It is hard to milk a cow you can’t catch. For this reason, we at Mini Miracles Farm work hard to train our miniature Jersey heifers. We have found that it’s never too early to begin training your heifer (or bull calf for that matter). By the time our mini Jerseys are 2 weeks old, they have learned to wear a halter and lead around the yard. Since we bottle feed our calves, they also come running to us which is really great when they’re old enough to turn out in a larger pasture – it saves us from having to go catch them!
By the time our calves are a month old they’ve learned to stand for brushing, load into the milking stanchion (note Melody in the picture above), lift their feet to be trimmed if necessary, and they enjoy human contact and companionship. They also are trained to load in a trailer with and without a ramp so trailering your mini Jersey is easy and much less stressful.
All of the training we put into our calves results in future milk cows that are calm and enjoy the milking process. We want to reduce the possibility of problems that may occur at your heifer’s first freshening as they become mothers for the first time and then need to be milked. Our cows depend on us and know they can trust us so that we can attend the birth of their calves without stress to the cow and calf. This is tremendously important in the unlikely event that assistance is needed during delivery.
The same care is taken to train our bull calves as is taken to train the heifers. If a bull isn’t trained to lead and respect people, it is difficult to deal with him. It’s much easier to gain his respect early in life and he matures with a willing attitude toward his owners. We train our bull calves to tolerate a stanchion as well so that they get used to being confined – it helps them accept a head gate for vaccinations later in life, or as needed for veterinary procedures.
All of this training takes time, but we believe that it is vitally important to the enjoyment you will have with your mini Jersey.
We hope you had a blessed Christmas and are looking forward to a wonderful New Year.