Small-breed milk cows eat only a third to half of what a standard-size cow eats, and they produce a more manageable amount of milk. Plus, they’re easier to handle because of their small size. Learn more about buying and caring for small-breed milk cows from an experienced breeder. Miniature breeds are an easy entry into the world of dairy cattle.Miniature cattle are classified in three categories as measured by height at the hip.
These three categories are (1) midsize miniature, 42 to 48 inches; (2) standard miniature, 36 to 42 inches; and (3) micro-miniature, 36 inches and under. Small-breed cattle range in weight from 500 to 800 pounds. In general, a miniature milk cow is a third to half the size of the standard milk cow. I find that the 42- to 44-inch height is the most ideal for a family small-breed milk cow. Smaller cows may present logistical problems — you might have to sit on the floor to milk them.
Mini refers to the mature height of the animal. Purebred Miniature Jerseys are bred to be proportionally smaller than full-size Jerseys but pass the same DNA Breed Based Representation (BBR) purity test. They should not appear to have tiny legs or a large head on a normal sized torso. Often, these disproportionate animals are Dwarves, carriers of a “Condro” gene that is a genetic defect. This came from breeders out-crossing their purebred Jerseys with Dexter cattle to reduce the height of the offspring. Breeding two carriers of this mutation creates a “Bulldog” calf that is terminal. Our herd have been tested and proven not to be carriers of the Dwarfism gene. Every bull that we use for breeding is tested to ensure we’re breeding true Purebred Miniature Jerseys.
A standard-size milk cow in peak production can give 6 to 10 gallons of milk per day. What do you do with that much milk? That’s the great thing about small-breed Jerseys. My cows give 1 to 1 1/2 gallons per milking. This level of production provides enough milk for drinking as well as for making some cheese and butter on a weekly basis, plus a little left over to give to a neighbor or friend. The quality of the milk is excellent, with butterfat content of about 4.9 percent. I store milk in gallon Mason jars. Each jar of milk will have about 3 inches of cream at the top.
Uses/benefits of Mini Jersey Cow
Jerseys make the best cream! They have the highest percentage of protein and butterfat in their milk. It’s perfect for making cheese and butter. They’re the smallest of the dairy breeds and have the best feed-to-milk conversion. That trait is expounded with Mini and Midsize Jerseys. They more easily maintain their weight while producing at their peak. Their lower consumption means they can be managed on less acreage than larger breeds need, making them the perfect homestead cow.
Each breed of dairy cow has their special trait. Holsteins make a lot of milk. That’s why you’ll see these tall black and white cows gracing the pastures of Wisconsin and northern California where most of our country’s milk comes from. Brown Swiss are the largest, hardiest dairy breed, free of many of the common issues other breeds experience. Guernsey milk is a golden color due to the high amount of beta-carotene which is a source of Vitamin A. They’re a beautiful flashy brown and white color. Ayrshire are rugged and durable with coats similar to the Guernsey, but more red. High fertility and grazing efficiency make the Milking Shorthorn a common breed to cross with for hybrid vigor.
Prices of Mini Jersey Cow
Miniature cows cost $1,800 to $3,500 depending on the size, markings and color. (A good standard Jersey sold as a family milk cow will cost $1,400 to $1,800.) Although small-breed cattle may cost more initially, they have some interesting advantages