Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys I'm looking into getting my first milk cow either a brown swiss or a jersey. Would like to get one in the spring. I just purchased my homestead this summer and it does have 2 1/2 acres of pasture and is all fenced in with electric fence. I have never is owned a cow before so any input here would be greatly appreciated. There is also a 3 stall barn with water and hay storage. Thank you in advance for all your help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
519 Posts
Start looking now, think about getting one already bred, even better would be currently milking. Start thinking about how you are going to get her rebred. Go to the Keeping a Family Cow board and read the tree of knowledge section. Cow are herd animals, will she have any company? Mine does fine with the goats, but they need better fence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,507 Posts
Start sourcing quality hay, a good livestock vet, get various supplies on hand e.g. drench tool, fly rubs, needles/syringe, milking supplies iodine, wash/sanitizer, milking equipment... (this is not an inclusive list) read all you can. A good book is veterinary for dairy farmers by Blowey.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
The difference between buying a boat and a buying a milk cow is that it is easier to sell the cow when you get tired of being an owner.
Pardon my cynical comment but had 4 uncles with diffrent dairy farms.
I have had enough cow spladder in my face!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The cow will have some sheep as company. I would like to get a cow that is already bread. I live in northern nj. There are lots of dairy farms around however they don't seem to have jerseys or brown swiss cows. Where could I look for a cow that wouldn't be hundreds of miles away?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,275 Posts
Check out some of the Heather Smith Thomas books on cattle and caring for them. Read, read, read!

Visit as many places as you can before you buy anything. Look at their setups and ask questions. You'll learn from every farm you visit. Don't buy at the sale barn unless you have a mentor who knows what he's doing.

When you have chosen a cow, spend time with her before you take her home.

Get your facilities ready before you get the animal(s): water, fencing, shelter, hay supply (needs to be covered), a veterinarian contact, feed store, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,274 Posts
I kept our cow in with hot fence, worked great. She was by herself some of the time, she did have donkeys nearby and sometimes they shared the pasture. I sold that cow to a friend.

When I cow sit the cow is here by herself at night and kept in by a hot rope. The calf is locked in with the goats so I can milk first thing in the morning.

I don't have a stanchion for milking, I just tie to a wall or a horse trailer.

Am looking at a Dexter.... really like the small size... would work great for us.

Cow are pretty easy going.... they don't require much. The best thing is if you can go and milk the cow a few times before bringing her home. This way she will be use to you and milk production wont be affected.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Ok thanks for the info. I'm really looking to get a calf or heifer to start with. Preferably a calf. I'm just having a very hard time locating one the breed I would like. Where could I look for cows or calfs for sale?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,274 Posts
Ok thanks for the info. I'm really looking to get a calf or heifer to start with. Preferably a calf. I'm just having a very hard time locating one the breed I would like. Where could I look for cows or calfs for sale?
Personally, I would get a cow that already trained to milk. A cow that been around for awhile will be so much easier for you to learn with as she will be laid back, easy going and already knows the ropes so to speak. Unless you have experience already with cows then a youngster would be fine.

Craigslist.

Put the work out what you are looking for amongst your friends neighbors and the like.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Ok this will be my first cow I have absolutely no experience with cows. Are the breeds I am looking to get suitable for my needs? I'm looking into getting either a jersey or a brown swiss. I would love to get a dutch belted cow but I don't think I'll be able to find one anywhere near me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
You mention brown swiss or jersey. We raise brown swiss, great cow, very docile, my grandkids ride them, but they are very large. You will get tons of milk. Jerseys are smaller, more cream, still lots of milk.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,274 Posts
What are you going to do will all the milk? Raise some pigs and chickens?

Around my area jerseys are popular. One doesn't think they are that many milk cows around and then you start talking to folks and there are milks cows everywhere around here.

I think once you get into the loop so to speak you will find milk cows.

