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My Jersey Journey – Part 2 (read part 1 here)
Oftentimes I get an idea in my head and set my mind to seeing it through. My husband is my counter balance and more than once he’s had to say, “Whoa Nellie, just slow down a minute.” He has often told me that my Jersey herd can’t get bigger than his Angus herd. I don’t think he has much to worry about, I’m several hundred head short of that goal! Nonetheless, when I got it in my head that I wanted to bring in a Registered Jersey, he made me take a deep breath and wait. I’m so glad I did.
My long term goal has been to eventually have a constant milk supply year round, and also to add registered cows into my herd. We raise registered Black Angus cattle, so it’s just natural that I would raise registered Jerseys too, right?
There are only a few registered A2A2 Jersey herds within 4 hours of us. After asking around and doing web searches, I decided to go with a 3rd generation Jersey farmer from South Dakota, Graber Jerseys. They raise excellent cows.
When the day came to bring my new jersey beauty home, a friend and I drove up to South Dakota to get Mabel. We got a tour of the milking facilities and also their antique tractor collection. It was a fun day! On the way home, we also stopped in to another friend’s house and picked up some silkie chicks she had found for me. An exciting and fulfilling day to say the least!
Mabel is the kind of cow I can walk out in the pasture to, put down a pan of grain and milk her. No hobbles, no head catch. I did have to halter break her (See my post here about halter breaking, with some laughable moments), but she was easy compared to Gigi and the calves I’ve trained.
Mabel had twins, which is pretty rare for Jerseys, or at least more rare than Angus. One bull and one heifer. Unfortunately, this means the heifer has only a 5% chance of being fertile. I still will have the vet check her in a couple months, and in the meantime I’ll be praying!
She is a super sweet little heifer. I’ll be keeping the bull calf through the winter, and use him to breed Gigi and her heifer calf from last year. Then he’ll be on the market!
I plan on keeping Mabel’s calves on her through the winter and hope that I can pick up milking again in the spring.
My daughter enjoys milking her occasionally (She’s only 2), and Mabel stands patiently like the good girl she is. Now that I know what a well mannered Jersey is like, Gigi seems soooo naughty! She’ll always have a special place in my heart as my first milk cow though.
We didn’t try to get her bred back this summer. It’s been a difficult year on the ranch to say the least, water everywhere has put stress on man and beast. We’ll try to get her bred back this winter and hope for a fall heifer calf next year. I love my Jersey girls (and bull), and I’m excited to increase my registered Jersey program!