The Family Cow
There is no exact answer to this question because it depends on a number of factors which include the following;
– The amount of pasture available.
– The type of hay you are using for feed.
– The cost of the hay.
– The type of family cow you own.
Generally speaking, a typical cow eats about 35 pounds of hay per day and you can expect to pay up to $200 per 2000 pounds. This means that you can expect to pay about $200 every two months or $1200 to feed your cow for a single year. However, if you have good pastureland, then you will only need the hay for the winter months which will cut the cost considerably.
Should You Feed Cows Hay All of the Time?
It will depend on the amount of land that you have available, but generally speaking, cows that feed on the grass during the spring, summer, and early fall months benefit from the experience. You might feed cows grain to help boost their production of milk, but unless you are selling it the cost of the grain may not be worth it.
Does the Cow have to be Bred First Before Producing Milk?
Yes, the cow must have a calf first in order to start the lactation cycle. However, once it starts you can keep the cow producing milk for years to come as long as you do not stop. Some farmers will breed their cows every year to get a fresh lactation cycle going, but you don’t have to do that as once you get the process going, it will keep ongoing for several years to come.
How Much Milk Does a Typical Cow Produce?
There is no exact amount, but a typical cow will generally produce three to four gallons per day if you milk them twice during that time. You might get more if you feed your cow grain, but for most families three to four gallons is plenty.
The Milking Process
The milking process can be performed by hand or you can use a mini milker courtesy of Slavic Beauty. The machine itself is easy to use and makes it very simple to milk your dairy cow even for those who have difficulty in using their hands. The machine is portable so that you can move it around and store it when necessary.
Of course, the milk that you get from your family cow can then be processed using a cream separator or perhaps a butter churn. You can enjoy a wealth of delicious dishes thanks to the addition of natural cream or butter that you get from your own cow.
Overall, the experience of hobby farming or homesteading is made far more enjoyable by having your own dairy cow that provides you with valuable, fresh milk and homemade dairy products.