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Best first timer breeds and why?

 
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Hello everyone! My name is Caley and my dream is to move to land, but for now am in a suburban setting. If one was to do research, both on dairy cows and beef cattle, where would you start to learn the basics about feed, maintenance and daily requirements. In your opinion:

Is beef or dairy cattle an easier starting point?
What is your favorite breed and why?
Is there a benefit to mixed breeds (half dairy and half beef)?

Would love the good, bad and ugly info. That is the best way to stay informed.
 
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Hi, Caley

Welcome to the forums!

Knowing what part of the world you live in might help with the suggestions. In Texas, you might get suggestions for Herefords or Longhorns though in Canada the suggestion might be for a Dexter

Whether to get dairy cows or beef cows also depends on your future situation. Is the cow for a homestead supplying both milk and meat? Or do you just want to fill a freezer?
 
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Hi Anne,

We currently live in Colorado, but we are looking to move to Texas/Tennessee/Carolinas/Kentucky area OR Montana/Idaho/Dakotas area. That is very up in the air because we are at least 2 years away from that dream coming to fruition.

As for the needs, we currently source our beef products from local ranchers, so we want to stick with that no matter if we raise it ourselves or we find a local rancher in our new area. I like the idea of having a family dairy cow, but am not certain that we can consume the amount of milk that is provided. Hence, the question about mixed breeds. Something that gives a decent amount of milk, but also tastes good? Is that possible and still sustainable? I also feel that my kids would get attached to a dairy cow, but if beef cattle are raised farther from the house on pasture, they wouldn't get as attached, so many that isn't a requirement I want to tackle. Would love any and all feedback. Thank you!

 
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Cows are an awesome investment. Beef cows are definitely much easier to manage than milk cows. Milk cows require a place to milk (stanchion), are more prone to health issues, and tie you down to the farm, because you have to milk everyday at a consistent time.

Depending on your families needs, you can go with a dual purpose cow.
We have a dexter family milk cow, she puts out about 1/2 gallon with each milking. right now we are milking twice a day and freezing some for when we dry her off in a month. She is awesome for us right now, until our son starts drinking more milk, then we will likely upgrade or get a second dexter. Dexters are very hardy and if you get good stock, won't have health issues. Because they aren't production milk cows, they are less prone to mastitis and it is much easier to calf share.

We also have lowline angus cows and a lowline bull, and these cows are great too (but only for meat, not milk).
 
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