Post by mothership on Jul 24, 2007 16:45:39 GMT -5
Do any of you mini Jersey owners have opinions on a reasonable price range for proven, family-cow-suitable, mini Jersey cows? I understand their rarity can result in higher prices than standard Jerseys, but based on what I've read here, there seems to be so much variation in what people pay for cows of any dairy breed, registered or not (from hundreds to thousands of dollars), and I haven't found much online about mini Jersey prices. Is it pretty much a case of "she's worth whatever you can get for her"?
I'm currently looking for a cow to buy, and have a lead on a mini Jersey cow and heifer calf that are priced as a pair, more money that we've been planning to spend but it might be worth it in the long run if we can swing it. I live in CA, everything is more expensive here, and family milk cows are scarce.
Without the calf, a mini Jersey is likely to be around $1800. One occasionally hears of them going for less, sometimes more.
Be sure to see the papers on the cow and the bull that sired the calf. Unless it too was registered, a bull calf won't be worth much. A heifer will have value but if not registerable will not have a high value. Prices for heifer calves are highly variable across the country.
Be aware that a lot of these "mini Jerseys" are actually JerseyxDexter crosses. I would make sure that the animal is registered with the Jersey Association as well as the Mini Jersey Associaition. I would also make sure it is not part of the Jersey Associations genetic recovery program. Caveat Emptor
From most AMJA&R Registered herds, a weaned Mini Jersey heifer will bring $2500, a mature, proven, gentle cow w/good udder will bring $3000-$3500, and a cow/heifer pair will bring a minimum of $5000. And these aren't just "wished for" prices -- most of us have waiting lists for heifers and mature cows. Most of us are still expanding our own herds, so there are never very many heifers or cows available in any given year. The demand is much greater than the supply. BUT, make sure that the animal you're looking at is truly a Mini Jersey -- ask to see her papers. Because of their rarity, there are unscrupulous people out there that are passing off "whatever" as Mini Jersey. The cow should look like a Jersey in every respect, just a bit smaller.
Rod -- At this point, there are no double-Registered Mini Jerseys that I am aware of. Starting next year, I will be working on producing double Registered Minis, using AJCA's Genetic Recovery program and imported semen from Old World bulls that are Registered with both Associations. I expect the resulting animals to be in the Mid-Miniature size range.
I knew you were one of the honest ones! I would caution you when you spend your money on the “Old World” bulls as they are called. A few years ago I was researching this topic and received some photos of these bulls. I figured unless the men in the pictures handling the bulls were very short then the bulls were in the 48 to 52 inch range. This would a standard Jersey size if I remember correctly.
It is disappointing when some of these folks try to market these mini-jerseys as the “real” Jersey cow when they are just a cross.
I can tell you there are registered Jersey’s (AJCA) that are of the old genetics and on the smaller size but not under 43 inches. To get to that size you have to cross breed.
Good luck with your search! If you were thinking you were being sold a pureblood Jersey of old genetics, I would ask that person to produce a pedigree. If you are truly looking for a pureblood Jersey cow of old genetics, you will need to be prepared to pay much more than the 2000 you could buy a regular dairy cow for.
Okay, I guess I'm confused. I thought all registered mini Jersey cattle were purebred Jerseys who happened to be under a certain size. I see that's not correct. The "foundation" mini Jerseys (registered with the AMJA&R) were/are of Jersey type, but not registered with the AJCA, or any other registry. Is that right? Are there claims these animals were bred from old-style Jerseys that just weren't ever registered, that had been bred by people who wanted to preserve them but were not operating within the mainstream/AJCA system that was breeding for bigger and higher-producing cows? I'm blurry on the details of the origins here. I'm not too one way or the other about it, just trying to understand the mini Jersey thing so I know what I'm dealing with to some degree if I continue to look at these animals. I'm all for preserving the old-world type of Jersey, the small farmstead cow, but I don't want to buy into any pretentious-sounding and shady marketing schemes - alpacas, anyone? (Not saying the AMJA&R is that necessarily, but I tend to be cynical). I'm accustomed to horses with pedigrees documented back for many generations (Arabians), in which circles "upbreeding" is heresy (i.e. you can't breed up to pure, it's either purebred or it's not), so wrapping my mind around a different system is a bit of an adjustment. I don't necessarily want a registered cow, just a good family milk cow, but if a mini Jersey comes my way who happens to be the perfect cow for us, I want to make sure I'm not having any wool pulled over my eyes about her genetics or value before I go paying more for her than I would for a grade cow. I don't want to cough up that kind of dough for animals that might not breed true to type or have much predictability because of who-know-what in the woodpile. (Like I said, I'm cynical.) I would want to believe in the value of the registry and genetics if I pay more for a registered mini Jersey, especially if I'm going to breed and register more mini Jerseys.