Even talking to some vet's in your area would be good. They might be able to tell you of some milk cows in the area for sale or somebody to get hold of that would be in the know.

You may not want to be just focused on one or two breeds you may just want to find a good milk cow first off and then later focus on a breed you really want.

Beef right now is really pricey so cows are carrying a pretty hefty price tag.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,344 Posts
make sure she is hand milkable I checked out many cows till I found my gentle brown swiss who stayed with me for years . there are good cows out there just test drive em first I looked at a gurnsey that backed up into the corner of her barn stall ready to fight and a jersey that had only been on a commercial dairy had to be in a stall . pacients will prevail even after I got my good cow home I found out that she was much older than the seller told me . you will need a good dry barn or shed to let her and you get out of the weather with a stall to milk her a good stainless steel bucket at least for milking and a couple big glass jars to hold your milk in at the least . get the book keeping a family cow . there is also another site on the computer called keeping a family cow (I think ) that is helpful and has a for sale board
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,944 Posts
You could find a local sales barn and sit through a few auctions and see what's avialable through there or talk with the buyers that buy and sell through there.
You could post wanted ads on Craigs List.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,275 Posts
Ok thanks for the info. I'm really looking to get a calf or heifer to start with. Preferably a calf. I'm just having a very hard time locating one the breed I would like. Where could I look for cows or calfs for sale?
If this is the case, take your time and start with a pair of beef steers so you learn how to care for them but don't have the responsibility of managing a bred cow or heifer because if there's going to be a problem delivering/acccepting a calf, it will be the heifer. And if you should decide you don't like having cattle, you can easily get rid of the steers by eating them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,944 Posts
Why waste 18 months messing around with beef when you want milk. Raising steers isn't going to educate you on calving or caring for a springer.
Get a heifer calf and give it your best shot.
You can eat a heifer too...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,507 Posts
^^ If you decide to go w/ a heifer. Make sure you have a vet handy in case she has delivery problems. nothing worse than ruining your chances for a 2nd calf in the future due to a botched delivery.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I do have a vet who does make farm calls already lined up. I actually called his practice to ask a few questions and the lady at the practice said he always answers his phone and not to hesitate to call. I am planning on hand milking is this a good idea for someone who has never milked before? I am also trying to setup a small milking parlor in the barn. A place away from other animals that will only be used for milking/calling purposes. What do I need for a milking parlor? I'm working on a stantion right now just because I think it would be nice to have. Any input form you guys would be great here. Thanks a lot for all the great info. You've been a big help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,769 Posts
I'd also ask the vets in your area first. They know what's around and would be able to give your recommendations. When I was looking I asked my vet if anyone in the area raised Jerseys and he said yes. I asked if he recommended them and he said no. It's good info to have.

Check out this these listings: https://www.google.com/search?q=dairy+cow+for+sale&rlz=1C1VSNC_enUS574US574&oq=dairy+cow+for+sale&aqs=chrome..69i57.4273j0j4&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8

Don't get too hung up on one breed. Cows are just wonderful in general. I love Jerseys and that's all I was looking for when I was directed to a wonderful Guernsey dairy that was downsizing. I went with the intention of buying a bred cow and ended up with a bred heifer and two heifer calves. The best part was when I got there the co owner (brother) had his JERSEYS for sale too! That heifer barn was a dangerous place to be! If I had wanted to and had the money I could have taken home a dairy's worth of animals.
Be prepared for the time commitment. It's hard to find someone trustworthy and able to milk.
Try to find someone willing to let you milk a cow. Twice a day for a week would be even better.
Be willing to pay for a good animal. Cows are expensive.

Good luck with your hunt. They are wonderful animals, no matter their breed, and you'll be hooked!


Here are a couple of my newest calf (on the right). She's 4 months old. The cows are rejuvenating (pooping on) an ex-CRP field for me. Their other pastures are just grass and clover, minimal weeds!
 

Attachments

1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top