3 Ways We Are Prioritising Our Cow Welfare

The thought of milking cows outside and keeping the herd outside for most or all of the year is not new. Reading about Arthur Hosier still resonates with us when we think about what we want for our cows. He was doing this method back in 1922. You can read more about his story here.

Feet

We are in a similar situation. Without many buildings at our disposal, we will be taking a mobile milking unit to the cows in the field where they graze rather than bringing them into a parlour to be milked before being taken back out again. This is not only more cost and time effective for us, it is also far better for the cows wellbeing. Their feet can become damaged from walking on uneven, rough terrain tracks.

By keeping the cows in the fields, the added bonus is they will spread their own manure onto the land rather than us bringing it back to the farm to be stored as slurry.

Stress

By keeping our cows in the field and not constantly moving them to be milked, will result in calm and happy cows. They won’t be stressed from being constantly walked up and down tracks and into barns.

We will also be taking the ‘calf at foot’ approach. This means we will be keeping calves with their mothers until they are ready to wean naturally in contrast to conventional dairying where the calf is separated from the cow within a few days of birth. This results in a healthier calf as well as better wellbeing for mum as she is benefits from the close bonding experience with her calf.

Disease & Infection

By milking outside the sanitary conditions are better, mean not only cleaner milk but less disease as well as less infections such as those which affect the udders like mastitis.

We also hope to suffer with less scour in our calves due to the natural conditions of life in the field and being kept with their mother.

Even Tuberculosis, known as the worst enemy of milk producers, can be reduced in this way. The unnatural conditions of keeping cows in warm housing, congregated together, the mud in wet weather and the dust in dry weather are all contributing factors resulting in TB. This can be devastating to a herd and the farmer who has raised them. By reducing these factors and keeping the cows in the field where they have plenty of space, we hope to help prevent TB outbreaks within our herd. (Wishful thinking as keeping TB a bay is a hard one but we are going to try our hardest!)

To Summarise

  • Healthy Feet – We will be milking our cows in the field rather than walking them down tracks which damage their feet
  • Less Stress – We are keeping ‘Calf at foot’ resulting in happy, calm cows and calves whilst being kept in natural conditions in the pastures
  • Reduced Disease – Keeping cows outdoors providing cleaner and better sanitary conditions meaning less spread of infectious diseases

Our Goal

We aim to implement all of the above measures to not only keep happy and healthy cows but to also provide great and sustainable milk to our community!

Our cows will spend the majority of the year outside enjoying the grass in the fields and spend the harshest months in our barn but we are hoping to eventually acquire more land with areas of gorse scrubland which can provide shelter from the elements for the cows all year round!

We would love to hear of any Shropshire farmers with any suitable land to help us implement the ‘all year round’ approach then please do reach out to us!

Transforming an exhibition trailer into a mobile pasteurising unit!

One of the driving factors for creating our micro dairy is to show that small scale farming can be sustainable and environmentally conscious as well as being successful.

One way we want to achieve this is through leaving as little impact on the land as possible. We will be milking our cows out in the field with a mobile milking unit. This is not only less stress on the cows but it also means we won’t need to build a permanently fixed milking parlour.

We have also chosen to process, pasteurise and bottle our milk in a mobile unit rather than a fixed building. We have been searching for weeks for the perfect way to achieve this, from shipping containers on trailers to fast food trailers! Until we stumbled across this old exhibition trailer!

It needs a lot of work but we think it’s going to be perfect for what we need! It’s a great size and already has a sink area for cleaning, washing and bottling. There is plenty of room for our pasteuriser and cooling tank, as well as room to expand into other products. And the best part is it is mobile!

New specialist flooring, some plumbing and electrical work are first on the agenda. We are having to stick to strict recommendations from the Environmental Health Officer, to be as hygienic and as safe as possible.

Our pasteurising equipment is due to arrive in a few weeks time so it’s all hands on deck! We will keep you updated on our progress, pictures to follow!

The Just Jerseys Team

Doing It The Victorian Way

Just Jersey’s vision has always been to be a sustainable farming enterprise with animal welfare and the environment at the forefront of our decisions.

Keeping the cows out at pasture, keeping calves with mum, no slurry carting and of course saying no to plastic. We will be using glass bottles only!

