Right now we have 5 acres. We can turn a lot of it into pasture with some work ( a lot of it is shrubby growth now).
We don't really know if we have enough room for pasture for a Dexter and her calf. Being in central NY, I would also like to get an estimate on how much hay we would need to get through a winter. At some point we will get a bigger place, but now we're trying to figure if this is doable at all with what we have.
Do you have irrigation water? We ran two dexter cows and two horses last summer on three acres of scrub, used to be pasture, but we were able to water it and get stuff to grow. The one horse and my older dexter actually were getting too fat on it, and they couldn't keep it all grazed down. horses are gone now and we feel fine with running up to 6 dexters on it, but again, we can water the fields and do rotations of 1 acre a week. Sorry, don't know the hay prices out there.
John, I'm new at this also but I too live in NY (Sullivan County).
I have two Dexter Cows (8yrs old & 3 yrs old) & two Dexter heifer Calf (7mos & 6mos) & a goat on 8 Acres. Right now the whole pasture is cover with lots of snow & has been for a couple of weeks now so I'm going though more Hay obviously than I would in the spring/summer. I am going through around 5 bales of hay a day (the small square ones that are not real heavy. They are very loose bales) these are $3.00 each, when I get the larger ones that are around $5.00 each around 40-45 lbs each I go through maybe 2-3 a day. I make sure they always have hay & never run out. They are in stalls at night with lots of hay & during the day I put some out in the pasture for them. As soon as I get my round bale feeder built I will probably use that out in the pasture for their daytime feeding & then keep using the hay racks in the stalls at night for the square bales. My vet said all of them are too fat so he had me cut back big time on the grain so they only get around 1 level measuring cup of grain a day right now with powdered vitamin E & selenium on top of it.
Someone local said that on a good quality hay with 16% protein they will probably eat 2lbs of hay per 100 lbs of body weight a day. ***I haven't tried to figure if that is accurate or not, maybe someone else can add if that is in fact correct.
I only have experience with standard size cows in Northern Alberta, but I keep 1 1200lb round bale of hay per/month, per/cow, per/month of winter. That is a general rule of thumb for farmer's who have to overwinter feed hay. It is about the same for a horse. Pasture is tougher because that depends on quality of land, and yearly, timely rain. This year I kept 100 cow/calf pairs on 320 acres of pasture and still had grass left over. That equals 3.2 acres per cow/calf for the year. Just the way I do things others will have different ways of doing things.