Survivalist Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,814 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
After thinking and researching milking cows I finally decided to get two. I picked a hardy breed that is more known for its beef production than for its dairy but my main thing that I worry about is how hardy the cow will be, how much grain I would need to go through to get milk, how it can handle cold weather, what kind of feed does it need, andhow many times the Vet needs to come for a visit. I did not want to have to pay hundreds of dollars every month just to get a couple of gallons of milk per day. I settled on the scottish highlander cattle, and I've found two cows that I like-gentle and good genes about 150 miles away in Wisconsin. I went over and looked at them and I'm pretty sure I'm going to purchase them.

I'm just looking for any advice from those who have had milking cows either now or in the past. What are the problems with having them is my big question. I don't want to get them only to find out they're more trouble than they're worth.

So if anyone has or has had dairy cattle of any kind, could you please just go over mainly the negatives of having them. I want to see if there are obstacles that I just couldn't overcome. Thank you so much

Tury
 

·
Happiness is 2 at low 8
Joined
·
1,403 Posts
The only thing that comes to mind is do you have access to a bull? Or do you intend to artificially inseminate? I assume you do know that in order to get the milk, the cows have to have a calf from time to time...

other than that get some hobbles and a stainless pail...

Allan -- been a very very long time...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
784 Posts
oh yeah and remember that its not milk for the first 24 hours after the calf is born but colostrum, which the calf does need, and after that if u want clean milk u have to take the calf off of the cow n milk her close to every 12 hours as is possible. and talk to some of the local ppl around there that can help u out
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
214 Posts
Before buying, I'd check if you can have the young ones slaughtered OK, I know they are not very popular!

There are other hardy breeds that are good for beef and milk, the Aberdeen Angus being one, and the Dexter another. Unless you have your heart set on this breed I'd opt for something that is more saleable as you will probably have young ones in the future.

Cheers

:)
 

·
Freedom Is Not Free
Joined
·
662 Posts
I'd go with a pair of jersey cows. One of the highest milk producers per pound of body weight, good graisers and very tolerant of you and the environment. I would contact your local Ag extension office for advice and info, as well as a local dairy farmer.
 

·
Rifleman
Joined
·
1,600 Posts
I do not own any cattle but have researched the topic quite a bit. If and when I buy will probably start with the Belted Galloway (Belties). They are a hardy Scottish breed that needs little care. Google them.
One cow needs and acre to an acre and a half. Add a calf and the land need goes to two acres. Goats on the other hand can thrive 4 to an acre. They require less care than a cow. The meat and milk are both great. Also since the US is overrun with Mexicans and Muslims there is always a market to sell goats.
Do you have a place to store Hay during the winter? In Tennessee a cow will require close to a ton of hay to get it through an average winter. Minnesota winters are longer and colder. My guess would be close to double the hay.
 

·
Bleach blonde on fire :p
Joined
·
6,173 Posts
I have a next door neighbor who had a milking cow (for 12 years), always was complaining how much she ate. They switched to goats (we got our first from them), they take up less room, eat less, produce quiker, no cow pies to deal with, easier to house, the list goes on and on. If handeled correctly (the same as any milk) it has the same taste and flavor of cow milk. You can have 12 females and 1 a male for the same price as a full grown ready to produece cow. The goats provide anywhere from 1/2 gallon to 1 gallon a day per female and if you stagger breeding you will always be in more milk than you can deal with. I have 3 in milk now and we can't keep up with all the milk (2 adults and 4 children). The meat is lean and can be prepared the same way as deer and lamb (tastes like a cross between chicken and beef). You have to be able to provide food for them when/If the SHTF, goats can and will eat all kinds of brush (cows will only eats certain plants) and still produce milk. We have a heard of 7 right now and a 4x6 round bale will last them 3 + months (cost $30 for a 800lb roll). We have our goats (7) in a 32 x 64 lot, we provide all there food (hay and grain mix for milkers), the average is around 12 per acre but they can handle closer confinement if you provide the hay. Goats are very hardy animals and are easier to take care of overall. What will you do with all the milk and meat from you cows? Without electricity to refrigerate you would probally have most of it spoil before it would be used.

We currently have a mix of types of goats Boer/Kiko (meat)-3 cross and Sannens (meat/ milk)-4

Do as you are doing and gather information for the cows but consider gathering info for goats too. Pm me - I have a plether of info on goats for anyone who wants the skinny on them.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,814 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
My family has a couple of cows they caan have problems with the udders getting the fat plug coming out and then they get infected and sometimes you can never get them healthy again. The cows we have are regestered and my sister sells the milk one cow is geting ready to drop a calf but the other a Jersey puts out almost four gallons of milk per day. The feed will make the milk taste good or bad depending on what they eat. Alfalfa is out of the question. Also you have to use glass jars and the half gallon size to bring the milk down to 40 degrees in the first hour after milking. Better do your home work they are allot of work but you can get them tested for Burculosis and if they are ok sell the milk for around $5.50 a gallon allot of people want it. A small milker makes it much easier to take care of them and a cream seperator but if you let your customers have the milk fat they will have some great butter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,228 Posts
there can be some good money in goats. and from what i hear the milk taste as good as cows milk. and if i was in a situation to where i could have i would look at goats. it really depends on how much milk do you really need ? and it is an EVERYDAY thing no days off no vacations from farm animals.
 

