Forum Replies Created
October 25, 2012 at 12:26 am #528312
Yes, you need a PIC and you apply through the LHPA (it used to be called the Rural Lands Protection Board). You need a PIC if you have livestock on your property, even horses now are included. When you buy a sheep, techncially, the seller will fill out a Travelling Waybill, which states what PIC they were at, and which PIC they are going to. This is the document you produce if you are pulled up by the police etc, during transport. You don’t need to forward the Waybill on to anyone, you keep it (or 7 years I think LOL).
I have Wiltshire Horns, and whilst they don’t herd like say Merinos, they do follow each other, and do come feed well and follow each other up. They are fairly low maintenance, particularly the no shearing part. I bred up my WH flock to about 15 ewes, then changed to a dorper ram, for a quick growing lamb.
I definitely have no complaints about my WH’s, and the horns come in handy for grabbing!
MuddyfeetJune 17, 2012 at 3:09 am #524381
Nothing ventured nothing gained. I ask around, do my own research, and then try and filter out all the guff that doesn’t apply to my situation. I think you’ll do fine with these girls. You just need to be prepared to roll with the punches so to speak, and deal with what comes up when it comes up. If things go wrong, or not exactly to “plan” well, pick yourself (of the calf!) up and change the plan!
Its really good to be doing something new (to you) and learning as well.
Good on you. Keep us posted of how it all goes.
MuddyfeetJune 15, 2012 at 1:52 am #524378
The heifer is gorgeous, and being a heifer you can “afford” to get attached to her.
Now a note for others…
I know you said her twin was a heifer calf, but for others who may think they are getting a two for one deal with a bull calf and a heifer calf, please read carefully…
If the twin was a bull calf there is a very great likelihood, >92% that your heifer calf is what is known as a “freemartin”. Please google this term for the precise definition, but basically, she will not have the internal reproductive tract or organs to become pregnant. Remember this is only if the other twin was a bull calf.
During development inutero, the male’s dominant hormones adversely affects the development of the female reproductive tract. The heifer calf born will have the outward appearance of a heifer, but basically will have a blind birth canal.
Now, as your heifer is not a freemartin…
1. Ask the dairy or seller that you bought her off who they use to AI their cows (most dairies use AI, but will resort to live cover if AI is unsuccessful).
2. You can source your own semen for the tech to use, but then storage is an issue and all your ducks will need to be in a row if you don’t have access to a liquid nitrogen storage tank. However, usually, the AI technician will have or have access to a range of semen straws (a straw is what holds the semen for storage).
3. You will need to research the appropriate age to put your heifer into calf, no matter what the LBW genetics of the bull is. Friesians take a bit longer to mature than say Jerseys. Just because they are cycling doesn’t mean that it is good for her to get pregnant! She will have a much longer and more productive life if you allow her to develop properly first (I wasn’t suggesting you would do otherwise, but felt I needed to mention it).
4. A friesian is a big volume milk producer, less butterfat content, but lots of milk. Basically, a first calf heifer will not produce as much milk as during her subsequent freshenings. Friesians have been bred (or genetically tweaked if you like) to produce an abundant volume of milk, the biggest milk producers have been selectively bred to improve that quality. However, nature still plays a role in it. As with any mammal, initially, the mammary glands will produce an oversupply of milk, and then, it will eventually become a product of supply and demand. The greater the demand for milk, the greater the volume produced and vice versa. However, a friesian may consistently overproduce (particularly in subsequent freshenings) so much that mastitis may be a recurring issue. Unless you share milk with her, you will not be able to stop and start and stop and start with her, as you will be increasing demand and thereby production, and then leaving her overfull on the days you don’t milk. You can tinker with production somewhat by what you feed her. Unfortunately, some cows “milk off their back” and whatever you put into them via feed, they turn into milk, because they designed to look after their calves, and they will put no weight on themselves, they will begin to look boney even if your pumping food into them! You’re just fueling the fire. Certain types of feed is turned into milk more readily than other types… so careful selection of feeds stuffs will help moderate her production level.
And no, its not unusual to have a holstein-friesian as a house cow, its just that Jersey’s generally have a better weight to milk conversion ratio and so are cheaper to keep relative to a friesian for the volume of milk produced.
