Will one dairy cow be lonely? and other questions

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by carolynrosa, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. carolynrosa

    carolynrosa New Member

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    We just bought three acres of land in Texas, and we would like to have a dairy cow. But I worry that she would be depressed with only chickens and us for company. Is this a big concern, or are cows okay as long as they get human attention and care?
    Also, if anyone can guess, how much will we be paying for supplememntal feed, if the cow only has two acres to roam around in? We think we'd like a Jersey cow, since they're not so so huge, and apparently mild-mannered. But are we talking $100s of dollars in hay purchases every month? Or what?
    Finally, since I've only had a Carla Emery book to read, and I'd like suggestions: Does it sound like a good plan to have one dairy cow and breed her yearly (via AI) for a meat cow?
    I think it makes sense, but than again, until two weeks ago, I thought the people who talked about their 'guineas' attacking chicken snakes were talking about guinea pigs! I was really impressed with whatever training ya'll gave to those guinea pigs to make them such good watch-dogs. :p lol
     
  2. linn

    linn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How much grass is on your two acres? If there is plenty of grass, your cow won't need hay until winter. Most jerseys eat about 1/4 - 1/2 of a small bale of hay per day. It depends on the quality of the hay. A cow will eat more good, green, leafy alfalfa hay then she will poor quality hay. She will also be in better health and produce more on good hay. You will probably need to give your cow grain or dairy feed while she is in milk. Many people keep only one milk cow. Your cow won't be lonely once she has a calf. I don't know what good quality alfalfa costs in your area. In Missouri it is around $2.25 per small square bale. If your cow is milking, you will have all the milk you want, plus cream for butter, whipped cream and ice cream. You can also make cottage cheese and hard cheese. This will make up for the cost for hay and grain.
     

  3. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    A cow will need appx 2% of body weight in feed per day to maintain itself. That being said, lots of variables there as well.

    The more protein fed, the higher the production. You will see people referring to cows that are/are not "pushed". They are referring to how much protein added to feed.

    Cows are herd animals. While I would not say it would be depressed being alone, it is best to have an even number if possible.
     
  4. blessedspotfarm

    blessedspotfarm Active Member

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    We have a nice Jersey named Latte'who was one of a set of twins. Even raised with a twin (tein was sold)on our farm she seems to do great by herself!! She seems to be much more a person's cow... loves human attention... She goes back to a dairy every year to be bred and is very bossy with the other herd... and waits for me at the fence daily for her treats (horse cookies) She is always ready to come back home to her pasture. We do have a horse in a seperate pasture and she keeps track of him and does talk to him .. but she moo's happily to everyone...
     
  5. Nan

    Nan Well-Known Member

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    Cows in general like company. The main advantage of having more then one is getting her to eat at the time you want. If you are going to milk her on your schedule you will want to feed her during milking and hay between milkings. On a hot day they tend to stay away from fiber (hay) because it creates heat in digestion. With a second cow (or steer) there is competition and they will eat better. Goats do work for company but not as well. As for Jersey cows, they are expensive right now, but are the best for hand milking. The down side is if you raise the calf for meat it is marginal at best. (though some people clam it no worse than other dairy breads) The resale value of any breed crossed with a Jersey is lower then the other breeds. We had both Holsteins and Jerseys and the Jerseys are by far the better to hand milk.
     
  6. pygmywombat

    pygmywombat Well-Known Member

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    A single cow can be a perfectly happy cow. Mine is alone except for when her current calf is with her, and the barn cats and chickens come by to visit. As long as you come out 2 or so times a day for milking, feeding, and cleaning and spend some time brushing her or giving treats she will be happy.

    2 acres is sufficent for grazing for 1 cow if the grass is good and you have good rainfall or irrigation to keep it growing. A cow eats a small bale of good hay a day when not grazing. I can't guess at prices in Texas but right now in Ohio a good small bale of mixed hay is running $2.75.

    If you get a purebred Jersey I would AI her to a Jersey for a full blooded calf if possible. A Jersey steer makes good beef and a heifer can be sold for a good profit as a future milk cow.