Our decision for glass bottles began when watching a David Attenborough documentary highlighting the environmental catasprophe that plastic has produced.

We decided that if we were going to banish plastic milk containers then why not move away from plastic cream containers, ice cream pots and butter tubs?

But what can we replace them with?

The answer came when we were out with our little boy, spending time as a family doing his favourite hobby. Victorian Bottle Digging!

Whilst digging we found the most beautiful stoneware cream pots, which gave us inspiration!

Stoneware keeps it’s contents cold and can usually be put through the dishwasher so it’s hygienic and easy to clean. Stoneware is making it’s way back into interior fashion, with many people now swapping to stoneware dinner sets.

It’s also a little way of going back in time! Wouldn’t the Victorians be proud?!

So we are toying with the idea of finding a local stoneware company who could produce suitable pots for our ice cream, butter and cream. Would customers be willing to pay for their initial ‘pot’ and then bring it back for refilling?

With such an awareness to move away from plastics and many ‘zero waste’ shops popping up, We think they would!

Stay tuned and watch this space!

Mick

Renovating Our Traditional Milking Bail

We recently purchased Milking Bail from a local Estate Agent who contacted us after he pulled it from a hedge on a local farm.

For scrap value, we thought it would be a fantastic project to bring an old (and rare!) piece of history back to life and it really fits into our vision of traditional, low-impact farming. We intend to milk the cows outside for as long as we can throughout the year.

The story of this fantastic relic began in 1922 when a dairy farmer called Arthur Hosier invented The Milking Bail. This was around the time of the depression, when farmers were struggling alongside the country as a whole. The idea was to take the milking parlour straight to the cows in the fields!

Arthur started milking his herd on the Wiltshire downs, where the ground is chalky with shallow soil depth. This meant great drainage in bad weather and enabled Arthur to keep his cows outside for 12 months of the year.

We thought yes, why not! It’s far better for the cows as there is no walking them up and down tracks, which is notoriously bad for their feet. The cows will also spread their own manure across the pasture, great for the soil and we won’t have a need for a carting trailer.

We hope this will make for healthier cows, less mastitis and other disease meaning lower labour and veterinary costs without compromising the Herds health.

The Milk Bail needs a lot of work, welding and a paint job but we can see the potential!

It’s going to be very interesting once we have restored the old bail and start using it after all of the years it has laid forgotten about in that hedge! Our Shropshire land seems to hold a lot more water on the surface than the Arthur’s Wilshire Downs, so it may be quite a challenge but we are determined to incorporate this lost piece of history into our Micro Dairy!

More pictures to follow as we begin the restoration!

What’s so special about Jersey Milk?

It’s a Milk like no other!

Milk from Jersey cows has a higher protein content and is naturally higher in nutrients and vitamins. It’s rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iodine and vitamins A, B, D and E. On average, Jersey milk has 20% more calcium and 18% more protein than most other milks.

Jersey milk is even often better tolerated by those who are lactose intolerant because it mostly contains ‘A2’ protein which is easier on our digestive system.

With a reputation for being super creamy and flavoursome, Jersey Milk tastes amazing in ice cream, porridge, baking and is delicious stirred into a cup of coffee!

Our Vision!

Just Jerseys Micro Dairy is small scale family farming of yesteryear. Using traditional low input farming methods as well as being Environmentally conscious, we strive to support the local community with our herd of 10+ Pedigree Jersey Cows.

Our herd are free ranging and will be grass fed in spring & summer and hay in winter. Helping lower our carbon footprint is key. Our girls will have ‘Calf at Foot’ meaning our calves stay with their mum, this causes less stress on mum and baby. This has also been found to reduce mortality rates as well as improving the health and immune systems of young calves.

The girls are milked twice a day using a Mobile Milking Machine in the field where they graze and pasteurised using our Mobile Micro Dairy.

We will be providing a delivery service offering both Raw Milk and Pasteurised Milk, as well as placing a Vending Machine conveniently situated at the local village hall for you to ‘drop’ by. The milk will be available in environmentally friendly glass bottles, you will pour your own milk into your bottle from the vending machine or even bring your own jug! We will also be providing Just Jerseys Milkshakes from our Moo-shake bar, available at the vending machine area.

We are very excited for this new adventure and we can’t wait to share it with our local community! If you have any questions then please do get in touch!