If you find that she had too much milk, you can put a second calf on her to foster at the same time, although it would be very unlikely that first calf heifer would accept a foster calf readiy, if at all…they are new to the job and are sometimes hard pressed figuring out what to do with their own calf let alone another one!
Okay, I’ve waffled on so long now that I’ve forgotten if you’ve asked any other questions. If I’ve missed anything, I’ll try and post later.
Bye for now,
Muddyfeet.December 28, 2011 at 1:26 am #516740
Blessed are the cheesemakers! I’ve book marked your blog so I will be following your progress with interest. We do our our self-sufficiency “thing” but on a larger scale, as we have a farm, and more room to play with. Its hard work, but worthwhile financially and physically.
Cheesemaking and preserving are my hobbies, but I find myself collecting other “interests” each year.
I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but unlike other blogs, “anonymous” isn’t an option for comments, and you need to have some account or other, which I don’t have.
So, I’ll just lurk on your blog unfortunately, but perhaps comment on here!
MuddyfeetDecember 16, 2011 at 2:09 am #515792
The stocking rate that you’re suggesting, cows (plural) and goats is too high for your property, even given its beautiful rich soils in that area.
On 5 acres of useable land (is that pasture, or does that area include your dwelling etc), you would have one Jersey cow and be feeding her at least a biscuit of hay morning and evening. Assuming you do two milking, expect to double that amount of feed, plus possibly some grain or meal. A dairy cow will milk “off its back” so she will sacrifice body condition for milk production. You may end up with a ketotic cow if that’s the case.
You can rotational graze, by setting up a good electric fence system that you can move daily. This ensures that the strip is grazed down evenly, thus avoiding selective grazing, and the less palatable grasses being undergrazed, going to seed, and proliferating at the expense of the “good” grasses.
The two smaller varieties of dairy cows that would suit your circumstances are Jersey and Dexter. However, if you source a Dexter ensure she is from “milky” lines, and not from “beef” lines. Don’t fall for the standard “dual purpose” breed party line without looking totally into it. Even studs are now revising their suggested areas for keeping Dexters, and the more realistic studs are advising about their stock’s genetics for milk and/or beef production. A Dexter will not produce as much milk as a Jersey, but it is beautiful milk, very different to Jersey. Jersey milk is rich and creamy, very different to Dexters, and has more “body” to it.
Also you need to factor in bad climatic conditions where you find your pasture has gone completely because of too much rain, too little rain, or temperature extremes. You need to buy in feed like you wouldn’t believe! Ask me how I know (and I’m on 18 acres of Prime Agricultural alluvial soils!).
To my knowledge, there is no lawful means of “herdsharing” cows in NSW. The legislation is extremely tight regarding it, in terms of the milk produced. Please if you do find a lawful way around it, PM me because I would love to know. Herdshares or milkshares are common in parts of the States. Also, should you go ahead with herdsharing, you will need to ensure that the shareholders cows are tested for all diseases, including Q Fever, which can be transmitted by raw milk. You don’t want that hanging over your head, that the milk has infected someone, or they “think” that the milk infected them (there’s more than one way of contracting it!).
Okay, I don’t want to rain on your parade at all. Just investigate stocking rates more fully, and the legalities too, before you sink any money into it.
Now, if you just want milk for your own family’s consumption, you won’t need to push for milk production, and you could share milk the cow with the calf on her, take holidays when you want, and your calf is your relief milker! Also, once a day milking will require less feed imput.
PM me if you want to discuss this further. I’m in Northern NSW too.
MuddyfeetNovember 24, 2011 at 1:13 am #514789
LOL.. I remember using a similar sytem (it may have even been the same). I had an immaculate home…and those bloody cards just fed an obsessive compulsive disorder! I HAD to toss them for my mental health.
Now, I keep a cleanish house, happy kids, and a huge managerie of animals (outside). As far as I’m concerned now, housework will still be waiting for me when I get round to it, my life won’t! I know I won’t look back with regrets about housework not done, but will regret missing my children growing up.
Not saying its a bad system, it was just bad for me (and anybody that was living with me at that time!).
MFNovember 22, 2011 at 12:34 am #514311
I bought mine through the internet through a place called Nature’s Wonderland. Excellent service and very reasonable postage and handling cost (from memory about $20 if that). I know its not Sydney based, but thought you’d like to know anyway.
