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Tell me about the cost of milk cows

803 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  UlrikeDG
... or goats or sheep.

I'm dreaming big here! I would love for someday to be able to have our own milk cow and though it's a long way away, I just want to know what i'll be in for. So what does a cow take interms of time for milking? I know it's several times a day, but how long does a session last? And how much space does a cow need? What does feed cost? What about other medical needs? Cow housing? Anything special other than a bucket as far as storage needed?

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We've had several threads on this recently if you want to try the search feature. Basically it varies with each species and depends on what region you are in, what housing and equipment (fences, barns, etc.) you already have, etc. Cows are the most expensive- biggest, eat more, poop more, make more milk. Sheep and goats are smaller, eat less and different things, harder to fence.

For cows a great place is the Family Cow Message Boards
Uh... not really. Ruminants (especially goats and sheep) can easily graze land that's not arable; furthermore, it takes a heck of a lot less human intervention per calorie produced to raise animals than vegetables. You could fit several goats on a quarter acre. They wouldn't require nearly as much effort as an entire quarter acre of gardens. And you'd get a heck of a lot more calories out of them, not to mention milk (and potentially meat) in the cold months when, depending on your climate, you might be lucky to get anything except kale from a vegetable garden. Humans didn't domesticate animals because of some misguided desire to enslave animals, then invent uses for them later. They did it because of inherent efficiencies. You may argue that those efficiencies aren't needed, but that's an argument for the vegetarian forum. Personally, I find such arguements to be specious. To pretend that the entire world is suitable for row crops just because you live on a lovely quarter acre is self-deceiving.
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Here is an aweesom blog about a family that is homesteading in Canada...she talks about her (newly) boughten cow and what shes been making with the milk shes getting by hand...
I hand milked a lovely Jersey cow (Penny) for 3 years. We had 5 acres then moved to 3, both were fine as long as I rotated pastures. I bought & sold her for $800.00. I had to supplement her with alfalfa in the winter, which can be spendy. It was definately an experience worth having, raw milk is so wonderful, hand churned butter & ice cream ahhh... memories. I began to feel too tied down by having to milk twice everyday though and our journey came to an end. If you have specific questions, let me know.

Mom to 3 homebirthed boys 16, 13 & 10
Forgive me for jumping in, I usually just lurk on here and learn.....

What did you do for breeding? Did you have a vet come and AI her or did you actually haul to a bull? How did you market the calves-meaning, did you look for bull that typically threw heifers for resale? Did you just fatten and slaughter the steers? (how'd that work?) Also, did you worry about worming or vaccinating? What about company for the cow? (They are a herd animal, after all.) How did you handle the calves needs for milk vs. getting enough for your family? Did you block the calves away for the night and milk in the morning, or?

Just wondering about the practical side of things...I'm there are more things that I'm wondering about that I haven't thought of yet...

I grew up on a cattle ranch, so I'm familiar with raising cows on a "large" scale (
for us anyway. I think the most we ever had was 35 brood cows!), but not until recently did I ever consider having a dairy cow. It's not a possibility for a few more years, but eventually, I'd like to have cows again. DH is dragging his feet-well, resisting more than that, actually, but I'm still hopeful.
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I have been out of town, sorry this took so long. I milked her for over a year before I decided I should breed her. There was a guy across the road with an Angus Bull sooo... one morning when she was crying up a storm, pacing the fence I put her in the pasture with the bull. Amazingly enough it worked!

She calved easily, I let her keep her calf and only milked her once a day. I was way too soft hearted and couldn't handle separating them. When we decided to sell Penny we took her offspring to a friends 50 acres to live with her cows so she wouldn't be lonely. We just recently butchered after 2 years on pasture.

I had her checked every year for Brucellious??, she was always clear. Otherwise I treated her with homeopathics when she had mastitis once.
As far as being lonely she always had a horse in an adjoining field or her calf.

Hmmm... did I forget anything?

Many Blessings,
Mom to 3 homebirthed boys 16,13 &10
We traded our colt for a mature but unbred jersey cow that a friends daughter had raised as a 4h project. I think we got the better end of the deal out of it myself. We had bought the colt for 300 dollars. We also bred her with a neighbors angus bull when she came in eventually sold her calf once it was weaned. The breeding was pretty cheap from what I remember, this was years ago. We have sadly since moved to the city.

As far as company, she shared pasture with our horses and once in awhile the goats were also out there, although tey usually were in their own area. She got along find with the horses and goats.
My local paper recently had an article about minicow farmers. They're still quite large (200 lb or more), but significantly smaller than your average cow.
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