“Miniature” Jersey Dairy Cattle are wonderful once a day family milk cows who provide nourishing food for the whole homestead
Nothing makes a homestead feel complete like a family milk cow. She is beautiful, friendly and calming to be around. She anchors the daily rhythm of food production, providing a grounding point that your day revolves around in the most beautiful way. She gives you a feeling of purpose and fulfillment, and your relationship and bond with her are unmatched by any other livestock. She raises her calf on her milk and contributes to feeding the family as well as most of the other animals on the homestead with one of the most nourishing foods in existence.
Known and loved for the rich butterfat milk they produce as well as their beauty, the Jersey breed was developed on the Isle of Jersey in relative isolation from other cattle breeds. Jersey’s are one of the oldest dairy breeds, with pure bloodlines tracing back to almost 600 years.
All of our cows come from an organic background and generations of grazing (we do supplement with kelp and other natural minerals and vitamins). All are raised on real milk for at least 6 months for a well-developed rumen, immune system, and future fertility.
Benefits of adding a “Miniature” Jersey Milk Cow to your homestead:
- A good miniature Jersey is worth the investment! They are a beautiful breed adored by many with coveted A2/A2, high butterfat milk. (Note: not all herds are A2/A2 but testing can be done on each cow to confirm her status).
- Once a day milking. A smaller cow won’t overwhelm you with anywhere from 5 to as much as 13 gallons of milk per day – but you won’t run out, either. A mini cow will typically give you 1-2 gallons per day, with some giving more. They provide plenty of milk for a family and don’t require grain to produce it. In fact we recommend you don’t feed grain to get more milk. Quality over quantity!
- Less pasture/hay needed: Even being grass-fed only mini Jerseys maintain their condition and are cattle are 25% more efficient in terms of feed conversion than their larger counterparts. About 1/3 the feed of a standard cow is typical which means less hay to make or buy and haul for you.
- Smaller size is easier for families with children, they’re less intimidating to handle.
- Easier on the pasture: a smaller body size (500-700 pounds vs. 1500-1800) doesn’t compact soil as much.
- A shed is sufficient for shelter, don’t have to have a barn. Shelter is needed for freezing rain but not otherwise (including all seasons). Your cow will enjoy shade in the summer but it’s not required with the light colored coat. (Check your local climate if it’s very different from zone 6a.)
- Cattle are herd animals and will thrive better in a pair or small herd rather than kept as a single milk cow. Size makes it easier to maintain a small herd and natural breeding is doable (in our experience mini Jersey bulls are not aggressive like modern bred-up sized bulls).
- Less water is needed. We find an 82 quart stock pot lasts 24 hours for at least 2 cows. We like this because we can use stainless steel and avoid the chemicals of the coated troughs.
- Typically no assistance is needed with calving, mini Jerseys have wonderful mothering instincts.
Want to learn more?
We cover all the details of the Once a Day Family Milk Cows including choosing your cow, getting her home, feeding, fencing, milking, natural remedies and more in the Holistic Homestead Course.