Tiger Lily (Mark calls her) or Striped Cow (as Frank dubbed her) is the newest member of the milking line-up. She joined us in December as a “commercial dairy rescue.”
She was for sale from the dairy because she has an udder irregularity. One of her back quarters (an udder has four “quarters”, each with its respective teat) makes milk fairly well but has a tipped teat, making it a little harder to milk her all the way out and thus less efficient. She works fine in our small system, though. She has a pleasant, though not overly friendly, personality and is easy to work with.
You might notice her unique markings. Tiger Lily is a Swedish Red and White cow. This is a unique and somewhat rare breed. It’s fairly new, the result of crossing the English Shorthorn breed with the Ayershire breed. There are a couple more lesser known Swedish breeds mixed in for good measure. The resulting cows are known for their udder health, hardiness, longevity, fertility, and calving ease. They are dual purpose kind of cows, meaning they have a heavier body but also give plenty of milk. Here in the U.S. they primarily get used to bring their good qualtities to commercial Holstein herds. Since they are know to have lower cell counts (a measure of udder health) and higher butter fat, it’s a welcome improvement in the commercial system.
What all that means for your dairy cow herd (if you’re a herd share member) is that Striped Cow/Tiger Lily is a healthy cow who gives plenty of rich milk and should be around for a long time.