So, you have made the decision to buy a dairy cow. First timer, huh? Buying a Jersey cow can be overwhelming if you have never owned – or milked – a dairy cow before. Do not let that stop you from exploring your options as a Jersey cow homesteader. Everyone must start their journey as a Jersey cow owner somewhere. Lucky for you, we have all the best tips to make buying a jersey cow stress-free. We help you tackle the learning curve, arming you with the questions to ask and the qualities to look for before handing over cash for your first dairy cow. Learning how to buy a jersey cow is not that hard when you following these suggestions.
Why you should buy a Jersey cow
When it comes to buying a dairy cow, U.S. homesteaders have seven different breeds from which to choose: Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein, Jersey, Milking Shorthorn, and Red and White Holstein. As you may already have guessed, we prefer Jersey dairy cows (it is in our name, after all). We like Jersey cows because of their small stature and high-quality milk. Jersey cow milk is high in butterfat, making it the best choice for making cheese, creamy yogurts, and some of the best-tasting ice cream to ever pass your lips (trust us on that one).
Jersey cows produce more milk with less feed, making them an economical choice for first-time dairy cow owners. This gentle breed will make you fall in love with dairy farming. Before you know it, you will want to add a few more cattle to your herd. Before you get started with your first Jersey cow, here are some tips to help you choose a quality animal.
1 – Ask about disposition
The last thing first-time Jersey cattle owners need is to be strapped with a cow with a less-than-pleasant disposition. Jersey cows may be small, but they can come with some big attitudes. Jerseys tend to lean toward being curious and friendly, but they also can be stubborn. We recommend meeting the cow you plan to buy and spending a bit of time around her to be sure she is not a “wild child” before you bring her home. Make sure your cow does not have issues with other animals, especially if you have other pets or farm animals on your homestead.
2 – Check immunization records
Like people, cows must be immunized against certain diseases to stay healthy. Three categories of diseases affect dairy cows:
- Clostridial bacteria cause diseases that affect the intestinal system of cows. Vaccines in this category include Blackleg, Redwater, and Tetanus depending on your location and management system. Some veterinarians offer a 7-way vaccine for cattle that treats several types of clostridial disease.
- Reproductive bacteria and viruses can affect your dairy cow’s fertility. Bovine herpesvirus (BHV-1) is the most common type. Other types include IBR and Leptospirosis.
- Respiratory bacteria and viruses attack your dairy cow’s respiratory system and include IBR, P13, BRSV, and BHV Types 1 and 2. There is a five-way modified live vaccine that can be used to protect against respiratory system diseases.
Ask if the Jersey cow you want to buy is up to date on all its vaccines. Make sure the breeder can provide accurate vaccination records.
3 – Test for Staph A and other infections
Staph A causes mastitis in dairy cattle and is highly contagious. Jersey cows can develop Staph A from bacteria in their mammary glands and teat canals. Staph A infections can spread from one dairy cow to another during milking if contaminated milk from one cow touches the teats of uninfected cows and penetrates their teat canals. Milk test samples can be used to detect whether a dairy cow has a Staph A infection. Before you buy a Jersey cow, insist it is tested to be certain it is Staph-free. Other diseases you may wish to check for include E. coli 157H7, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Listeria Monocytogenes.
How to buy a Jersey cow and more
Our blog is an excellent resource for learning more about Jersey cows. From the benefits of A2 milk to the best milking resources for Jersey cow homesteads, we have everything you need to get started. Subscribe to our newsletter to avoid missing information about Jersey cows the minute it becomes available on our site.