OK, one more. How much?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by blue8ewe, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. blue8ewe

    blue8ewe Well-Known Member

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    Well another question arose.

    How many cows are needed to provide a growing family of 15 with their dairy needs? I am thinking it may depend on what kind of cow. So I will state that we are looking at a dual purpose breed.
    I dont care for goats but I intend to add milk sheep to out flock. Just dont know much about them as of yet.
    We bake most all our bread, and sweets. I want to make our own pasta.
    OK, we drink about 1 1/2 -2 gallons a day. We use about a pound of butter a day, maybe every 2 days. We eat cottage cheese, yogurt, ice cream about 2 to 3 times a week. We eat close to a pound of cheese every 2 days.
    All this is figured on our highest consumption. There are times when we dont consume this much but others when we are realy a cookin and we will go over this. We are out little or none.
    __________________
     
  2. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    I'd think two would do the job depending in the breed
     

  3. Batt

    Batt In Remembrance Supporter

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    I don't have cows....Goats now. But from my long-ago youthful memories I think Don is about right at 2. If you stagger the breeding you should always have at least 1 milking all the time.
     
  4. blue8ewe

    blue8ewe Well-Known Member

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    WOW, 1 cow (other is bread) can give us enough? I was expecting at lease 4. :eek:
    I guess I real do have a lot to learn.
    How much cream can each gallon of milk provide?
     
  5. GrannyCarol

    GrannyCarol Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I had a friend with a Brown Swiss - their family had two adults and seven kids and they had tons of milk to spare. They sold shares on their cow, we used to get 3 gals a week for our family, don't know how much they used or shared out, but the fed milk to the chickens too. :) I think she milked several gallons a day. I was so sad when they sold "our" cow!
     
  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It will also depend on how you feed them. A well balanced, top producing feed ration on a top dairy animal will put out 80 lbs a day for most of her 305 days of milking per year. That's 25-30,000 gal per year.

    Feed them on old grass and grain sweepings, make it a non-dairy type of animal, and 20 lbs would be a stretch....

    Likely you can count on at least 2 gallons per cow during her peak. More protien (soy meal, alfalfa, good corn somewhat) will give more. If you are letting the calf suck, then a lot less tho, and low-protien dry hay as the main feed would be even less?

    Stagger them as mentioned, milking is supposed to last 305 days or so, but the calf might want her for a while, and the last few weeks can drop off production. So you might get 200 days of production from each if you keep the calf on them for a while?

    --->Paul
     
  7. annethcz

    annethcz Well-Known Member

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    silly me didn't read the original post thoroughly. nevermind :cool:
     
  8. blue8ewe

    blue8ewe Well-Known Member

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    Paul, thanks. That does help a lot. Really a lot to weigh.
     
  9. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    I agree that two cows would easily provide all the milk your family would need. Even a low producing Jersey will give 2 gallons a day. If you get a higher producing cow you can easily wind up with 4-5 gallons a day per cow . By staggering the breedings, as others have mentioned, you're going to have both cows milking about 7-8 months of the year. So, for about 2/3 of the year you're looking at up to 10 gallons a day. Even if one cow won't give enough to make all the extras, you could make cheese, and butter up ahead of time while both were milking. Then when one was dry you'd still have plenty just to drink.

    We have a family of 12, and when we were milking we made butter, cheese, yogurt, etc. Our cows only gave about 2 gallons a day each. Even when only one of them was milking we still had milk to spare. Our biggest problem was getting the cows rebred. We have friends just a few miles down the road who have a Jersey dairy, so we sold our cows and just buy raw milk from them (not for human consumption, of course ;) ).
     
  10. Rcrewofmany

    Rcrewofmany Well-Known Member

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    We are a family of 13 and we have only one jersey. She is a low producing in my opinion. Right after calving she will give 2+ gals of milk a day with calf on her side. Once we take the calf off of her she will produce about 4+ gals a day. Then she dwindles down to 2.5 gals a day. She is on pasture with little corn after milking. She also only has 3 working quarters out of 4.

    In the beginning we usually have an over abundance of milk and give it away. Then as she dwindles down we just keep it for ourselves. I used to do cheese but haven't gotten the hang of it. I made cottage cheese once that turned out great. I haven't been able to make it again. Haven't made yogurt. Have made butter.

