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One dairy cow for our family?

 
Jason Koscinski
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Sorry for posting this question when most likely someone else has already asked a similiar question, I just didn't have time to search the forum for a long time....

Task: I want to add 1 cow to our little 6 acre farm for the purpose of milk. Starting small with one seems manageable.

Question: Is this a good idea?

Will one cow get depressed? We have chickens already and maybe she will like their company. Does 1 cow living alone produce the milk? or does she need a bull around to make things work? We are not interested in breeding. Just milking everyday.


Any helpful information is appreciated.
 
Rhys Firth
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You don't need your own bull, but you need access to a bull.

She would need to get pregnant and calve to produce milk, and her calf will be sufficient company, if you keep and raise the calf until she calves next year, then sell or butcher the yearling once the new calf is delivered there will always be 2 animals for companionship. Through one cow can be contented enough if there is sufficient human interaction to feel that the humans are her herd.

Just take the calf off and pen separately overnight and milk in the morning, let the calf out to feed during the day and pen it again the next night... repeat.
 
Jason Koscinski
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She would need to get pregnant and calve to produce milk


Does she need to get preganant each year? Or can we do this once and then just keep her milking? I am not sure if I am up to having a pregnant cow every year.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Yep, she'll need to get pregnant every year or so. Two at a stretch, but she'll be very low producing after the first year.

I've seen a really good book called "Keeping a Family Cow."
 
Jason Koscinski
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I've seen a really good book called "Keeping a Family Cow."


Thanks, added it to my Amazon list.


 
Kelly Smith
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Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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yes - everything you are talking about doing is possible.
actually, we started with 1 cow

things i noticed:
we were part of her hear. we were out there a few times a day and she saw us as part of her heard.
she will have to get pregnant every year if you want to milk her every year. you can use a bull, or you can see if there is anyone you can AI in your area (in our area its easier to AI than to keep a bull)
the family cow is a good book, though it is not very permie minded (i have heard the most recent release is better) -they also have a pretty helpful forum too.


we found that as our family expanded we werent able to spend as much time with the animals - so we decided to get her some [cow] friends.

are you stuck on cows? seems for your purposes, a goat or two might be a better choice (easier to handle/less milk/companionship)

just trying to help.
 
Jason Koscinski
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are you stuck on cows? seems for your purposes, a goat or two might be a better choice (easier to handle/less milk/companionship)


Actually no. I began with considering getting goats. Everyone I have talked to (as in person) has discouraged me for different reasons. So I am investigating what it takes to have a cow. I do suspect that goats might be easier and with having 4 kids of our own, more enjoyable for the whole family.

I guess I need to try some goat milk to see if we like the taste, I can't say that I have tried it other than in goat cheese.
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