Artificial insemination/amount of pasture question.

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by r.h. in okla., May 16, 2006.

  1. I'm back to dreaming again. I've been pondering on the ideal of owning a milk cow for our own needs. I grew up milking a milk cow. We had a milk cow and raised her offsprings for either the freezer or extra feed money. Back then we had about 30 acres of pasture and woodlot to run them on. After I grew up we sold the cows as I was the last kid on the small farm and only had one parent, my mom. When I left for college that was the end of my milking days. Hadn't milked a cow since (27 years ago) but am pondering on it once again. My problem is that I only own 2 acres and the house and lawn takes up one of them. I do have access to some more wooded acreage bordering mine but I would have to build a lot of fencing. So I'm wondering just what is the least amount of acreage I could get by with for a good milk cow? Also, about the artificial insimination, how much does something like that cost as I think I would rather do that instead of taking her to somewhere for breeding?
     
  2. john in la

    john in la Well-Known Member

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    AI cost from about $35 up to hundreds of dollars depending on the bull you choose. For a homesteader just looking to get a cow breed you are looking at less than $50.

    A milk cow can be raised in a stall big enough for her to lay down in if you are willing to carry all feed and hay to her.
    Depending on where you live a grazing cow needs from 1 acre (souteast usa) to maybe 30 acres (west texas).
    With only one acre you would be fine in the summer if you live in a area with regular rain but will need to buy all hay for winter. You will still need to provide feed every day for extra protien needed for milk production.
     

  3. linn

    linn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Although you can keep a cow in a stall I wouldn't recommend it because a cow needs exercise and continually lying down in the same area will make a cow more prone to mastitis, even though you cleaned out the stall because of a buildup in bacteria. You can fence a wooded area fairly easily by using electric fencing. Usually an electric fence will contain a cow unless she is chased by dogs or a predator. It will not keep a small calf in because calves have a tendency to crawl under the fence. If there is not much grass in this area you will need to supplement the cow's diet with hay and grain. I do AI for our cattle and I used to do it for other people. I would not make the trip to AI for less than $35.00 for the trip plus the cost of the semen. Call your county agent or go online to one of the genetics companies for a list of reps. in your area. A Dexter is a small dual purpose breed that doesn't eat much and produces enough milk for a family as well as a calf that will provide good beef. Good luck in your cow endeavor. :)
     
  4. Thanks john, thanks linn! I was wondering if I could get by with as little as a acre although I would like to fence off just a little bit more to catch the creek that runs through the area so I wouldn't have to worry about watering the cattle. I would have to cut down a few trees and whatever the underbrush the cow wont eat. Do this for better pasture. I have been thinking about a dexter milk cow so I wouldn't be over flooded with milk. I remember milking Violet, our milk cow who was a black angus. If I remember right she gave about 5 gallons of milk per day. But we made lots of butter and fed pigs with and also along with selling part of it.

    Now days a lot of people wont drink farm milk or eat fresh chicken eggs like they did when I was growing up. So I'm thinking we will try our luck in making butter, cheese, canned milk, and feed any extra's to the pigs we raise in hopes of not wasting any of it.
     
  5. linn

    linn Well-Known Member Supporter

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  6. mamagoose

    mamagoose Well-Known Member

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    On the AI, if you have only a single cow, getting her bred AI is more involved. You need reliable heat detection and the primary sign is standing heat. For standing heat in a cow you need another bovine (unlike swine, a human will do). When I have had a single Polled Hereford cow in the past, I was able to tell from discharge and her act of bawling/jumping the fence that she was in heat. Fortunately for me, I personally bred her 2 times 8 hours apart on those signs and was successful 2 years in a row, but chances of getting her one service is probably less than half. Depending on how large you let her calf get before butchering/selling it, the third time around her calf may provide you with heat detection by riding her. I had another single 2yo AngusXJersey heifer who never showed any signs of discharge/bawling/fence jumping and never bred by a bull when exposed for 4 months, so we cut our losses. It is possible that she would have bred at a later date, but we decided not to wait. My point with that is, that if you have a non-breeder, it is more difficult to tell when you only have a single cow. AI can be successful on a single cow by using hormones. Look up CIDR for more information. One CIDR and one shot of Lutalyse will run about $13 (calculated by bulk amount), but I don't think they come in single doses. We synchronize a small herd and buy them by the bag/bottle. Maybe if you find someone who does AI they can also find someone to sell you one CIDR and one shot. We've had 100% some years in FIL's beef herd breeding on standing heat after using the CIDR program with one service AI. If you just wait and AI all of the group at once at 72 hours your percentage will be way lower, but large farms do this rather than bring them in individually. With one cow, you would probably want to breed at 72 and again at 80 hours after removing the CIDR, so your AI service costs just doubled. Good luck!
     
  7. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    r.h. You're sure gettin' lots of good info here! If you only have one cow and you are milking her every day, you'll probably notice signs when she's in heat. She will turn around and Kiss you if your hand milking. Best results if you breed them when you see 2-4 inch long strings of clear discharge.
    We usually budget for two inseminations to acheive a pregnancy, but sometimes it may take 3 or 4. You can save money by asking AI Breeder Person to use a "YOUNG SIRE". These are bulls that are from good genetic families but just too young to have published data on them yet. We usually pay $6-$8 a dose for the better of these.
    Good plan to use extra milk to feed pigs, dog, chickens.. I would stay open minded as to breed and go with any medium size colored breed dairy cow with a good temperament. Nothing wrong with a half Holstein or half Hereford for a family cow either! Hope you get it worked out and can enjoy rich, fresh wholesome milk of your own!!!