how much milk does a cow produce? So you’ve decided to get a family cow. You’ve probably come up with a number of good reasons: fresh milk, for example. 10 months of the year, huge amounts of cream, pleasant times in the barn while milking and watching the world go by… The list goes on and on.
However, there are also other factors to consider. Milking, feeding, pasturing, filtering and cooling your milk, washing utensils, cleaning the barn (and removing manure,) grooming the cow, hand-watering it, and raising a calf are all tasks that must be completed. A family cow is an excellent resource to have on your homestead, but it requires a lot of work. Everything you need to know about raising a family cow is summarized below.
The amount of milk you desire each day and the size of cow you want are the two most important elements to consider when selecting a breed for your family cow. Larger cows use more food, necessitating larger, more robust quarters. Many people pick a Jersey cow, which resembles a large deer. They are the smallest (average 800 pounds) and produce the most butterfat-rich milk among the major dairy breeds, which are two highly desirable traits.
Remember that 1 quart of cream takes 10 quarts of milk to make, and a quart of cream only yields a pound of butter or 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream. Jersey cows can generate up to 6 gallons of 5% butterfat milk per day. This is a high-yielding variety.
What breed to buy
You’ll most likely purchase a cow that has been culled from the herd for giving less milk, which is fine. You wouldn’t be able to drink 6 gallons of milk every day, therefore a productive cow would be considerably more costly.
Selecting a major breed simplifies your search and may provide you with additional options. It will take a little more effort to choose a different, minor breed, but you might find one that is better suited to your needs. In Maine, you can find the following minor breeds:
At three years of age, registered cows stand 36 to 42 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh about 750 pounds. Dexters are responsible for the production of meat and milk. Dexters are prolific milkers for their stature. They can readily nurse two calves at once or generate 1.5 to 2.5 gallons of milk each day with a butterfat content of 4%. The breed matures early, and its beef is cost-effective to produce, with outstanding flavor and marbling. Dexter steers can be finished on grass without extra feeding around 18 to 24 months of age, with an average live weight of 770 pounds. Dexters are known for their long lifespan, and they should reproduce every 14 years or more. Calving issues are uncommon, and calves are swift on their feet and full of energy.
The Milking Devon is a brilliant red, medium-sized, triple-purpose breed (milk, meat, and oxen) that has evolved to live in harsh climes and on a diet high in low-quality grass. Good care and maintenance are essential for this healthy, long-lived breed. When a calf nurses during the day but not at night, average milk output is about 2 gallons per day; when a calf does not nurse, average milk production is 4 to 5 gallons per day. Even when the cow receives little or no grain, the butterfat percentage is 4 to 5%.
Kerry cattle are a tiny, fine-boned, predominantly black dairy breed. Cows are horned and weigh 780 to 1000 pounds. Milk output ranges from 3 to 4 gallons per day, with a butterfat content of over 4%. Kerrys are tough and long-lived, often calving at the age of 14 to 15 years.
The Canadienne is well adapted to the climate, soil, and herbage of Canada, and it does not require expensive imported foods or careful management. It is petite (cows weigh between 1000 and 1100 pounds), long-lived, and has a calm demeanor. In accordance to their body size and food requirements, Canadiennes produce adequate volumes of high-quality milk (2 to 3 gallons with 4% butterfat). Because the meat is lean and the bone is light, there is a high percentage of usable meat in relation to total body weight.
The Belted Dutchman
Because the Dutch Belted has a tiny bone structure, calving is simple. Stock and dairy producers that use grass-based methods are interested in them because of their extraordinary longevity and fertility, excellent meat yield, and amiable dispositions. They have an 8 gallon capacity.
The flexibility of this breed is one of its best qualities. During each lactation, these docile cows produce substantial volumes of nutritious milk (5 gallons of 4% butterfat per day) and are large enough to have a high salvage value when their long, productive lives come to an end. Their calves are feisty at birth and grow quickly, as they are born effortlessly each year at regular calving intervals. Those who aren’t kept for breeding stock or herd replacement gain a lot of weight and produce a lot of graded corpses. They do well on grass and roughage grown at home.
Other factors to consider
Make sure the cow has access to clean water; she needs it to produce milk. Always have water on hand, whether in a tub in the barn or in the pasture. Provide at least one nice drink throughout the cold.
It’s vital to make a cow comfortable for a variety of reasons. A cow can be housed in a three-sided shed, but if you plan on milking her in the winter, you’ll want something more safe. A 10-by-10-foot box stall for the cow and a stall or stanchion 3.5 feet wide by 4.5 feet long with a head gate for milking are excellent. Plan the building to be as easy to clean as feasible.
To keep 2 tons of loose hay, the amount needed for a year, you’ll need an area of at least 10 × 10 x 10 feet. Multiply the length, width, and height (in feet) of a mow and divide by 400 to 500, depending on how long the hay has been stored. Depending on the type of hay, the figure may vary slightly.
You’ll require more resources.
If you want to buy bedding and grain, you’ll need more room. Keep in mind that no system is flawless, and animals will inevitably escape at some point. To avoid a sad ending to the narrative, make sure the grain is in a container that the cow or calf can’t access.
Scheduling the Milking of Your Family Cow
For ten months of the year, you’ll have to milk twice a day. The procedure must be followed consistently, or the cow will become uncomfortable and her output will drop. It can be done on two different schedules: 12 hours apart or 10 and 14 hours apart, for example, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. If you leave the calf on for the day and milk once a day, you can milk once a day.Cows are creatures of habit, so make such scheduling modifications slowly.
How to care your Cow
Cow is social animal we need to care about it so, there is away written below:
“Let down” and cleaning
First, use a brush or currycomb to clean the side of the cow you’ll be milking (typically the right side). Then get your stool, knot her tail if it’s mucky, and take a seat next to the cow. Prepare a pail of warm water, disinfectant, and a cleaning cloth. Wash the udder vigorously, paying specific attention to the ends of the teats, partially to resemble a calf stimulating the cow. The cow’s hormonal response to this stimulation is to “let down” milk from the alveoli, a grape cluster-like structure within the udder, into the teat canal. Because the let down only lasts around 10 minutes, you must continue milking as soon as possible.
If a teat or udder is painful, start slowly. Between your thumb and first finger, gently squeeze the top of the teat (closest to the bag). Close the next finger over the teat, then the next, then the next (one at a time), squeezing the milk out the end of the teat. Allow more milk to enter the teat by releasing your grasp, then repeat the preceding movements. You’ll get into a routine quite quickly. Every cow’s teat fills up at a different rate (depending on how large the udder is), so you’ll have to figure it out as you go.
If this milking schedule works for your household, breed your cow once a year, preferably in the summer for a spring calf. If you have other farm responsibilities, taking the summers off from milking is a wonderful idea, but it’s not ideal for optimum grass to milk conversion. With calving in the spring, a midwinter break allows both the cow and the farmer to relax naturally.
if at all possible, breed during the standing period. For further information on how long fertility lasts, see Van Loon’s book (below).
The advantages of having a family cow may persuade you to get one. But keep in mind that there’s a lot more to raising a child. Choosing the right breed, ensuring adequate housing, grazing pasture, the proper nutrition, and adequate healthcare are just a few of the aspects of keeping a family cow. MOFGA offers a comprehensive list of acceptable livestock-raising procedures, products, and additives.