Monday, August 30, 2010

Interesting question

Meesha posed this question in a comment on my previous entry about having to milk my cow until the calf can consume it all:   "How is it supposed to happen in "the wild" when there is no one to milk the cow?"
Perhaps others of you have wondered the same thing.  
Cattle were not meant to give the unnatural amount of milk that dairy breeds give today.  Breeders have selected the top-yielding cows and bred them to sons of other top-producers, and each generation gives more milk than the last; this is what dairymen want... fewer cows to feed, but more milk.  Of course, higher production usually brings more problems with the cows.  The average dairy cow only lasts five years in the herd before she is culled for health problems, even though a cow's natural life span is ten to fifteen years. 
Beef breeds, on the other hand, give only enough milk for one calf.  
Whatever kind of cows lived "in the wild" had not been messed with by humans, and they would have had no need to be milked.  
If I had a beef cow, I would never have to milk; in fact, there wouldn't be any milk left for me.  If I had a dairy/beef cross cow, I could milk if I wanted to, but she'd probably not give over four gallons a day; her calf would soon be able to take all the milk.  
What would happen if I did not milk Bonnie daily until her calf can take all the milk?  
She would likely get mastitis.  
Perhaps someone is wondering why I don't get a non-dairy breed or a dairy/beef cross.  Well, it's because I love Jersey cattle, and I have a history with them.  They are petite and feminine and pretty and friendly.  I'd love to find a Jersey cow that a dairy was culling for low production, but I haven't been able to locate such an animal.  That would be ideal for me.  
It only took a couple of weeks last year for Sir Loin to be able to take all of Bonnie's milk; Clyde is a big boy, and I imagine in another week or two he'll be sucking down every drop.  Then I'll be back to simply taking him away from his mom overnight when I want some milk.  

6 comments:

m.v. said...

Thanks Donna, I often wonder about these things. Seems like our animals and pets always need our help.

PFL0W said...

great job, Donna. thanks.

it seems we think "the world was ever thus" instead of realizing or knowing that there have been a great deal of changes in this old world, before it came to this state.

Mo Rage

Pat said...

Donna, I love reading your blog. It brings back so many memories for me. We used to have jersey cows when I was growing up. I remember my Mom making butter, cottage cheese, buttermilk, etc. We also raised a couple of pigs each year. I loved to feed the pigs and watch them gobble up their food. We irrigated our BIG garden from our pond, and would take that water to put in the big hole we had in the pen for the pigs to cool off in. Of course my sister and I would name them every time. Things are sure different now of days. Have a great evening.
Hugs,
Pat from Virginia

Anonymous said...

That's interesting..I never knew any of this.

Tracie

Nerves05 said...

This was very interesting.
I got a Mastitis when i was breast feeding with my oldest son. OUCHY!! that does not feel good at all. Makes you very sick.
I have always wondered the same thing about wild horses and there hoofs. They don't get ferriered. But if we have a horses we have to have one come out and tend to their hoofs. Strange
Your cows are very pretty.

Lisa said...

I learned a lot that I didn't know in this entry! Thank you for sharing. I've always liked the way the name Jersey cow sounds... so elegant sounding to me. I had no idea you could get 4 gallons from one cow! That seems a lot! I can see now I would have three happy boys here in my house if we had 4 gallons of milk per day. My son Aaron could drink a gallon by himself everyday if I let him. He just loves milk. He will choose milk over water almost everytime. (I think he's going to be tall like his father. He's only in 5th grade but almost as tall as me all ready.) Between Rob and Nick and Aaron, Courtney and I are lucky to get any milk at all. Seems to me I need a Jersey cow too.
Lisa in Kentucky