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milking cow logistics?

840 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Hedgehog Mtn
I still have my eyes set on a Jersey cow, and we're working toward that goal, but I want to make sure I have everything ready when she gets here. She'll probably arrive between mid-October & end of November. I'm trying to find a local seller. We don't have a livestock trailer. Will people typically deliver?

My dh just built a lean-to for our future cow between two other storage buildings. My plan was to build the two missing walls out of stacked hay bales. How many square hay bales will she eat each week? My thinking was that she could eat away at her walls so that by the time Spring was arriving, the walls wouldn't be as thick, just in time for green pasture. Is that a crazy idea?

How about a fence? Would a moveable fence be that much more expensive than a stationary one? I'd love to try Joel Salatin's rotational system with our chix following the cow.

And how about milking equipment? I won't be pasteurizing, but I'll want whatever I'll need for catching, filtering & storing the milk ready when she gets here. What size pails should I buy?

Anything else I'll need?

TIA for any experience you can share!

(book suggestions also very welcome!)
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I wouldn't build her walls out of hay. If she eats from the bottom up, they can fall on her and her calf, resulting in a dead calf. Not to mention, you want her to have fresh clean hay, and if she poos on it (she will) or pees with her rear facing it... ick, no. And then the waste as she plays around with it.

People typically deliver, for a charge.

Hot wire is a great thing for movable fencing; relatively cheap, helps keep dogs and the like out and your animals in.

What are you going to do with all that milk? *asks the woman who unashamedly favors goats about a million times over a big messy nasty pooping machine COW, lol*
I should've been more clear on the hay. I was going to build the walls out of the hay to solve the storage issue and the insulation issue in one. But I was going to cover the hay with a tarp on both sides to protect it from the weather and possibly from her. I'd feed it to her, top down, outside in until it was gone, not let her have at it on her own. Sorry! Maybe it's still a bad plan.

I don't really want a goat. We all prefer cow's milk, although raw goat's milk is OK. DH wants to make cheese & I like to ferment milk into yogurt, kefir, etc. I also have a group of weston a. price friends and extra milk would be a trading commodity after i'm comfortable with it. for their *PETS* of course.
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A lot of people will deliver for a fee. We had one cow transported over a relatively good distance for so many cents a mile, another was delivered from a shorter distance for $50.

When we buy hay (we usually buy round bales but oftentimes have a supply of square on hand as well) we estimate giving each cow between 1/2 bale to 1 bale per day. You have to figure that they need around 5% of their body weight per day in roughage and in the winter that will have to be entirely hay.

I agree that hot wire would be probably the most economical and easy way to use portable fencing. Cattle panels are nice as well but they are really pricey (around $23 each and it would take a LOT of them for a cow).

For milking I would buy a stainless steel bucket--one that holds a couple of gallons would do. You might want to buy a stainless steel strainer and filters. Mine is from Hoegger Goat Supply and I actually bought it for goats but it works well for the cow's milk as well.
A great book is Keeping A Family Cow by Joann Grohman, you can buy it directly from the author at , it will answer most questions. Also, check out the discussion forum at that link, there are many helpful and knowledgeable people there who love to answer cow questions.

I wouldn't try to store hay anywhere the cow could reach it, even if there's a tarp over it. She'll most likely fiddle with that tarp until she rips it or pulls it down, and then have her way with the hay.
The seller of my Jerseys let us borrow his trailer since we already had a truck but the local butcher has one he loans out to people to haul animals to him....he would let me get a cow with it if I offered him some cash. Maybe check any neighbors with large animals. Most people I know have trailers that sit most of the time so they jump at the chance to make a little cash off them.

I use a stainless bucket and cotton "tea cloths" for straining. I don't want to go through all that waste of filters so I set the tea cloth (think muslin cloth or anything similar) to boil when I go out to milk I carry a bucket with clothes and wash water in it and my pail. I wash, milk and then strain in the house. I strain into 1/2 gal mason jars and that is pretty much all I've ever used to milk.....very low tech and cost efficient here :)

Not sure where you live (forgot to check) but if you are in the northeast hay will likely go very high this winter....I would store in a building if you can. In my experience hay stored under tarps or in 3 sided buildings has a larger loss of quality. If snow or rain blows in and ruins some of the bale the cows tend to pick over that part (well the ones I grew up with and my own do anyways). If you have cheaper hay than we do that would be less of an issue.


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