Post by tinytexasranch on Jun 16, 2012 15:50:29 GMT -5
I went to the tree of knowledge and read what I could find about drying off but honestly it just raised more questions than answers. So, I was hoping someone could give me a simple answer to our situation.
Sally calved in September and we took the calf away so she has never nursed (that worked so good for us we'll do it again). She was milked TAD until after we bred her back in February and then we switched to OAD (I love having the evenings free). Her production has dropped over the months but shows no sign of stopping. We are grass based and only feed a coffee can of grain to give her minerals, molasses, etc. but we have great pastures of Bermuda. I want to dry her off 3 months before her new calf arrives in November so was thinking doing it the end of July. She is currently giving 2 gallons a day on OAD milking. So, do we just stop milking one day or do we have to put her up in the barn and give her hay only etc. How do you keep her from getting mastitis if we don't milk? She's never had it and I hope she doesn't. She seems very healthy with a shiny coat but dairy cows always look skinny to me with those ribs showing. Vet says she's perfect though. What's our best plan of action?
Living the dream with Sally, Daisy, & Betsey (guernseys), 6 horses, poultry of all kind, gardens and orchards enough to feed the husband & son and half the county.
Post by kellyhensing on Jun 16, 2012 15:59:04 GMT -5
I like to do a gradual dry-off. Lots of folks like to go cold turkey. When dry-off time comes around for my cow, I am also doing OAD milkings. An example of what I would do is this: Mon AM--milk skip Tues AM milking, milk Tues PM (36 hours between milkings instead of 24 hours) Skip Wed both milkings Milk Thurs AM Milk Sat AM (now you are at 48 hours between milkings) If she is engorged Monday AM, milk her out. If not, you are done. My cow is a Jersey and does well with this protocol. My friend milks a Guernsey and her cow also did well drying off this way.
Once you go to 48 hours between milkings, I do not use the milk for human consumption.
Hope that helps! -Kelly
Wife to a converted part-time farmer (a true partner)
Mom to 3 boys (13,10,8)
Ari,Casey & Lindsay-Jersey heifers
Belle & Shiloh-horses
Gracie-Majestic Tree Hound
Layers, Broilers, Muscovies & heritage turkeys
HeritageX Pigs (Berk,Ossabaw,Mulefoot,york,duroc,hamp)
most people go cold turkey,but I do it slow, if I milk in the AM I milk the next PM and do that a couple days then skip another milking and just stretching it out and watching her udder ,then when I make the decision that that is the last one I dry treat with tomorrow, and leave alone I have never had a problem doing it this way Suzanne
2 children Steven and Leila
permitted 006 RCM Dairy
Lilly a sale barn rescue jersey
Sapphire a loner Jersey
and Chloey a Brown Swiss Jersey sale barn rescue
Ginger the Jersey/Highlander/Angus/Hereford heifer
Lettie the salebarn jersey heifer
chickens and some guiny hens
house cats KC , Stinker + strays
1 cow dog X was my Moms Girl
Emmy a Fjord QH X mare
2 piglets Miss Piggy and Charlotte
and the ever changing
It is harder to do when the grass is green and luscious. I'm drying mine off in a lot with hay. They hate me right now.
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests." ~Patrick Henry
I've never had luck with a reduced schedule, but cold turkey never gives me any issues.
I cut her grain down to nothing or almost nothing, depending on her body condition, and just stop milking. I check her quarters externally 2x a day for any heat or hardness. I don't do anything to make her think of the milking routine- no stanchion, I come out slightly earlier or later, etc.
It can be hard to dry them off when they are on pasture, especially if the growth is lush. If she keeps bagging up after a week or so of not being milked you might have to dry lot her and feed hay for a while. For that reason I might only give her 2 months, since it may be easier to dry her off in September when the pasture is a bit more dormant.
This book is intended as an inspirational manual for keeping a family milk cow. A lifetime of practical experience has been bound into one volume. Practical advice for the everyday and procedures for cow emergencies. Plus, answers to FAQ's like, 'Should you get a cow?' and 'How Much Space do I need?'