pet cows

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Muscovyluv2005, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. Muscovyluv2005

    Muscovyluv2005 Well-Known Member

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    Hi,I was wondering if anyone has any "pet cows" I own a few acres and I was thinking about getting one as a pet.Can anyone give me some information such as which breed makes the best pet,is real friendly,how big they get,and around how much they cost yearley(feed,housing,vet bills etc)
    Anyone know any links about pet cows?
    Thanks!
     
  2. pygmywombat

    pygmywombat Well-Known Member

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    A cow would be an expensive pet.

    You would be spending a lot a year on hay, depending on your pastures, climate, and grazing season.
    If your land isn't already fenced that even more money.
    You'll need a shelter or barn for the cow in incliment weather and to store the hay.
    It needs water and a lot of it.
    Grain is optional if you get a beef breed or dairy steer. But a milking cow generally requires at least a few pounds a day when in milk.
    Vet bills will vary. A cow is generally a pretty hardy, healthy animal but they can have problems. The cost of a farm call and yearly vaccinations vary by vet and area.

    Now, if you were to use your land to raise cattle for beef or milk for yourself or to sell, that would be a different story. Beef is pretty easy, milk is a 365 days a year commitment.

    We spend probably $1500 a year on just feed, grain, vet bills, AI, milker parts, etc. Start up costs were horrendous, the cow was $1500, barn was $4000 (we built it the foundation ourselves and bought a steel hoop barn, put that up as well), $1000 on fencing (just under 2 acres, 4 lines of high tensile, 2 electric, all by ourselves), the milking set-up was another $1000, plus havng a trench excavated and laying the water and electric lines was another $1000.

    If you already have the fencing, shed/barn, electric, and water you'd have lower costs. Buying a few bull calves or young steer and raising them for 12-16 months, then either selling or getting them butchered and selling the meat would make good use of your pasture. If you don't want to raise animals for butchering I'd suggest a good fence and a few sheep for mowing. A pet, nonproductive cow is not worth the expense.

    Claire
     

  3. Snugglebunny

    Snugglebunny Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't a few goats - regular or miniature sized or maybe a mixture of both - be better 'pets' than a cow?

    However, if you are really set on a cow, try a Dexter or other miniature breed that won't set you back quite so much in feed. with a Dexter a cow will be very productive, but more manageable since she won't provide quite as much milk as a standard cow would.
     
  4. Muscovyluv2005

    Muscovyluv2005 Well-Known Member

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    Hey thanks,Im not "Set" on a cow I was just wondering about them as pets,So lol would I just be better off getting a horse?
     
  5. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    If you are looking for a pet and you have little to no skills with animals that interest you, why not rent out your bit of pasture to someone who owns the species that holds your interest. It is a great way to learn about animals without the serious initial investment.. You'll quickly learn if your fences are appropriate and what is involved in keeping them healthy.
     
  6. Chuck123

    Chuck123 Well-Known Member

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    If you want a pet cow, and can afford proper care, go for it! Our little Jersey milk cow is a real pet! When she's dry I still visit with her and take her goodies, like squash or carrots.

    My grandmother in law kept a small herd of beef cows and one of them was a real pet....she looked intimidating as she hadn't been dehorned, but she was the sweetest thing!!

    We waste ALOT of money on our horses, and I do not see a cow as being more expensive....barring unplanned events anyway.

    If you get tired of your pet, you can eat her! :eek: You might not be so inclined to do that with a horse. :)

    Of course, our little milk cow will likely get a proper burial when she goes.....provided we're not starving. :)
     
  7. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    As a general rule, cows & horses don't make good pets. They all tend to want to be the "boss", & unless a person has experience handling them, they can get dangerous if they are petted & not disciplined properly. Between the two, a cow would make a better pet than a horse. If you just want something to keep in your pasture & pet, goats would probably be more fun, although a cow would be fine if you don't expect too much affection from her.
     