Muddyfeet.November 18, 2011 at 12:45 am #514021
Did you waterbath it? I make lots (and I mean LOTS) of apple sauce each year and water bath it. I haven’t had an off one yet.
HOctober 29, 2011 at 7:48 pm #512088
Try this one GirlFriday…up your way I think. High SCC isn’t so much of an issue if the milk still tastes good (but dairy’s are penalised for high SCC), but I’d ask a few questions to the owner about current bouts of mastitis if any.
I can’t remember seeing a price on the ad.
Muddyfeet (having trouble logging in)October 27, 2011 at 1:52 pm #512086
Try googling “farmstock” and it will bring you onto a site that sells poultry, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and alpacas, all under separate sections.
People across Australia advertise on here, so you just wait for something to come up thats within travelling distance, and its mainly hobby farmers, rather than commercial farmers. I’ve purchase quite a bit of livestock through this site, including my Jersey, who has now given me two lovely heifers calves, who are in turn in calf with their first calves, as is the Jersey again.
Patience, ultimately is the order of the day. Don’t buy something just because its close and is available at a good price. A good house cow is worth waiting for, because she’ll be around for a while, and you will have a very CLOSE relationship with her whether you want to or not!
I notice you live in QLD. There is a nice Dexter stud, that regularly advertises on the Farmstock site, and there are often Jersey’s up that way too.
MuddyfeetOctober 27, 2011 at 1:57 am #508731
I fully understand about having “precious” FV jars.. I recently had the bottom of one of my Pint Juice bottles blow out in the preserver.
My advice… if these are truly precious to you (and considering they don’t make them anymore and the jars are lovely)… DON’T use them in the boiling water bath. See if you can buy a cork to fit the top, and use them to store dry items on your shelves. A shame, that they won’t hold puddings, but the angst when they break, is bad. At least on the shelf, you can continue to appreciate them, and they will be serving a purpose too.
I’m not sure, but FV do sell a green plastic snap on lid, but I do not know if it comes in the pudding jar size.
MuddyfeetOctober 27, 2011 at 1:41 am #510118
Glad you got your cream separator. What brand is it? I couldn’t tell from the pics that I could see.
When you repaint it, careful. You must use food grade paint, sometimes its best just to leave them unpainted if you can’t find food grade paint.
Goodluck using it! Make some Parmesan Cheese!
MuddyfeetOctober 27, 2011 at 1:25 am #512081
Given the area of pasture available (dependent on quality of course), a Jersey or a Dexter is your best choice.
Dexters are marketed as “dual purpose” cattle, ie. beef and milk, however, these days, you may find that you will get dexters bred along “beef” lines (ie. bred selectively for their beef characteristics) or “milky” lines, (bred selectively for their milk characteristics). IF you were to go for a dexter, and your main purpose is for milk, then you need to enquire what her breeding is, did she come from milkers etc. Dexters do do better on poorer pasture, but they are definitely cows that need pasture, not manicured lawns! Dexter milk is whiter and sweeter than Jersey milk, and is more homogenised than Jersey milk, and thus takes a while longer for the cream to naturally separate out from the milk. Dexters, although small can be cantankerous.
Jersey’s on the other hand are small too, but are pure dairy. They give a greater volume of milk, and their milk is creamier, separating out much quicker. They do need more feed than a dexter, simply because they will put their food into making milk, at the expense of making beef! Generally Jersey’s are even tempered. If you have a high producing Jersey, they are more subject to metabolic disorders, which can be life threatening, particularly after calving.
Both these breeds, being small, need to be bred to low birth weight bulls, such as Jersey, Dexter or Angus, at least until they are seasoned calvers, and even then, you would need to ensure that the bull doesn’t throw too bigger calves. You don’t want to have to go through the trauma of pulling calves.
Okay, now things to look for as a novice house cow buyer, regardless of breed…
1. Previously hand milked (and machine milked if that is what you intend doing)
2. Either in calf or calf at foot (or both if you’re fortunate)
3. Halter trained (not just has had a halter on her, you want to be able to lead her around… saves SO MUCH ANGST believe me!)
4. Good milk production for your needs. No point having a super producer if you won’t be using it all, as you need to feed her the same amount, even if you don’t want ALL that milk. (PS.. illegal to sell raw milk in Australia).
