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Cost of a Family Cow?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi! I don't know if this is the correct place for this, but I'll just ask anyway
My husband and I are looking into buying a piece of property with 40 acres, and it has an old cow barn and corrals. I've always had a "little house on the prarie" kind of dream where I"d have either a couple of cows or goats for milk. I will be having chickens as well, but I know about them I was just wondering how much it would cost to have the cow?
How much can you buy her for?
If you buy her pg or before when she is not milking, how much would that be?
I've heard that you can grow sugar beets to get her through winter, anyone done that? What I read said to wash and slice them first, um, I wonder if that is really necessary? :LOL
That's all I can think of right now, thanks!
post #2 of 14
We are planning on buying a dexter heifer next spring. The ones we are looking at are $800. If you could find someone that would sell you a bred heifer or cow it would almost certainly be in the thousands.
Goats are a good option too a bred doe would be around $300, unbred about $200. If you raised a kid it could be less than $100
I hope this helps
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yeah, that does help. thanks. Those buggers are expencive! Thank you!Cara
post #4 of 14
Is it worth the cost of buying/owning a cow just for dairy for 1 family? Or does it only pay off to sell dairy or use the cow for meat?
post #5 of 14
The cost of a bred heifer or older cow in Oklahoma is around $800-$950. The price for a gallon of milk here is more than 3.50 per gallon and is 4.00 some weeks. If your family drinks/uses 3 gallons per week (my family uses at least 4), the cost for milk per year is $624. The milk produced by a family cow can also be used to make homemade ice cream, butter or cheese which would also decrease a food bill. Selling the calf will also bring in a profit of 1.30/lb or more depending on where you live.
My husband and I raise cattle. In the winter, we feed our stock cubes (from the feed store) and hay which we cut on our property. We leave out salt and minerals year round. If I were putting cattle on a 40 acre spread, I would purchase 2-3. The cost of feeding them will not be much higher and your profit margin will increase.
HTH
Amanda
post #6 of 14
If you are not planning to eat the animals, you may be able to adopt them from a farm sanctuary near you for much less than that. I don't know what their policies are on milking but it is DEFINITELY worth looking up. You can start at www.farmsanctuary.org which has links to other sanctuaries if you don't live in CA or NY (where their two farms are). These places rescue abandoned, mistreated, etc. animals and find them homes. The adoption fees help pay for the upkeep of the sanctuary and the animals there. But it is much less than the cost of a new animal, plus it helps find a home for an animal that has had a hard life. They have all ages and types.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey, I just checked back in here. Thanks for the info. We only drink 3 gallons of milk a month, but that is cuz it's so darned expencive! I'm sure if it was available it would be used! Yummy homemade icecream too

I really do think that it will be worth the cost. Just figuring out how to come up with the initial money for the cow is where we can start. Maybe next year...

Thanks!
Cara
post #8 of 14
One thing to consider (from my experience of growing up on a diary farm- my parents still farm)- is that when your cow(s) are milking, you need to be home morning and night to milk. You are very limited in going anywhere overnight unless you have someone to do your milking.

Good luck! Dairy cows are beautiful and very smart (most of them).
post #9 of 14
Hope I'm not hijacking this thread, but does anyone have similar info/experience with mini breeds?
post #10 of 14
INCA Community Services has a Rent A cow project in some areas that provides a cow for free for the first year, you are able to keep the calves that are born that year and could sell a steer in order to buy a bred heifer.
What area are you in?
Amanda
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaMonica
One thing to consider (from my experience of growing up on a diary farm- my parents still farm)- is that when your cow(s) are milking, you need to be home morning and night to milk. You are very limited in going anywhere overnight unless you have someone to do your milking.
Yes, I second this. I grew up on a dairy farm, too.

That means no vacations ever without hiring someone (knowledgeable) to come milk. No sleeping in ever, even if you're sick. No going out in the evening until after the milking is done. It means milking in the morning every single day before school/work/church/errands/whatever. We never had a vacation of more than 2 days the entire time I was growing up until we sold the cows. Now my parents go away on weekends as often as possible!

I'm not trying to be discouraging, and it would be great to have your own cow for milk, just make sure you know what is involved and be ready for the commitment. And find somebody who knows how and is willing to come milk your cow in an emergency!
post #12 of 14
My SIL & BIL are friends with a family who farms & has dairy cattle (one or two, I think). SIL & BIL help them out in exchange for milk, eggs, etc. and have taken over milking when the family vacations. You might be able to work out something similar.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
thanks for the advice about milking. I've heard that it is possible to milk a cow just once a day and get less production, that is what I had planned on doing. We are total hermits, so going away doesn't look like it will be a huge issue!

I've thought about starting out with a goat. The rent a cow thing sounds like it might be interesting also. We're in Montana, near Billings.

Thanks
Cara
post #14 of 14
We keeps goats - and got them with the idea of transitioning to a cow if and when we decide we're ready for the increase in milk and the increased cost/committment (our family is still goat sized, we feel like!). I'd say get yourself a dairy goat or two - we like to keep two does, with one always milking....they are easier to buy and sell then cows often, so if you deicde to move up to a family cow, it shouldn't be hard to sell off your goats if you need to.
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