  8. pygmywombat

    pygmywombat Well-Known Member

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    I would think a horse would be even more expensive. They need hoof trimming every 6 weeks, teeth floating, rotated wormers, different feeds, and get upset stomachs when the feed changes. They are far more delicate then cows.

    Claire
     
  9. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    goats are not easy to fence, to say the least. i've made every mistake possible til i got it right. they are pretty cheap to feed, in comparison. i don't think they make great pets unless you get bottle fed babies. and for sure you want all males cut if you keep it for a pet. not good idea to have just one either, as they are unhappy without a herd. most farm animals don't make good pets.
     
  10. trickham

    trickham Well-Known Member

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    The rule of thumb on goat fencing is, if you can throw water through it, a goat can go through it.
     
  11. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    :haha: :haha: :haha:

    what i found that finally works is.. to quit trying to fence across water :eek: :). this time i put up woven wire with a hot wire on top and bottom. they have not been out once. :worship: :worship: :worship: the pyrenees got out by climbing over the gate a couple of times, but i ran a wire across the top of the gate, without being conected to the juice. he is so afraid of the electric fence, he hasn't tried it again.
     
  12. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Muscovyluv2005,

    It's a shame you're so far away from Virginia. I have a nice pet here for you.

    My next door neighbor has an Angus dwarf steer. The steer is 9 months old and is no larger than a month old calf. It just won't grow! It weighs just over 100 lb. The other calves his age are 600-700 lb.

    This would make an excellent pet for someone.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  13. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

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    Get a couple of Herefords :)
    They just stand there like trees, they're very easy on fences, just give them water and a salt block, and let them chow down on your pasture, you'll have to buy hay for the winter though, count on half a bale per day per cow, plus give them a little grain a couple of times a week and they'll love you for life.
    Get a couple of steers and you won't have any problems with them, they're very docile and can be better pets than a horse by a long shot.
    Don't give them too much grain, a cupful each at a time is plenty for pets, assuming your not growing them for food.
    They'll follow you anywhere for that.
    Just don't buy them at an auction, buy them from somebody you know through a friend or something, auction cattle are sometimes full of problems a newbie would never recognize, or be able to handle.
    One thing I would recommend is putting in a sorting pen, with a chute and headgate though, if one needs medical care you have to be able to handle them safely.
    Good luck forget the horse idea !!!
    :)
     
  14. trickham

    trickham Well-Known Member

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    I agree. Our Herefords are gentle, nearly to the point of being tame, and they are not given any special handling at all. The worst problem we have is the possibility that they will accidentally step on you. :rolleyes:

    Nick
     
  15. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    This is how you figure what you will need for a cow. Usually its one cow per acre, or so. If you have a couple acres, that would be better. Now what we feed our herefords is approx 40lbs per animal, and they maintain good body mass. They do not get grain, but have access to a mineral block. We currently have 13 adults, all over 800lbs and 8 younger animals, some are as big as yearlings or so. They get approx 15lbs or more a day and maintain good body mass. Remember quality feed will let you feed them less than say it is junk hay. Herefords are very hardy, they can take the cold easily, they will eat anything that is edible, meaning they sometimes will eat rotten hay over fresh hay. We saw this when we put bales we used around windows for insulation. We didn't feed them this, we put it near the fence and they pulled it in with them. They had plenty of feed, but they went for this bale. Other people have seen this, they are hardy. So I suggest the hereford breed due to them being gentle and hardy. If you get a animal that is dairy, such as Jersey, Holstein, Ayshire or anything bred for milking keep in mind if you get it bred (if its a heifer) you will have to milk it twice a day, and there is inexpensive but reliable milking machines. The milk is worth it, but the twice a day is usually 5am and 5pm. We did this with one cow back in 93, and it was hell, -20 to -30 in the morning, I was young and wasn't into it. This farm used to milk over 50 a day, but that was a loooong time ago.

