how much will a dairy cow drink and eat a day? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

i have got lots of questions:1.How much will a dairy cow drink and eat a day? 2.How much milk will it produce a day. 3.When is the milk yiels largest. 4.which breeds of cows are generally dairy cows and which are beef cows. 5. what is the gestation period for a cow. 6. how long does she reat befor she starts to produce milk again. 7. What is a bobby calf. 8.when will a cow have it's first calf. 9 .how much does an average cow weigh. 10.what is a cow and a calf worth. is beef graded.

-- Fran Watts (, October 22, 2001


Check with your local library to see if they can borrow books on milk cows. I can't find it, but remember there is a new one out titled something like "The Family Milk Cow".

There is probably as much variation within a breed as between breeds to give any definite answers to your questions. For example, an 850- pound Jersey isn't going to eat and drink as much as a 1,000-pound Holstein. Two cows of the same weight will not give the same amount of milk.

I have one study which shows meat from dairy cows is actually more tender than standard beef breeds. You just don't get as much of it.

The milk yield is largest after for several months after they have calved. Towards the end of their lactation period (in the neighborhood of ten months) milk flow will taper off. Remember a cow was designed to raise a calf, not give milk for humans. At six- months, a calf should be ready to be weaned from momma.

The primary dairy breeds are Holstein, Jersey and Guernsey. In smaller number are Aryshire, Brown Swiss, Maine-Anjou and Milking Shorthorn, and probably Devons.

Probably any breed can be trained to be milked. Once read where someone was milking a Texas Longhorn. In Croatia I saw Simmenthals being milked. In the U.S. they are considered to be strictly beef. I had company who wanted milk for their coffee. Since I had a Santa Gertrudis who was friendly I just took a cup out to the pasture and returned with fresh milk for them.

Gestation for a cow is 283 days, give or take a week.

A cow will start giving milk as its calf is ready to be born. First milk is colostrum, which is important for the calf to have as it helps the calf to develop some immunities.

I believe a fairly stardard practice is to let a cow 'rest' (not be milked) for about two months prior to calving. In large commercial dairies they are given hormone shots to extend the milking season to about 18 months. The cows are then culled to be replaced by daughters.

Typically a cow will not settle (get bred) for several heat cycles after calving. Normally one could expect a calf every twelve months if a bull is available. For some it might be 11 months and for others 13 or more. Apparently you are considering having a milk cow so also keep in mind how you are going to get her bred each year.

I believe you meant bottle calf, rather than bobby calf. It is a calf which is being raised separately from momma, ususally being fed with a bottle or bucket.

Typically dairy breeds mature sexually before beef breeds. A Jersey may calve at 18-months of age. For a beef breed, 24-months is more typical.

Weight is determined large by breed, but here again there are variations within breeds and even between calves. I have two Brahman- cross cows who are full sisters (same cow and bull). One outweighs the other by about 100 pounds.

Typically dairy cows sell for more than beef breeds unless they are very young or very old. It will vary from place to place based on supply and demand.

Beef is graded by the amount of inter-musclar fat it contains. Once processed the each side of the carcass is cut at a certain point to expose the meat area. Experienced calf buyers can make a pretty good judgement of their potential by looking at their frame from the back. A calf which looks like a barrel with legs (locally known as butterballs) will probably come out of the feedlot looking the same. As would be the case for one (which wasn't underfed) which has a rectangular shape.

I don't milk cows so perhaps some on the forum who do can be more specific in answering your questions. I'll add a question also, how do they get their cows bred each year.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, October 22, 2001.

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