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How Long Does a Jersey Cow Live?

Most cattle can live to be 22 years old. A Jersey cow can live even longer, with some exceeding their 25th birthdays. One of the oldest living Jersey cows on record was the ripe old age of 37 when she passed away at an animal rescue center in the United Kingdom. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long a jersey cow will live. How long your jersey cow lives depend on several factors, including the conditions in which you keep her. Most pasture-fed Jersey cows live longer than their grain-fed counterparts. This is where homesteaders have an advantage over commercial dairy cow farms. Let’s look at some of the things you can do to help your dairy cow live its best – and longest – life.

Do Jersey cows live longer than other dairy cows?

That depends. Jersey cows raised on homesteads fare better than Jerseys who spend their lives on commercial dairy farms. Homesteaders treat their Jerseys more like four-footed members of the family (that just happen to produce tasty milk) than like money-makers. Cows of all breeds raised on commercial dairy farms average four to five years of life before they end up at slaughter. When their milk production decreases, they become less valuable to their owners.

Jersey cows tend to be healthier than other dairy cattle breeds. They are less susceptible to mastitis, which can lead to a dairy cow’s death if not detected and treated quickly. Most Jersey cows living on homesteads also pasture feed, which is better for their overall health. Pasture-feeding your Jersey also is better for the human consuming the milk (and cheese, yogurt, and ice cream) the cow produces.

How many years will a Jersey cow produce milk?

When homesteaders refer to the life span of their cattle, they include their cow’s milk production lifespan. Most Jersey cows produce high-quality milk for 2.5 to 4 years. They need to eat between 2 and 2.5 pounds per 100 pounds of body weight to meet daily caloric intake needs. Supplementing your dairy cow’s diet with fermented barley grain can increase milk production. If you treat your Jersey right, she will yield up to six gallons of butterfat milk every day during her high milk production years.

Keeping your jersey cow’s shelter free of manure can help your cow stay healthier and live longer.

How to help your Jersey cow live longer

If you are anything like us, you love your Jersey cows. They are part of your extended family, so you naturally want them to live a long time. We’ve already covered the grass-fed-is-better angle, so let’s talk about some other things you can do to help your cattle stay fit as a fiddle. In addition to quality feeding practices, homesteaders also should:

  • Milk your cow every day. Ideally, you should milk your Jersey cow twice daily. You can do this by hand or with a milking machine, whichever you prefer. Keep all your milking equipment sanitized to ensure your milk is fresh and hygienic and to prevent your cow from developing an infection like mastitis.
  • Provide a clean shelter. Replace any bedding soiled by manure and kept the shelter swept out daily. When dairy cow owners do not take the time to sanitize bedding, they make their dairy cows more susceptible to disease and illness that can affect their milk production and overall health.
  • Perform regular wellness checks. Having the veterinarian stop by several times a year is normal for most dairy cows. During calving season, they may need to come by more frequently. When the vet is not there, it is up to cattle owners to inspect their cows to make sure they maintain good health. Call the appropriate member of the healthcare team if you suspect any problems.
  • Vaccinate your cattle. Cows can be vaccinated against common illnesses and de-wormed as needed to stay healthy if cattle owners wish to do so.

Tips for taking care of your Jersey milk cow

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May your jersey cows live long and prosper!

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Hi fellow homesteaders! My name is Brandon. I live on a small family homestead with my amazing wife and five kiddos. We are on a journey to improve our lives through God’s creation. Raising cows is an important part of that journey. We currently have one Jersey cow and are hoping to soon expand our Jersey family with the help of a bull named Ferdinand. We welcome you to join us as we explore the benefits of owning Jersey cows. Whether you are raising them for milk or meat, our website is chock full of helpful facts and advice to make the experience more enjoyable. Take a tour and drop us a note with any questions. Cheers! Brandon


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