Cattle come in many types, some are used only for milk and some only for meat, some for both. Most people think of a black and white Holstein when they think of, but Homesteads more often have the smaller cows like Jerseys, or duel purpose cows like the small Dexter.
Cattle are sometimes used in pulling carts or plows or yarding out wood, these animals are called pulling steers or oxen after they become 4 years old. Any breed of cattle may become oxen or steers.
Jersey milk cows
Jerseys are the smallest of the milk cows. They originate from the Isle of Jersey, off Great Britain. The brown color with white shading around the black muzzle and eyes is distinctive of the Jersey. Most people will comment on the big brown eyes, giving Jerseys a deer like appearance.
Even though they are small, Jerseys produce about 35 to 90 pounds of milk a day. Jersey milk has the highest butter fat and milk solids of all the milk cows. Jerseys do not efficiently break down Beta Carotene to colorless Vitamin A. This causes their milk to be a rich creamy color, and the butter a dark yellow when they are grazing on pastures.
Buttercup, our first cow, was raised from a tiny calf, she was my anniversary present. She freshened for the first time in March of 96 and we milked her all summer, making lots of fresh butter and cheese. She has given us 5 bull calves so far, and is bred to calve in October.. You can gaze into her big brown eyes in the Photo Album.
Clover was our first heifer born here after a run of 12 bull calves. Her mother is Daisy. Clover will be bred in March for her first calf, she is a very classical Jersey, her coloring is just the opposite of Buttercups, she typifies the darkest shades of Jersey coloring. She is big for her age and is developing a nice udder.
Babe, Buttercups calf from last August is still here and is learning to lead and will be taught to pull. He is a very intelligent calf that looks just like his mother.
Scottish Highland Cattle are native to The hills of Scotland. Highland cattle are browsers of shrubs and branches rather than grazers of grass. Their sturdy build with long hair helps them to survive cold temperatures with very little shelter.
Our two steers, Mac and Andy, were training to be pulling Steers, When they are four years old they will be called oxen, until then they are pulling steers. When these cattle get older they are fit with a different kind of yoke called head gear. The head gear allows them to use their heads and horns to do the most of the pulling. The horns of Scottish Highland Steers grow to very large lengths, care must be taken when working around these animals.
We sadly decided to sell Mac and Andy due to the problem of the horns, even though they were very gentle, the horns were always a big liability when working around them. The horns were also used for a lot of destruction, inadvertently when scratching their heads or rubbing the horns.
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