Ideal Nurse Cows ?

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Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by Stocker Steve » Sun May 14, 2017 1:27 pm

Just over half done calving and have 3 bottle calves... Grafted one last week! Found a dairy that wants to move some 3 titter Jerseys. Any selection tips? What percentage of these would you expect to become good cooperative nurse cows? Is only one calf on them going to be a problem? Thanks.


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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by RanchMan90 » Sun May 14, 2017 4:01 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:Just over half done calving and have 3 bottle calves... Grafted one last week! Found a dairy that wants to move some 3 titter Jerseys. Any selection tips? What percentage of these would you expect to become good cooperative nurse cows? Is only one calf on them going to be a problem? Thanks.

I would put at least 2-3 calves on 3 teats. Trial and error. I wouldn't pay over slaughter value in case they wouldn't take up with the calves.
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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by Ky hills » Sun May 14, 2017 8:16 pm

I used to have some nurse cows. I think Ranchman has a good point, I wouldn't put a lot of money in them. Some may work well and it was my experience that they had a pretty high cull rate, for a variety of reasons and some pretty quickly within a year or two. If they are still milking fairly good they should be able to handle at least 2 and probably 3 calves. If they are newly fresh and still have their calves on them they are much easier to work with in accepting another calf or two.

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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by Stocker Steve » Sun May 14, 2017 10:11 pm

Ky hills wrote:Some may work well and it was my experience that they had a pretty high cull rate, for a variety of reasons and some pretty quickly within a year or two.


Reasons you culled for ?
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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by Ky hills » Sun May 14, 2017 10:27 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:
Ky hills wrote:Some may work well and it was my experience that they had a pretty high cull rate, for a variety of reasons and some pretty quickly within a year or two.


Reasons you culled for ?


A lot of the cows that I got were culls from dairies, and most had some age on them, so the deteriorating udder quality just progressed each calving. Some would not breed back, but mainly it was udder quality issues. Heifers, that I raised or purchased that were sound in all quarters, did well.

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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by MRRherefords » Mon May 15, 2017 10:12 am

My grandfather tells this story often. A long time ago he had one heavy milking Holstein cow that he would put calves on for a few months. She would nurse 4-5 calves a year with no issue.

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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by farmerjan » Mon May 15, 2017 10:51 am

Have several nurse cows now and have bought a bunch over the years. If you are not going to feed grain then 2 calves on a 3 teat cow is probably enough. You want them to not have droopy bags or real big huge fat teats. A fresh cow that maybe has a bull calf is ideal since she will most likely take another calf if hers is still there to occupy her.
Every cow has a different personality. Cows off dairies are a crap shoot for knowing if they will accept calves. I would also go for a little bit older cow in most cases, just because they are more settled...but a first calf heifer will have a longer "shelf life". I bought a not yet fresh first calf jersey heifer that had a swollen quarter. She is only 3 teat and even one other is light but she has done fine. Sometimes they don't do well if they have been milking awhile as a calf is definitely different from a milking machine, but some will be glad to have a calf. It is hard to say. Friendlier is better so that you can work with them.....

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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by Caustic Burno » Mon May 15, 2017 11:03 am

My current nurse cow she will take an orphan in a minute.
She currently has a calf pushing 400 lbs on her.

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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by WORANCH » Mon May 15, 2017 11:21 am

This old girl takes any I put on her .

She was a cull from a dairy.





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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by Baldie Maker » Mon May 15, 2017 2:15 pm

Be conscious of johnnes; It's not worth putting the entire beef herd at risk for a nurse cow. Cows would have to be tested for me to be interested.

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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by farmerjan » Mon May 15, 2017 9:52 pm

WORANCH wrote:This old girl takes any I put on her .

She was a cull from a dairy.





