|Where creating new life is a passion!||
A heritage breed known for their Golden Milk and docile disposition.
For Sale: Sorry, none this season.
Ken and I prefer to drink our milk raw so what better way than to raise our own. We could have had any dairy cow we wanted but we chose the Guernsey, a heritage breed dairy cow popular for their golden milk that is high in butter fat and sweet taste. I've tried fresh milk from a variety of cows but nothing comes close to the wonderful taste of real Guernsey milk, at least in my opinion. The Guernseys are now very rare and hard to find since they are seldom used in commercial dairies. Commercial dairies are paid by the pound so quantity is what matters, not quality. The Guernsey will not give you the amount of milk a Holstein will but a Holstein can't give you the butter fat and taste that the Guernsey can.
We purchased our first Guernsey from Wisconsin and had her shipped 2,000 miles to our farm. I was concerned the trip or the heat in South Texas would bother her but neither did. We find they do very well in the heat due to their light color. Guernseys are very hardy animals and can live for many years on the family farm if treated right and cared for correctly. Many people prefer them for their ability to produce on grass alone but you'll need to have great grass or excellent hay if you want them to hold their condition. They will also need a steady supply of minerals based on the soil on your property. We prefer a good mixed mineral, Diatomous Earth, Dolomite, and sea kelp.
Our herd is 100% A2/A2 and we only breed to bulls tested for A2/A2. If you are not familiar with what that means, I recommend you read the book "Devil In The Milk" by Keith Woodford or check out the many articles on line. Some people think it makes no difference while others swear by the results they and their family experience after switching to A2 only milk. It's one of those things that you will have to be the judge for your family.
If you've never owned a cow but wanted to, I would encourage you to start with a young bred heifer. We find the Guernsey to be extremely easy to train. We also have horses and only wish our horses were as easy to train as our cows. Guernseys love people and crave attention. We do nothing special to tame our young calves. We are typically there when they are born and maybe that makes a difference but we find they follow us and insist on scratches and petting from even the earliest age. As they grow, we teach them to respect our space and tone down the play. What's cute at 3 months is not cute at 2 years of age. We teach them voice commands and get them used to standing still while we touch their udders. By the time the calf is born, it should take no more than a day or two to get in the routine.
You will find feed to be a very controversial subject. Some insist you must feed several pounds of mixed grain each day and in fact that is mostly what commercial dairy cows are fed. If you are going to go for the maximum amount of milk a cow can produce, you have no choice but to feed lots of grain in order to get the huge amount of carbs and proteins needed to produce 10 gallons of milk a day. But, there are those of us who prefer their milk to come from grass not grain. Bovine as a species were developed to be grazers and that's why they have a 4 part stomach. The rumen is an amazing adaption. It ferments huge amounts of long stem grass in order to break down the hard fiber cell walls to unlock and utilize the nutrients inside. Fermentation happens through beneficial bacteria and it operates under a certain PH. When you add grain, it takes different bacteria to digest and the more grain you have the more the PH becomes acidic. This can lead to many health problems and even change the milk. When you feed high grain, there isn't much need for a rumen so you simply can't take a cow raised on grain and turn it loose in a pasture and expect it to be productive on grass. If you want a grass dairy, you need to stock it with cows raised on grass in order to have a nice developed rumen. That's what you will find here! We feed our heifers mother's milk and she is out grazing with the herd early on and will continue on milk for nearly 9 months. If you want a great cow, you better start with a great heifer.
This is little Daisy born on our farm February 2015 to our cow Betsey. She is the second generation maternal line born here on Tiny Texas Ranch.
When we bought the property, it already had a horse barn located out back. We converted the largest stall into our milking parlor. The girls line up to take their turn being milked and then file out and wait to be returned to pasture.
Here's a side view of our stanchion used to keep the cows from moving during milking. Once a cow is trained they really are not necessary but they do come in handy for artificial insemination and have physical examinations. As you can see, the cow is provided a treat in the feed bunk to make it a more pleasant experience.
Here's a view from the back in case you would like to try making one for yourself.
The key to a healthy cow is a healthy chemical free pasture that has not been overgrazed.
The joy of seeing a new calf arrive never grows old!