    We purchase about 10 gals of milk a week when our cow isn't producing, which is right now. She is due to calve middle of January. Then we will have raw milk again :) My children are spoiled. They can't stand the "plasticky milk" from the store.

    If you have 2 jersey's you could cycle them so you would have milk all year round. We go about 2 months without raw milk when she is pregnant.

    Hope this helps

    Michele
     
  11. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    My Jersey (bought as a youngster from someone who had raised her as a pet, not purchased intentionally to give a ton of milk) gave 3-4 gal a day after she fed her own calf. We raised a few pigs and spare calves off of what she produced. I'd lock up all the calves overnight and milk her in the morning, then let the calves run with her the rest of the day. She was an awesome cow! She followed me around like a puppy dog.
     
  12. Sammy

    Sammy Well-Known Member

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  13. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    I was going to say 2 but then I got to thinking you could freeze some for the down times So one. if you would plan her breeding for spring you could freeze it outside in winter and place it in an Ice house. for early spring use.
     
  14. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

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    i would say one jersey holstien cross, for butter production of any kind you are going to want a jersey cross if not full of some sort.... a full holstien will give 8-12 apx maybe more , but not much cream and not as easy to skim the cream off( and its white jersey butter is lovely yellow)

    they range from 2-5 gall a day (full bred jersey) from my experience

    right now im milking a jersey angus cross that does 3 easy( of course part of that will be cream)

    the higher production the more labor intensive(but yet yummy) products like cheese yogurt ect that you can make

    www.cheesemaking.com

    www.fiascofarm.com

    http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Cheese/Cheese.html

    are great sites to peruse to see if that looks interesting to you, other wise you will have too much milk

    a good book to get or see if library has is the complete dairy foods cook book by annie prilouix( spelling bad on last name) ebay has them for apx 7 bucks on up . has recipies for all kinds of meals made with dairy

    you need to decide if you want to make products or just drink it. you may want to get 2 cows looking at your dairy consumption...also the more cows you have( and can support) the more its worth having the bull( i know many ai) and the calves are good to eat for a family of that size and the girl babies are good income. also the more you milk the more a machine would pay out and be worth cleaning, not worth it if you are just milking one or 2

    you get about a # of cheese for gallon of milk. the whey is good to drink or use for stock or gardens or chickens or pigs or house plants...

    i think i have covered it.
     
  15. Rocky Fields

    Rocky Fields Failure is not an option.

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    Hey.

    Correct answer is two cows.

    A gallon of milk weighs 8.6 lbs.

    Average U.S. cow produces 53 lb of milk per day, or 6.2 gallons

    Average U.S. cow produces 1400 gal. a year


    Production is dependant on breed, age, feed, location, and care.

    A lactating cow produces more on a diet of soybean.
     
  16. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    I'm beginning to think we must have an outstanding Jersey. We're only milking once a day and get 3-4 gallons (24-32#) a day. She is currently alfalfa hay fed with a handful of corn at milking time.

    Her longest lactation was nearly 2 years, at that time she was still giving nearly 16# a day.

    We generally get approx 1/2 butter off 1 gallon of whole milk.

    I think 1 cow would do you, unless you don't want to be milk-less when you have to dry her up for freshening.
     
  17. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    How didyou figger that?If I use her numbers and yours I get .48 of a cow
     
  18. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I think Rambler meant 25,000 pounds, not 25,000 gallons. A gallon weighs about 8.6 pounds, so a really good cow COULD give 3,000 gallons. Though most backyard cows do not.
     
  19. JHinCA

    JHinCA Well-Known Member

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    One thing to keep in mind is that when you have your own milk and dairy products you will probably use more, because it is so much better than what you can get at the store.
     
  20. George in NH

    George in NH Well-Known Member

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    My father always kept one milking Jersey on the farm, when I was a kid. Not only did my father raise his own kids but he also opened our home to any kids or adults that had no place to go. At one time there were about 20 people living in our house and one milking cow provided us with plenty of milk. To this day I still think of walking to the barn every morning to mildk the cow and then coming home from school to milk again. Jersey cows have always been the favorite in my family.