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God bless her. I have had 2 like that. Culls from a dairy, and would take any & all that I would put on her. Had an older guernsey from a dispersal sale that was not bred back, pound price, that I finally got bred by the bull. She had 5 on her that whole lactation, hers and 4 others. Sorry to say could not get her rebred, and she was old, sure would have liked a heifer out of her. The calves would practically lift her off the ground butting her udder and she would just stand there. She was called Patience for a reason !!!
Some seem to know that you are their last/best chance for a life and will take calves like they are "grateful".... and I have had a couple that never would appreciate my giving them a better life than a dairy, and soon left for their final job as a Big Mac...

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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by RanchMan90 » Tue May 16, 2017 7:02 am

farmerjan wrote:Have several nurse cows now and have bought a bunch over the years. If you are not going to feed grain then 2 calves on a 3 teat cow is probably enough. You want them to not have droopy bags or real big huge fat teats. A fresh cow that maybe has a bull calf is ideal since she will most likely take another calf if hers is still there to occupy her.
Every cow has a different personality. Cows off dairies are a crap shoot for knowing if they will accept calves. I would also go for a little bit older cow in most cases, just because they are more settled...but a first calf heifer will have a longer "shelf life". I bought a not yet fresh first calf jersey heifer that had a swollen quarter. She is only 3 teat and even one other is light but she has done fine. Sometimes they don't do well if they have been milking awhile as a calf is definitely different from a milking machine, but some will be glad to have a calf. It is hard to say. Friendlier is better so that you can work with them.....

What do you think a nice first calf springing holstein heifer is worth? I'm thinking about selling one I haven't had time to work with.
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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by farmerjan » Wed May 17, 2017 8:45 am

Here we are seeing prices as low as 1200 to 1500 for springers. There is no demand, most farmers are up to what they feel is their maximum. Most did some serious culling when prices started to fall because they had heifers coming on. Right now I have 4 dairies that want to cut back 10 to 30 head and can't really justify who to sell. One is putting older cows that are making 100 + lbs a day on the repo cull list and not breeding them back because he has so many heifers due to calve in the next 6 months. Even if someone wanted to expand, there is just no money for them to do so with the decreasing milk prices again. My farmers are constantly asking me if I know of anyone wanting bred heifers as they have 10 or 15 that they want to sell. Even the semen sales guys are coming up with no alternatives for these dairyman; and they are usually a good source for people looking to sell or buy some springers. I look for a few more farms to go out, I have one that is planning to sell out in the fall that I know of already. Then there will be a bunch of younger cows, and bred heifers, available and prices won't be very good. The older cows will be culled.
Don't know what your area is like so can't really say on prices there.

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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by RanchMan90 » Wed May 17, 2017 9:05 am

farmerjan wrote:Here we are seeing prices as low as 1200 to 1500 for springers. There is no demand, most farmers are up to what they feel is their maximum. Most did some serious culling when prices started to fall because they had heifers coming on. Right now I have 4 dairies that want to cut back 10 to 30 head and can't really justify who to sell. One is putting older cows that are making 100 + lbs a day on the repo cull list and not breeding them back because he has so many heifers due to calve in the next 6 months. Even if someone wanted to expand, there is just no money for them to do so with the decreasing milk prices again. My farmers are constantly asking me if I know of anyone wanting bred heifers as they have 10 or 15 that they want to sell. Even the semen sales guys are coming up with no alternatives for these dairyman; and they are usually a good source for people looking to sell or buy some springers. I look for a few more farms to go out, I have one that is planning to sell out in the fall that I know of already. Then there will be a bunch of younger cows, and bred heifers, available and prices won't be very good. The older cows will be culled.
Don't know what your area is like so can't really say on prices there.

Thanks. Id be happy with those prices. I just turned this one out on grass with a bull as a heifer for $750. May try her once to see if she makes a natural nurse cow, if not ship her.
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Re: Ideal Nurse Cows ?

Post by Stocker Steve » Wed May 17, 2017 3:19 pm

farmerjan wrote:My farmers are constantly asking me if I know of anyone wanting bred heifers as they have 10 or 15 that they want to sell. Even the semen sales guys are coming up with no alternatives for these dairyman; and they are usually a good source for people looking to sell or buy some springers.


Why don't they use beef semen on some cows, rather than sell springers below cost?
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