Sometimes it's better to just keep one's mouth closed. But then again, sometimes it's just impossible to do so! Well, I am finding myself at that point where I must open my mouth and again try to educate folks on the things I have learned the hard way in the "world" of Miniature Jerseys.
When I bought my first Mini Jerseys I was in love. In case you didn't know, that old cliche' "Love is blind" not only holds true for human love but includes love of animals as well. I had stars in my eyes and was so thrilled to have finally found my girls that I between ignoring the obvious and being totally uneducated, I made mistakes. In other areas, I was very fortunate but it was in spite of my lack of expertise in Miniature Jerseys. I have tried over the years as I have learned more about the Minis to educate those who are interested in listening. I find all too often that folks really are not interested in finding out the facts. Mistakes continue to be made on the part of the buyer. Sometimes, these very same buyers propagate these same mistakes when they are selling because they still don't know any better. Thus, folks are buying and selling cows without really knowing what they have. I still don't consider myself an expert on the subject of Miniature Jerseys, but I am willing to share what I have learned, even at the risk that some of the other breeders won't appreciate my sharing.
In addition to a lack of knowledge, there is the issue of breeders who are nothing more than money hungry cattle traders with no respect for the well being of the animals they are raising and/or selling. Within the past two weeks, I have spent several hours on the phone with two different individuals regarding two different breeders in two different states who are not only allegedly taking advantage of buyers, but are allegedly abusing and neglecting the animals in their care. While I will not slander other breeders, I do want to caution folks that you need to talk to other people who have bought from a particular breeder. In addition,if at all possible, you need to view the animal and the farm before agreeing to purchase. This is particularly difficult because Mini Jerseys are hard to find and most folks have to travel some distance in order to make a purchase. One solution to this is to call an independent vet to go and look at the animals for sale. While this is an added expense, it makes sense to spend another $40 to insure you are getting what you are paying for, especially when folks are paying the price tag of a miniature Jersey.
Complaints about paperwork are another big issue in the Mini world. There are two registries and I do not condone or condemn either registry. There are good folks who are members of both registries and there are dishonest folks in each. There is a lot of political gossip and dissention between the two groups. I make a point of not joining either side in these discussions. You will not find me hanging out on the Mini Jersey Yahoo groups because I refuse to get caught up in the politics. My thought is that as long as I am producing a solid, healthy animal and representing them correctly, then I don't need to get involved in the arguments.
On the subject of paperwork, be sure that you are going to be able to get the paperwork that has been promised to you. In order to do this, you need to email the registries and at the very least have email confirmation that the registration is able to be transferred to your name from the seller. If there is a third party involved, all I can say is buyer beware. Getting that many people (you, the registrar, the seller, and the original owner) all on the same page can be a buyers nightmare. When you call the registry or email them to discuss the animal you are considering purchasing, ask if the animal is a percentage animal in the up-breeding program, a native pure or a foundation pure. There is not a thing wrong with any of these designations but the price should be in accordance with the type of animal you are purchasing. You as a buyer need to be aware of what you are actually getting. I have explained the differences in the question and answer section of my blog.
One more rant and I will put an end to this post. ;-) Please don't be so taken with a cute face and short legs that you totally disregard conformation and a decent udder. If these things are important for a standard size cow, they are equally if not more important for a miniature size cow. That is not to say that Minis that are "less than perfect" should not be sold but rather, in my opinion, the price tag should reflect these issues just as they would in standard cattle. A substandard cow is a substandard cow whether they are miniature or full size.
Check out the new pages on the my sidebar for more information on Miniature Jerseys and breeding programs. There is a lot of mis-information out there and a lot of folks who just are not sharing the information they do know with others in an attempt to deceive folks into paying more money for animals than they are worth.
I love my Minis and I am very thankful to be a part of this breeding program. I hope that with time my business practices and attempts at presenting these animals with honesty will promote not only my own business, but other honest breeders as well.