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"Bringing the family cow back from extinction"
The cow is of the bovine ilk;
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Ogden Nash, 1930
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Joy and Robert
High up, nestled in the beautiful green Rocky Mountains with snowy peaks at 8,000 ft, Robert and Joy are homesteading on five acres.

Robert - an electro-mechanical designer - left his job in Los Angeles and settled in Questa, NM. He worked hard as a young man to learn as much as he could about nature, the environment and living 100% off the grid.

He helped many ranchers with their animals before he had his own. Now, most of his time is spent taking care of their farm. He works as a mechanic at home and in the winter he likes to work in his forge with wrought iron. He loves his Jersey cows and the heifers.

Joy was raised on a farm and knew how to hand milk at an early age. Since, she has worked as a nurse's aide and physical therapist in hospitals, nursing homes and hospice. She now works as a massage therapist when not taking care of the dairy products.

Robert and Joy were married in 1995 and their goal has always been working towards good health. After discovering the importance of natural foods to maintain good health, they decided to buy a dairy cow. Knowing Jerseys were the highest in fats and proteins in the milk, they decided it had to be a Jersey cow.

And so the dairy adventure began. In February 2005, Bonnie came to Questa. A beautiful golden blonde Jersey cow with gazelle stripes down her face - and scared to death. They found that it takes quite a bit more than just knowing how to hand milk to take care of a dairy cow.

Since they were unable to locate family cows on the internet, they bought Bonnie from a dairyman in Southern NM. The dairyman, David, is now like a family member to them. He taught them about the things they didn't know about dairy cows.

A few months after Bonnie came, David called them with a rescue cow. He didn't have the time to fix her up, so Robert and Joy took her in. These cows are called "Cull cows" - they go to the butcher if the dairyman doesn't find a home for them. This is how Robert and Joy learned so much in a short time.

As the herd grew, the milk supply became enormous and they didn't have enough friends, neighbors or calves to use the milk. They couldn't keep all of the cows.

Handmilking.com was created by Roberts father, Charles Smith, a programmer and web master. The website was a hit, but now they didn't have enough rescue cows to meet the demand, so they talked to David and made arrangements to buy young Jersey and Jersey Crosses from him to train and sell as hand milking family cows.

All of the dairy cows that come from the dairyman are wild - they have never been touched. When they hear a human voice they move the other way. Robert herds them into the milk shed and Joy hand milks them or uses the Ultimate EZ milker, whichever Joy decides is the method that will work for the cow initially.

How soon the cow goes to her new home partly depends on how much experience the new owners have. Joy and Robert are flexible and happy to train everyone involved. It is required that all families come to visit and milk their cow before they take her home. The love and attention the cows get and give is amazing.

David our dairyman friend has retired. He will be missed. We still stay in touch and he is always available to us if we need help. Learning about Dairy cows never ends and there is never a stupid question. Now all of our Dairy cows for sale are from our own heifers..

Robert and Joy give hands on workshops as a group or privately. Success for the family and the cow are what they strive for. Robert says "we are bringing the family cow back from extinction."

For more information
Five Nine Heifer Farm: HC 81-658, Questa, NM 87556 | 575-586-1176
Copyright 2006-2013 by Five Nine Heifer Farm - All Rights Reserved