    So what do I suggest? Get a hereford, give it about an acre, you don't need expensive fencing or high tensile unless you want it to look good. We use one strand of electric fence and it keeps ours at bay, they don't go near it, and they do watch it with one eye while they eat if they are close to it. If its one consider the feed they eat in lbs, figure 40lbs x 30 x 12 that gives you an estimate to how much hay you need. Figure the bales at 55lbs for instance or so. Average the number you get with the 40x30x12 to the 55lbs, that should tell you how many bales you need. Now estimate approx 2.50-3 for hay, if you want quality. So what do you have? Approx 261 bales. If you double that it would be 522. So what you would spend on hay would be 1435.00 per year at 2.75 a bale. Mineral blocks cost some money but 1 won't lick it down completely all that fast. Takes 13 approx a month or so. Water! You need water and if you have a good clean stream, im talking a stream without anyone up the road dumping stuff in. If not, consider the water they drink, and they drink a lot! AS far as cover? We don't give our full grown cattle cover, well they have some but its in the woods. They seem to do just fine out there, and anyone ive talked with said its better for them, because it keeps a healthy coat on them, and a good indication of how well they are insulated is if snow is on their back. If you live in a warm climate its not a issue. So cover is your own personal prefrence, if its your pet, then spoil the livin crap out of it. Now as far as grain? You don't need to grain the animal all the time, if they have good quality hay, 13% protein or higher, grain is just candy. It is good to keep them trained to a pale. Try to feed them grain from the pale, and not the ground they can get worms. I suggest you worm them in the spring, and fall, this keeps the animal healthy, remember the once a year rabies shot. The little things like that keeps the animal healthy.

    Raising a cow is easy, and some do have them as pets. Steers do make decent pets, however with a heifer you have the option if your serious about it, to milk at a later date. You can also expand your herd with a heifer, pending the calf is a heifer. Unless you want to steer it out, it isn't a good idea if its a holstein, Jersey or otherwise to keep a bull. You don't want it to inbreed and you dont want something that can kill you. Not sure what else to include, but it isn't overly costly to raise an animal. A ration of 40lbs a day is plenty, remember some dairy farms feed that to a dairy cow! So a animal that isn't milking, not a issue.


    Jeff
     
  16. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    I did a calculation after posting my message, and I am low on what we are feeding this year. They have haylage as part of their diet now. So we are feeding 5x55x600 or so. Some eat more than others, and they show it, they look fat as hell after the haylage. So thats around 70lbs an animal. Some eat more than others and that number I am giving is not exact. More or less they are pigs. Are they fat? nope, they have excellent muscle mass. They are all solid.



    Jeff
     
  17. Snugglebunny

    Snugglebunny Well-Known Member

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    Again, I want to suggest Dexter Cattle. They only require 1/2 an acre per cow, half the feed of a standard breed, have excellent dispositions, and can be used for either milk or beef. They produce a more easily managed quantity of milk (3 gals/day I think?) and only grow to be about 3 ft tall and 700 lbs.

    I have fallen completely in love with them, and when I have my land, I definately want a Dexter for a Family Milk cow.

    At least iwth a milk cow you can allow yourself to grow attatched to it without thinking of it as 'dinner' quite so much.
     
  18. Shahbazin

    Shahbazin Well-Known Member

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    I am guessing that you don't want to either milk or eat a cow? Do you do much gardening or other such work? You could train a steer as a work ox - I know they generally work in pairs, but I imagine you could do a lot of things with just one. I've even seen people train their ox to be ridden! Here's a site with info about oxen: http://www.ruralheritage.com/
     
  19. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

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    Only one thing to add here, get more than one, they are social animals and will get lonely and stand in the yard staring at the house if they're by themselves.
    Oh yeah, and of course get HEREFORDS !!
    :):)
     
  20. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    I second that, forgot to add in to get two. They do get lonely, we did it because one got out and left it in the barnyard, fed it there and hoped it would forget where it got out. That darn bull or steer (forget which) mooed and mooed. It was only away for one day!



    Jeff