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Strange Jersey behavior?

Posted by asynick (My Page) on
Thu, May 1, 08 at 2:05


I got a Jersey cow about 3 weeks ago. She is pregnant, and will have her calf in about 4-5 weeks. We are going to use her as a house milk cow. She has a few behavior patterns that concern me, and as I haven't had a cow before I don't know what to make of it. Emma is generally a friendly cow. You can easily go up to her, and she likes being brushed and talked to. She is in a paddock by herself with plenty of grass, and I feed her and brush her every morning (she is fine with having her whole body brushed). However, as soon as I stop brushing her, she starts bucking and kicking, and charges towards me, and quite frankly, frightens the hell out of me. She knows the word NO, and so I always end up using this after an encounter. Is this normal behavior? This morning I didn't think I'd leave the paddock in one piece. Why is she jumping up and down after being so calm?

Thank you,

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Strange Jersey behavior?

I have been around a lot of cows, but never had one act that way. How does she act when you handle her udder? That is what is most important. Jerseys can be very temperamental and kicky. My vet once told me that the most dangerous cows were the "pets".

RE: Strange Jersey behavior?

Was she a spoiled pet before you got her? Maybe she feels that you better keep brushing and being nice to her till SHE has had enuff.

RE: Strange Jersey behavior?

She doesn't mind me touching her udder. I can brush her down to her feet, and she stays still. Someone else suggested that she might want more brushing - in which case I was wondering if she was a very dominant cow.

RE: Strange Jersey behavior?

Is this cow getting kicky after you release her or is she being brushed without being restrained? Personally, I would not be working around and on the animal, without her being haltered and tied or locked in the headgate.

Being herd animals, cows tend to be pushy to enforce their place in the herd or to gain status. She is cruising to "move up" in the herd of you and her! Acting like she is, sure gets YOU moving away.

I would move to plan B, get her firmly restrained so she is not loose, not able to swing around and kick, when you quit brushing her. Cow can't buck or leap around to scare you after YOU decide to quit brushing her. She has to be retrained to the fact that YOU are the leader, she must be obedient, well-behaved. Punished immediately for inappropriate behaviour. Cows punish each other, to prevent the pushy one from moving up in herd status. If you don't fix the problems now, she will not be able to be milked safely by you.

If you tie her, make sure the anchor location can take a big pull, without breaking. Solid post, tree, headgate around her neck, that will hold her in place even if she gets angry. Never tie to a fence rail or farm gate, they break easily if pulled hard. Then you have her tied to something that will chase her about. That teaches her bad things.

I also would encourage you to handle her udder, both sides, practice washing, drying it, so she is familiar with the process again. We used a slightly warm water, not hot or cold. You may want to use a set of cow hobbles as you get her used to being milked, prevent your getting kicked as hard.

RE: Strange Jersey behavior?

Anna, I would like to invite you to "keeping a family cow" forum, Lots of knowledgeable people there...And such a friendly bunch!

Here is a link that might be useful: KEEPING A FAMILY COW

RE: Strange Jersey behavior?

Congradulations, you have a real honest to God Jersey cow. I work with ten thousand of them in addition to the five I own. They are FULL of quirks. Smack the crap out of her if she gets out of hand, but otherwise, enjoy your Jersey. Play is the default setting for them.

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