WHAT IS A MINIATURE JERSEY COW?
A mini-Jersey cow is a true Jersey breed. Long before milk became commercialized, families did not need large dairy cows to meet their daily milk needs. Over time, as demand grew, cattle breeders manipulated the DNA of Jerseys to make them bigger and better milk producers. Mini-Jersey cattle stand between 36 and 42 inches tall. Standard-size Jerseys can reach 62 inches in adulthood. Miniatures also weigh about half as much as standard cows. Most minis weigh between 500 and 800 pounds versus the 800 to 1,200 pounds of a standard Jersey.
WHAT DOES A MINI - JERSEY LOOK LIKE?
Mini-Jerseys share the same physical attributes as their larger counterparts. Their color ranges from a light fawn to a dark brown. Some have white patches on them in the shape of diamonds on their foreheads or larger patterns on their bodies. From their withers to their tails, all Jerseys have what looks like a tan-colored saddle. Their big, doe-like eyes are hard to miss (and resist). Mini-Jersey cattle have feminine features. Some people describe the bridge of their noses as having a dish shape to them. Most Jerseys, whether standard or mini, have horns.
HOW MUCH DOES A MINIATURE JERSEY COW COST?
One of the first questions most people ask before buying a mini-Jersey cow is how much they cost. This is a reasonable tidbit of information to have before you start shopping around. Most miniature Jersey cow breeders charge between $1,800 and $3,500 for minis. Value can increase (or decrease) based on the cow’s color, markings, and size. It can be cheaper to buy a mini-Jersey calf than an adult mini.
Part of the costs associated with owning a mini-Jersey includes food and shelter. Homesteaders should have between 2 and 5 acres per cow for adequate grazing.
WHAT IS A DNA - VERIFIED MINI-JERSEY COW?
Homesteaders and farmers who wish to breed mini-Jerseys will care about this designation. Others who just want raw milk may not care as much. Cattle breeders use something called Breed Base Representation (BBR) to determine a Jersey cow’s purity. Simply put, you can find out how much purebred Jersey blow is in your cow before you buy it. The American Jersey Cattle Association conducts genomic testing.
DO MINI - JERSEY CATTLE PRODUCE A2 MILK?
Yes and no. Not all mini-Jersey cattle produce A2 milk. If you hope to avoid dairy sensitivity by drinking raw mini-Jersey cow milk, have your cow tested to ensure it produces only A2 milk.
If you are wondering what A2 milk is, let me explain. A2 refers to the beta-casein protein found in a cow’s milk. There are two main families of beta-casein in milk: A1 and A2. People who have dairy allergies are most likely sensitive to the A1-beta casein found in most dairy cows. Switching to lactose-free milk does not always help those with dairy sensitivity digest it better. They are not allergic to the lactose, or sugar, in the milk. They are sensitive to the A1-beta casein. Some dairy cows, like Jerseys and Guernseys, produce only A2-beta casein in their milk. Scientists have learned that A2 milk digests faster, which they believe can reduce unpleasant side effects from drinking it.
WHAT MAKES MINI - JERSEY CATTLE THE BEST BREED FOR FAMILY HOMESTEADS?
Mini-Jersey cattle are the best breed for small family homesteads because they take up less space, eat less food, and produce a decent size quantity of milk each day. Jerseys have the highest percentage of protein and butterfat in their milk. It makes some of the most amazing (and creamy) butter, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt you will ever taste. They also have an agreeable temperament, making them easy to manage.
HOW DO YOU MILK A MINI - JERSEY?
Milking a mini-Jersey cow is not difficult when you have the right equipment. We have a very specific process we follow on our homestead. While you can certainly milk by hand, using a milking machine makes everyone’s life easier. We use the Simple Pulse Basic Milking System for our Jersey cow. If you want to give it a try, you can find instructional videos for use on the Simple Pulse website.
We always make sure our Jersey is clean before we milk her to help prevent cross-contamination. Even though we take precautions, we still send our raw milk to Udder Health Labs in Idaho for testing. After you finish milking, make sure you sterilize all your milking equipment, so it is ready for the next time.
Insider’s tip for the best milk yield: feed your mini-Jersey cow fermented barley. It is easy for them to digest and helps them break down folic acid.
FALL IN LOVE WITH MINI - JERSEY CATTLE
There is a lot to love about mini-Jersey cattle. From their doe-y eyes and their soft coats to their gentle temperament and delicious raw milk, it is hard to resist the charms of a mini-Jersey.
This article was published in jerseymilkcow.com