“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 is the iconic family milk cow.
Our cows come from an organic background and generations of grazing (we do supplement with kelp and other natural minerals and vitamins). Calves are raised on real milk for at least 6 months for a well-developed rumen, immune system, and future fertility. We allowed two calves that stayed here on our homestead to nurse until they were 15 months old, one the cow weaned on her own, and we assisted with weaning the bull calf.
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 producing 3 or 4 gallons. She provides plenty of milk for a family and doesn’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 25% more efficient in terms of feed conversion than their full size counterparts. About 1/3 the feed of a standard cow is typical which means you get to buy and haul less hay.
- Smaller size is easier for women and families with children, and they’re less intimidating to handle. Historically, a woman was almost always the keeper of the family cow and a smaller Jersey makes this very doable!
- Better for soil health: A smaller body size is easier on the pasture and doesn’t compact soil as much. A miniature Jersey cow typically weights 500-700 pounds (vs. 1500-1800 for a full sized Jersey).
- Simple shelter is sufficient: A shed is sufficient for shelter, you don’t have to have a cattle barn. Shelter is necessary for freezing rain but not otherwise. 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 different from zone 6a.)
- Easier to keep a pair or herd: Cattle are herd animals and will thrive in a pair or small herd rather than kept as a single milk cow. Size makes it easier to maintain a small herd on less land and natural breeding is doable (in our experience mini Jersey bulls are not aggressive).
- Less water is needed. Each of our cows typically drinks between 5 and 10 gallons of water per day. We like this because we can use large stainless steel pots and avoid the chemicals of a coated trough most of the time. This does not work with bulls however, as they often tip the pots over.
- Wonderful mothers: Typically no assistance is needed with calving and mini Jerseys have wonderful mothering instincts.
You might also be interested in…
- What is A2 Milk and Why Does it Matter?
- Our Cows
- Our Bulls
- Available Jersey Cattle
- Family Milk Cow Posts
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.