5. Disease free and known history (Q Fever, Pink Eye, Mastitis, Ketosis)
6. Four functioning quarters, of even size and placement. If the cow is in milk, ask to see a milking demonstration (you may have to get there at milking time), or if not in milk, have a feel of the udder. You should not feel hard fibrous tissue, or other abnormalities in the teats.
7. Your “hand sized” teats. Jersey’s can have small teats, ie. if some men can’t milk Jersey’s by hand simply because the teats aren’t long enough to fit their palms on them, and rather have to milk with two fingers and a thumb.
8. Has a good let down reflex, that doesn’t need to be triggered by a calf suckling.
9. Has previously share milked, if your intention is to keep the calf on her as a share milker.
10. Is good with children. Not all cows are. Some HATE children, some HATE dogs. Some won’t take change well, and will only let down for one milker.
11. Is trained to head bails or can be milked just tied up, or better yet, freestanding in the pasture.
12. Be wary of dairy culls (cows culled from commercial dairy operations). They may have simply been culled because they weren’t high enough producers for a commercial operation, fine for a family house cow. However, more often they are culled because there is a real reason they can’t continue. They may continue to be “open” (can’t get them pregnant after several attempts), they may have a high Somatic Cell Count (SCC) indicating a current mastitis or chronic subclinical mastitis. Modern dairy cows, may not have been handled by humans very much, as much of dairy operations is mechanised. Some cows take to the change, some cows won’t, ever.
And some other thoughts…
Brown Swiss are beautiful, but they are HUGE cows, as are Friesians (or Holsteins).
You will need to have some sort of shelter and some form of restraint to do routine cattle husbandry. Some things are unpleasant to do, and any cow won’t stay still for it. So, a set of head bails is a necessity, even if they don’t need to be milked in it. Examples of procedures… treatment for pinkeye, annual immunisations if you chose to immunise, application of worming medication, pregnancy testing/drawing bloods, artificial insemination… the list goes on.
Consider how you will keep the cow in calf. Ideal spacing is 12 months apart. Will you use natural cover, ie. a bull or AI. How much will each of these cost you?
What is your pasture like in winter? How is your budget for buying in lucerne hay and concentrates as 3 acres, even carefully managed and rotated, will still require supplementation, in order to keep the cow in good condition, and produce a reasonable volume of milk for your family and/or friends.
How is your fencing? Is it good enough to keep cattle in and out? Good fences make good neighbours.
Cow’s cycle every 21 days. If you keep your cow open, then she will be generally very loud and noisy for 2 days or so, and be looking for a bull, or a bull might come looking for her!
Are you capable of milking once or twice a day? Do you have time to do so, rain, hail or shine?
If your land is flood prone, where will you put her during floods and if she’s in milk, how will you get to her to milk?
Crosses can make good milkers, however, don’t expect them to stay in lactation the same length of time as a pure dairy breed. They will produce lovely milk, but whereas a dairy breed may continue to produce a good quantity of milk long after calving. A cross breed will taper off sooner rather than later, as genetically, their calves grow quicker and are less dependent on milk sooner.
Owning your own cow is wonderful. Remember though, unless you share milk, or have a reliable relief milker, then it seriously inhibits your ability to go away for more than a day trip when she is in milk.
Goodluck, lots more to type, but too tired to go on now! I hope this helps.
Muddyfeet.October 12, 2011 at 4:52 pm #504512
Raw milk is not the “safest” but CAN defintely be the absolute best for nutrition and health. However, raw milk can only be as “safe” as the condition under which it is collected, and from the cow it is milked from. The reason the government believe that raw milk is “unsafe” is that under the wrong conditions it can grow extremely harmful bacteria. The reason that shop bought milk is considered “safe” by the government is that it is essentially “dead” milk. Nothing grows in it, and most of its excellent nutritional qualities have been removed by the pasterisation process.
So, whist I enjoy drinking litres of raw milk daily, I know exactly under what conditions it is collected and kept.
I guess what I’m long windedly trying to say is not all raw milk is created equal! When purchasing raw milk, from whatever source, you should make polite enquiries regarding the health of the herd and the milk collection and storage methods used.
MuddyfeetOctober 8, 2011 at 11:12 pm #509785
I’ve read that ordinary powdered skim milk, made up as per the instructions, is okay and much more affordable to feed to baby goats. I’ll double check and repost.