·
Bleach blonde on fire :p
Joined
·
6,173 Posts
We only milk our females every other day, there babies are 5 months old and we still let them drink (there is no way we could deal with all of there milk by ourselves). We have been able to go on vacation and not milk for 5 days (females were begging to be milked when we got home). Goats are little more forgiving on milking, they can be pushed to provide more milk or lay off milking to decrease milk. We had one girl we stopped milking then 2 months later started milking again and she picked back up to 3/4 of her milk production. They are more supply for the current need oriented.

We sell goats to all over , we have several that drive 6-8 hours to come pick up our babies. We sell the boer crosses for $125.00 (they birth anywhere from 2-4 babies at a time)and the Sannens for $175.00 (they usally have 2 sometimes 3 at a time) they will sell within a week of advertising. Our currents will be replacements for our girls as they age. There next births wil be sold to provide money for the feeds for all the animals for the next year (we usally only spend about $300.00 a year for our chickens, goats and rabbits-about 30 animals total)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,814 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I do not own any cattle but have researched the topic quite a bit. If and when I buy will probably start with the Belted Galloway (Belties). They are a hardy Scottish breed that needs little care. Google them.
One cow needs and acre to an acre and a half. Add a calf and the land need goes to two acres. Goats on the other hand can thrive 4 to an acre. They require less care than a cow. The meat and milk are both great. Also since the US is overrun with Mexicans and Muslims there is always a market to sell goats.
Do you have a place to store Hay during the winter? In Tennessee a cow will require close to a ton of hay to get it through an average winter. Minnesota winters are longer and colder. My guess would be close to double the hay.
I did like the galloways and really looked into them because unlike the more modern cows they too don't need to be grained for milk production. One of the reason's I kind of settled on the highlander is because it is not polled. We have bear in this area and I want my cows to be able to defend themselves if needed. That may be silly though because they are suppose to be a gentle cow. But yeah, galloways are up there on my list.

Thanks

Tury
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,814 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
My family has a couple of cows they caan have problems with the udders getting the fat plug coming out and then they get infected and sometimes you can never get them healthy again. The cows we have are regestered and my sister sells the milk one cow is geting ready to drop a calf but the other a Jersey puts out almost four gallons of milk per day. The feed will make the milk taste good or bad depending on what they eat. Alfalfa is out of the question. Also you have to use glass jars and the half gallon size to bring the milk down to 40 degrees in the first hour after milking. Better do your home work they are allot of work but you can get them tested for Burculosis and if they are ok sell the milk for around $5.50 a gallon allot of people want it. A small milker makes it much easier to take care of them and a cream seperator but if you let your customers have the milk fat they will have some great butter.

I am a vet tech and do work with cows a lot. One of the reasons I didn't want one of the modern breeds like Jerseys is because they tend to get mastitis more because they were bred for high milk prodution. Also they need a great deal more feed when lactating. The older breeds are more hardy and can be milked without all the extra grain-a big deal to me as I won't grow enough of my own grain and I don't wan to go in debt buying cow food. The highlanders are known for being able to get by on roughage and that I've got plenty of.:)

Tury
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,814 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Before buying, I'd check if you can have the young ones slaughtered OK, I know they are not very popular!

There are other hardy breeds that are good for beef and milk, the Aberdeen Angus being one, and the Dexter another. Unless you have your heart set on this breed I'd opt for something that is more saleable as you will probably have young ones in the future.

Cheers

:)
I thought I would slaughter the calf for beef every year. We have plenty of bulls in the neighborhood and most of my neighbors would be willing to provide stud service in trade for a roast or two. While none of the bulls are highlanders we do have many lowlines here and since I was planning on slaughtering the calves anyway it wouldn't matter that it wasn't a purebred.

I did look into Dexters but the few people who owned them that I talked to raised them for beef. I was told they didn't have the right temperment for milkers. Now whether that's true or not I don't know but that was what I was told. I don't want to have to battle the cow to milk it. While that would make a good "American's Funniest Home Video" clip, I doubt if it would do much for me wanting a milking cow.:D: I'd probably get tired enough of that and turn it into hambuger.

Tury
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,814 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I looked into goats first. I really would prefer them. The problem is the predators we have here. I had sheep once and they were decimated by the bear in the fall. I had all sorts of helpful advice about getting guard dogs and how to trap the bears but in the end run with all those expenses having sheep would have cost me more than what it was worth. I worry about that with goats too. One couple a few miles up river have goats and they consider predation as just another loss. I don't want a huge herd so predation would destroy me. Most of the farms around here do have a cow or two and bear don't seem to bother them. That's kind of why I decided on cattle and highlanders as the best cattle for my area. They are not polled so still have their main defense still attached to their head. I'm hoping that will help keep them from ending up bear hamburger.

Tury
 

·
Rifleman
Joined
·
1,600 Posts
Get a donkey, they will stand up to the preditors of the goats (give them a head start running:D:).
Or lamas. They will also guard other animals and a lot more quiet doing so.

I hate to say it but sheep must be some of the dumbest animals on this planet. They are even afraid of their own young when born. I truly believe if it hadn't been for man they would probably be extinct. Plus goat tastes better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,814 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Then I'd have to feed the donkey or llamas, plus worm them, plus give them vet care when they needed it. I'm trying to keep my expenses down. I don't want my milk to cost 100.00 dollars a gallon :eek:: Old breed cows are just the cheapest way to go in an area with this many predator and when I don't raise my own grain.

I put up two shelters this weekend out in two of my three pastures. Buying a cow this time of the year is the cheapest because many people don't want to winter them. I'm thinking that before November 1 I'm going to be making a drive to get my cows. Getting excited now.:D:

Tury
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top