Pets & Animals | 29 April 2016Choosing The Right Family Cow Share article facebook twitter google pinterest There are numerous benefits to owning and caring for cows. Whether it’s milking, feeding, or grooming, there is so much to learn when it comes to properly caring for a family cow! Luckily, The Family Cow Handbook: A Guide to Keeping a Milking Cow exists as the complete and total guidebook by veteran dairy farmer and cheesemaker Phil Hasheider to lead you through all the steps needed to make your dream of owning a milking cow a reality and the processes involved to make your own dairy products. Once you decide you’re ready to take the leap, you must first decide what cow is the right cow for you! That’s right, there are various breeds of cows for you to choose from. Take a quick look at the different types of cows excerpted from this comprehensive guide! EACH BREED has a distinctive look, be it color, size, or other more subtle characteristics. Cows come in a rainbow of colors. Do you like brown cows? Orange cows? Black and whites, or reds? Th ere are twelve breeds designated as dairy cattle in the United States. Each has a distinctive color that will help you identify them. Among these twelve breeds, there are several that are considered very rare. The major breeds include Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein, Jersey, Milking Shorthorn, and Red and Whites. Other breeds not as prevalent include American Lineback, Dexter, Dutch Belted, Milking Devon, and Normande. There are also crossbreds, which result from mating one breed with another for one generation and then to another breed in the next. Most breeds of cattle adapt to any climate as long as there is access to feed, water, and shelter. For your purposes, your region’s climate will have more of an impact on feed production than on the cattle themselves. A major difference between breeds is in the average components of their milk. Some breeds, such as Jerseys and Guernseys, have higher percentages of butterfat and protein in their milk, on average, than Holsteins or Milking Shorthorns. Milk with higher components percentages produces a higher yield of cheese and butter from the same quantity of milk than milk with lower components. For example, a cow producing 100 pounds of milk per day with a butterfat content of 3.5 percent will yield 3.5 pounds of cream after the milk is separated. A cow producing 60 pounds of 6.0 percent butterfat will yield 3.6 pounds of cream. Protein content can be similarly calculated. Feedstuffs may have a limited influence on some of these percentages, but the differences are mainly due to the genetics embedded within a given breed or animal. Dutch BeltedThe Dutch Belted breed has a distinctive white stripe between two black ends. They are gentle animals with quiet dispositionsand work well as family cows. Lisa Guell Crossbred A crossbred cow has mixed ancestry and can possess the best qualities of the breeds involved. The cow shown here is an Ayrshire/Milking Shorthorn/Holstein cross. Daniel Johnson Ayshire Ayrshires can be confused with red and white Holsteins because of the similarity in colors. They make excellent grazers and adapt well to many di?erent terrains and climates. Daniel Johnson Brown Swiss – Brown Swiss produce rich white milk high in butterfat and protein components. They are a docile breed, making them popular with children. Daniel Johnson Guernsey – Guernseys have increased in popularity because they adapt well to grazing programs. Their milk is high in butterfat and protein. They are excellent at converting forage to milk and have docile dispositions. Daniel Johnson Holstein – Holsteins count among the largest dairy breeds in body size. They can produce tremendous quantities of milk. Daniel Johnson Jersey – Jerseys are a small-size dairy breed. They produce milk high in butterfat and protein, excellent for cheese- and butter-making. Daniel Johnson Milking Shorthorn – Milking Shorthorns have increased in popularity because they are adaptable to grazing programs. They calve easily and produce su?cient amounts of milk for a family. Daniel Johnson Red and White- Red and Whites can include any cow with a red hair coat color, but most often they are Holsteins. Red and White cattle can also result from crossbreeding. Daniel Johnson Dexter – Dexters are the smallest dairy breed and adapt well to most farm situations. They are attractive for their high butterfat and protein milk. American Dexter Cattle Association Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: Milking your family cow and experiencing the simple joys that comes with it are explained in this guidebook by veteran dairy farmer and cheesemaker Phil Hasheider.This book leads you through all the steps needed to make your dream a reality and the processes involved to make your own dairy products. You will learn the practical do’s and don’ts of buying a cow, milking, feeding, and assisting her when she gives birth to a calf. You may not have the experience yet, but time will take care of that as you learn. Your adventure starts here and this book will guide you along your journey with your family cow. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.