to even 3 gal a day as they get bigger. So you just don't want them to get too much in the beginning.

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Re: Question for new cow mama

Postby strick5fam » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:13 pm

Thank you so much for all your help!

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Re: Question for new cow mama

Postby farmerjan » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:11 pm

Good luck with your cow and let us know how she and you and the calf are doing.

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Re: Question for new cow mama

Postby strick5fam » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:39 pm

Thank you,
Cow is doing wonderfully. Calf is still with Cow 24/7 and we milk in the am for around 1 1/2-2 gallons each milking. Calf had some runny/bloody stool yesterday but vet says just watch her as she is still extremely playful, active, and hydrated. They are both doing well and will keep a close eye on baby. Thanks!

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Re: Question for new cow mama

Postby farmerjan » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:50 pm

Sounds like all is working out great for you and the cow with the calf and milking. That is really wonderful. Sounds like you got a really great cow to work with.


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