03 Oct Mini Jerseys for Raw Milk
Why did we choose miniature Jersey cows for our Small Family Farm? I believe it was providential. I had originally looked into a dual purpose Highland breed, but when one shaggy cow pointed her horns and stomped her hoof at me, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest. It led me to reconsider, and I began to look deeper into Miniature Jerseys.
Since bringing home our first mini Jersey over a year ago, I have not regretted the decision for a minute. Not only did we find some amazing animals, we built lifelong friendships with Mini Jersey breeders and owners in the process.
We still have a lot to learn, but thought we’d share a few reasons why we love this breed, and some things to consider if you’re looking to purchase a Miniature Jersey.
These are the reasons we love our miniature Jersey cows for raw milk:
1/ They weigh less, therefore they eat less, saving us money on hay.
2 / We’re not swimming in milk – we don’t really need 3+ gallons per day for our family.
3 / We like them for grass-fed dairy – as they’re not large, heavy milk producers, we find that our cows don’t need grain. Of course this does depend from cow to cow, and it’s important to look for grassfed genetics in mini Jerseys. There will absolutely be mini Jerseys which will require grain, but we are thankful ours which have been keeping their condition on a grass-fed diet.
4 / They are easier to manage – in my opinion, because they are smaller, they are less daunting, and easier to work with.
5 / They are beautiful – call me biased, but I love the Jersey cow look.
6 / They produce rich, creamy raw milk – their cream line is unbelievable!
Things to consider if you are planning to raise Mini Jerseys:
1 / You will want to breed them with a mini bull, to avoid birthing complications.
2 / Hand milking may be tricky as smaller cows tend to have smaller teats and can take longer to milk out. We use a machine milker for this reason.
3 / Your Jersey will want a friend, this is common for most herd animals, cattle included.
4 / It’s important to find one that is gentle and ideally halter-trained. We can lead our girls anywhere, which helps as we rotationally graze them. The younger and smaller they are, the easier it will be to train them. The older and less trained they are, the more difficult it will be.
5 / Miniature Jerseys are like potato chips, it’s hard to just stop at one, or two, or three.
If you are planning to purchase a family milk cow, I do highly recommend a Miniature Jersey. The market is tough, but keep your options open and you may find your next family cow!