hi! we have 2 jersey-cross calves that are 6 weeks old. I have been feeding them milk replacer and starter feed (textured) with available hay. They also have orchard grass, timothy and clover in the pasture but not alot. My concern is they have not ate any of the starter feed yet. We did just pick them up yesterday. They have been eating the milk replacer mainly out of a feeding tub. One of them wants to eat out of the bottle still. I am doing this to make sure she gets food in her. Is there anything else I can do?
Raising a Jersey cow baby comes with many rewards. Topping the list is that they’re absolutely the cutest baby cows ever. Adult Jersey cattle have characteristic doe-like eyes that make you want to melt when you gaze into them. Trust me when I say they look even cuter on Jersey calves.
Jersey cattle have a reputation for being curious and docile, making them excellent family milk cows. Even young children can share in the responsibility when you’re raising a Jersey cow baby on your homestead. Jersey calves weigh just 55 pounds when born (and take several months to reach the 200-pound mark), making them small enough to manage easily.
If you’ve decided to bring a Jersey calf onto your homestead, we have some tips for making the experience enjoyable for you and the cow. In this blog post, I answer the following questions:
- What should I look for in a Jersey calf?
- What do I feed a Jersey cow baby?
- What are the advantages of Jersey cows?
What should I look for in a Jersey calf?
If you’ve never bought a Jersey calf before, it can be intimidating figuring out how to go about it. Knowing what characteristics to look for and the best places to find a quality Jersey cow baby are important parts of the process. Determining the health status of a baby Jersey also is important before buying so as not to end up saddled with a sickly calf.
Where do I buy a Jersey calf?
Options include buying directly from a registered Jersey cattle breeder or going to a dairy cattle auction. When choosing to purchase through an auction, buyers should beware. The chances of getting an animal with health issues increase when you buy this way.
It’s best to go directly to a Jersey cattle breeder where you can get a full health history of the baby and its mother. It also offers the chance to see the living conditions of the cattle. How Jersey cows are raised directly impacts their overall health and wellness.
How much does a Jersey calf cost?
How much a Jersey calf costs depends on a few factors, including location. Most baby Jersey cows cost between $1,200 and $2,000 when purchased from Jersey cattle breeders. During the pandemic, Jersey cattle auctions took a slight hit on average prices for Jersey calf sales.
If savings are important, consider buying a heifer. They’re much cheaper than bulls and they have the added benefit of providing your homestead with a plentiful source of raw Jersey cow milk.
What should I avoid when buying?
When possible, stay away from bottle-fed Jersey calves. Weaned bottle-fed heifers tend to be a bit underweight. Also, if they weren’t fed on a schedule, they can develop anxiety and other health issues.
Other things to consider:
- Does the calf have A2A2 genes? If you have dairy allergies, choosing a Jersey calf that can produce A2-A2 milk is important.
- Does the calf have a good temperament? Dairy cows require milking at least twice a day. Never buy a calf that’s difficult to wrangle up for milking.
- Does the breeder have registered animals? Choosing a breeder with registered animals means you can learn more about genetic linkages and other conditions.
What do I feed a Jersey cow baby?
Raising Jersey cow babies means feeding them enough for healthy growth. Calves should never be sold before they are weaned from their mothers (or the bottle, if buying a bottle-fed calf). Doing so can jeopardize their growth and overall health.
It’s important to remember that Jersey calves require more maintenance than an adult Jersey cow. Feed them smaller meals more often for optimum results. Their stomachs are smaller and can’t digest as much food at once as adult Jersey cattle. Using an automatic feeder can help ensure baby Jersey cows get the nutrition they need without creating more work for the homesteader.
Dry cow feeding regimens are important for a calf’s development. Choose the best cow feed for Jersey milk cows when selecting cattle feed for your calves. Make sure the calf has plenty of water because it impacts feed consumption.
What are the advantages of Jersey cows?
Sure, you could argue that all baby cows are adorable. You’re not wrong. There are other reasons besides their cuteness factor to choose a Jersey calf over other breeds.
Jersey cows are popular for many reasons. Here are just a few.
- They produce above-average quantities of raw milk. Most adult Jersey heifers can produce up to 6 gallons of raw milk each day. Considering they’re a small dairy breed, it’s simply amazing how much milk they yield.
- They live longer than most dairy breeds. Jersey cattle have 72.1 percent herd longevity compared with the 68.1 percent for all other breeds and crossbreeds. Considering the initial purchase cost of a Jersey heifer, this makes the breed a wise investment for homesteads.
- They reach reproductive age sooner. If you plan to breed your Jersey calves once they mature, they can birth their first calves at around 2 years old.
- They produce A2 milk. Many homesteaders choose to raise a Jersey cow baby over other breeds because they can produce A2 milk.
Start raising a Jersey cow baby today
Raising a Jersey cow baby isn’t hard when you have the right information to guide you. One of the things I recommend is to find an experienced Jersey cattle homesteader or dairy farmer near you to mentor you. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.
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