Do people raise their mini Jersey bull calves for meat, and then actually eat them? I ask because I've gotten the distinct impression from reading about rare breeds of other species that some breeders would be aghast at such a practice (even for excess males). We do, however, intend to raise some of the calves from our eventual family milk cow for beef for our family (not to sell).
Last Edit: Jul 26, 2007 0:57:58 GMT -5 by mothership
Jersey's are a smaller breed in general....Dolly is classified as a mid-miniature--and she is 47" at her hip. I am 5 foot 1-ish. and her back comes up to my armpit. Not a big cow by any means....
The older-style of Jersey's were smaller. Same with alot of other breeds. Look at a photo of a Hereford from the 50's--they have pretty short legs compared to nowdays. As usual, folks thought bigger was better, and decided to breed the biggest animals to get bigger cows. (Remember when they were crossing lots of Arabs to Tennesee Walkers in the 80's to 'put more height into the breed?') Like you said, they are either pure or not!!
Dolly was bred to Ann's bull, Pyle when I bought her, and yes, he is in the freezer now. Every breed will have an excess of males...'can't keep 'em all! That is why they keep the best ones 'intact', to use them for breeding.
Part of the problem is, the Isle of Jersey will not export any cows out...(last time I knew anyhow)..that is where you find true old world Jersey's. Janene
Occasional steer for the freezer
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I am glad you got informed before you spent the money. As I mentioned before, I have nothing against Mini-Jerseys but I do take issue with marketing them as if they are somehow “Original”.
I was looking thru some of my old Jersey Journals, looking before the 1970 when the Jersey breed started to breed for production. I would estimate that the heights ranged from 48 to 50 inches. One bull from 1955 shows 11 men in the picture and I would estimate that bull would be in that range.
Take a look at this picture:
How tall do you think that bull is? I would guess this picture was taken around 1910+/-
What are these cattle worth? Well they are worth exactly what someone is willing to pay. I can tell you that these old pureblood Jerseys have been selling for the 6k range for a day old heifer calf sired by not so special bulls. If you are looking for one sired by bulls such as B. Sleeper Valiant, Advancer Sleeping Jester, Marlu Milestone, Milestone Generator, sons of past national champions, or even have them close in on the pedigree you can expect the price to go up exponentially.
The question you need to ask yourself is do you need a $15k cow sired by this special bull with a grandsire on the dams side of this other special bull for a family milk cow? I think not. If you want a family milk cow, buy yourself a Jersey bucket calf and hand raise it. If you plan on hand milking the cow, look at the length of the dams teats. If momma has short teats, you will likely have difficulty hand milking yours when the time comes. You should be able to buy a day old heifer calf (not old genetics) for around $500. If you want one you can milk now, be prepared to pay a premium for a hand raised cow. After all, someone put a lot of time and effort in hand raising that cow from the time it was born
There is more than one Registry for small Jerseys. The International Minature Cattle Breeders Society, along with many "trademarked" breeds, register 42-1/2" - 48" Jerseys as Mid-sized, and 42" and under as "Lessor" Jerseys.
The American Miniature Jersey Assocation and Registry, registers only Mini Jerseys, and their crosses. Up to 42" are Full Miniatures, 42-1/2" - 46" are Mid-Miniatures.
The "Foundation Pure" (fullblood) Mini Jerseys do go back to old herds that didn't keep up with the Registries. These animals are pure Jersey, but have not had the benefit/misfortune of being selected for larger size and extreme milk production. The polled gene is more widespread than in the standard Jerseys. Some of these animals are quite small -- 38" is not unheard of, and most of the bulls currently available for AI are in the 38"-40" range.
There is an upbreeding program to "Native Pure" (purebred). Offspring of "whatever" cows, bred to Foundation Pure bulls are 1/2 Mini Jersey. 1/2 Mini Jersey bred to Foundation Pure bulls result in 3/4 Mini Jersey. 3/4 Mini Jersey bred to Foundation Pure bulls result in 7/8 Mini Jersey -- Native Pure for heifers. Bull are not recognized as Native Pure until 15/16ths. Native Pure (purebred) can never move up to Foundation Pure (fullblood).
