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How to Start and Manage a Micro Dairy, Step 11: Choosing the Cows

| 8/20/2013 9:54:00 AM

jersey cowsMy guiding principles for operating a micro dairy are keep things simple, then make them simpler and less time consuming, avoid fads, avoid the use of machinery whenever possible and let your cows do as much of the work for you as is possible. 

For me, the long term goal is to constantly refine my management practices and gradually reduce the amount of time and effort required to successfully run a Micro Dairy. How you achieve this goal at least partially depends on how much work your cows do for you.

I have milked just about every type of common dairy cow including Holsteins, Guernseys, Brown Swiss, Ayrshires, Milking Shorthorns, Holstein/Jersey crosses and other Jersey crosses. Of all the breeds I have milked and cared for, I prefer Jerseys for a micro dairy. Here’s why:

• Lower frequency of problems calving and calf size is never an issue when choosing a sire.

• Jerseys are a relatively small-framed cow that tends to be an easy keeper.

• Easier on barns and feeding facilities than larger-framed cows such as Holsteins.

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