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Calves

 
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When we had our homestead, my favorite animal was our cows. We never had more than three at a time.

What are some reasons someone would keep cows? Why get cows over other animals? How do you use your cows?

What are some problems with owning cows?

These are not our calves since I don't have pictures of any of them though these look a lot like the ones we had. Aren't they adorable?


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Cute calves! We have a dexter for milk cow, a lowline angus cow, and a lowline bull. we also have a yearling that we will process next year at home once he is 24 months.

So many reasons to get cows!! Especially if you are willing to milk. Biggest benefit of milking is you get a guaranteed daily harvest of 10 plus pounds of food (very dependent upon breed and feed conditions). This raw milk is so nutrient dense, does not require any refrigeration (in case of power outages, it will just turn into clabber), you can easily make yogurt and kefir which are so filled with probiotics and thus are very healing to the body. You can make cheese with a little more labor, and the ice cream is amazing!! (side note: we have found the trick to home made ice cream is to dissolve some gelatin in warm milk and add to your batter, this will thicken it during initial mixing but also keep it from freezing all the way for left overs)
With any extra milk (of which we have none) you can use to feed pigs, chickens, etc to cut feed costs or use as fertilizer on the pasture or garden. We pay for all the hay and alfalfa we have to buy for our cows mostly through our milk harvest.

Second best reason is for the quality beef. We harvest our cows at home, hang for 2 plus weeks, and end up with the best beef I’ve ever had. Steaks, roasts, ground, etc.

Lastly, properly managed cows greatly benefit the land! They produce 40 pounds of fertilizer daily, trample organic matter into the fungal duff, and when properly rotated to graze the top half of the grass, will only encourage more grass growth. We have seen amazing pasture benefits ever since we added cows to our home stead.
In my opinion, part of the proper management of cows includes getting hardy, healthy stock that do not require medication, vaccines, or dewormers. These things only kill the land’s microbiome and sick cows only eat into your profit margin (even if you are not selling product, you still have to view your homestead as a business because you are paying yourself to grow your food).

Cows are so versatile and provide great benefit to the land and my larder!!
 
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I don’t have much experience with cattle but in time they could be really helpful for swale maintenance and indeed they are very cute! Here is a pic I took off a neighbor’s newborn some weeks back:
9FBD5DA3-4310-4557-B4AB-8F4B4D875985.jpeg
Cute calve
Cute calf
 
Anne Miller
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Andres, That is a cutie!  Do you know what breed the calf is?  In my part of the world, it looks like a Brahma.
 
Andrés Bernal
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Yes! You’re correct. Little guy is a Brahman. Locally they mostly handle this one and Gyr.
 
I suggest huckleberry pie. But the only thing on the gluten free menu is this tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Manual - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/8/rmhman
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