This type of upbreeding program is used by the Lowline association, as well as the Red Angus association, and is more restrictive than either AJCA's Genetic Recovery Program or AJCA's Jersey Expansion Program -- both of which allow full Herd Registry after so many generations of using AJCA Registered bulls (3 generations for GRP, 4 generations for JEP)
People generally don't like the fact that only a small percentage of bulls born are truly needed for breeding stock. A good, proven, mature bull is a valuable animal, however, bull calves are only worth a fraction of what a heifer calf is worth. IMO, if a bull isn't good enough to improve on the majority of cows he would be bred to, he needs to another job (meat, pet/pasture ornament, ox, gomer).
Rod - I'm not at all concerned with producing "micro-mini" Jerseys, IMO, the Mid-Miniature is the "best" size. My cow Fancy (Riverview Baby Martha -- her dam is Miss Martha on the Riverview website), will be 8 years old in September, she's 46" (she Registered at 3 years at 44"), I'm 5'2", and her hip is chest-high on me. I wouldn't want her to be any bigger, but I also don't want a cow that's too short to use a Surge on. I've recently managed to acquire semen from bulls that lived and died on the Isle of Jersey. One of them goes directly (inbred) back to Oxford Lass. He/they should produce offspring in the Mid-Miniature range. Using Fancy and the 2 heifers as OA's (Original Animals) in AJCA's Genetic Recovery Program, we should be able to produce double registered cows after 3 generations. 1st generation offspring is PR - Provisional Register, 2nd is GR - Genetic Recovery, and 3rd is HR - Herd Register, and bulls have to come out of HR cows. This will be the only way to get double registered bulls -- and if the animals end up being too large to be Mini Jerseys, they'll still be Registered Jerseys. Personally, I'm surprised that the Mini Jersey breeders aren't placing any importance on producing double registered animals. I see the double registered animals as the ones that will endure past any fad stage, because of the AJCA Registration.
Last Edit: Jul 27, 2007 11:33:48 GMT -5 by AnnB (NE)
Post by DostThouHaveMilk on Jul 28, 2007 9:39:38 GMT -5
Ann, There was a discussion on the SmallFamilyJersey group on Yahoo! about the registries recently. Including trying to get minis registered with the AJCA. It was when you were moving. I'm sure they would appreciate your input. There was also discussion about that bull that was DNA tested and I fear there may have been some misunderstanding about what happened there.
You can get in touch with me at SkyLark_RKR@yahoo.com if you have questions.
I don't know how much they would appreciate *my* input! (I don't see eye-to-eye with some of them) But, I'll check it out.
They were talking a while back on MiniJerseyWhy (mostly the same group of folks) about wanting to start another association -- but none of them realize what that entails, they just want it to happen and for this new associaton to magically create a DNA test to show what breeds are an animals background. (And then of course, in this dream world, only their cows would be proven pure -- and they'd sue everybody who's animals contain "foreign" DNA)
They don't understand that they'd be better off supporting the association that we have, give some constructive criticism and an offer to help -- but nobody wants to help, it's all supposed to magically happen by itself, I guess. (can you tell that the back-biting and in-fighting irritates the $% out of me?!?)
Post by mothership on Jul 28, 2007 12:38:47 GMT -5
Thanks for all the great input. I hadn't previously been considering a Mini Jersey because I didn't think there were any in my neck of the woods, and I'm not too interested in buying long distance and shipping animals. Then when I heard there might be that pair I mentioned for sale not too far from me, I figured I better get educated about Mini Jerseys if I was going to consider it. I'm still waiting to hear more about them, I don't even know if the owner has decided for sure to sell.
I do have some knowledge of issues that crop up with pedigrees and animal registries, and how bitter and petty the arguments can sometimes get over what can be considered pure or original or worthy. I appreciate your perspectives.
Post by DostThouHaveMilk on Jul 28, 2007 15:09:27 GMT -5
Ann, It was a discussion along similar lines though more in depth and with more input on SFJ. Keep in mind both Sally and I are owner/moderators of SFJ and try to keep some semblance of peace. There are three other owner/mods (Barbara Stewart is one).
You can get in touch with me at SkyLark_RKR@yahoo.com if you have questions.
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