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Dairy Cows

Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-and-white-cow-on-green-grass-field-4919690/

Keeping a few milk cows on a homestead can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. Here’s a guide on how to care for them and the benefits they can provide:

1. Housing and Shelter:

  • Provide a clean, dry, and well-ventilated barn or shelter for the cows to protect them from extreme weather conditions.
  • The barn should have enough space for each cow to lie down comfortably, and it should be equipped with proper bedding, such as straw or wood shavings.

2. Feeding:

  • Ensure the cows have access to fresh, clean water at all times.
  • Provide a balanced diet, which includes good quality hay, pasture grass, and supplemental feed rich in essential nutrients.
  • Cows will graze on pasture, so having access to ample grazing land is essential. Rotate grazing areas to prevent overgrazing and maintain the pasture’s health.

3. Milking Routine:

  • Establish a regular milking routine, typically twice a day, every 12 hours. Milking at the same time every day helps maintain the cow’s milk production.
  • Clean the cow’s udder and teats thoroughly before milking to ensure milk quality and reduce the risk of contamination.

4. Health Care:

  • Regularly inspect the cows for signs of illness or injury. If you notice any health issues, seek advice from a veterinarian.
  • Schedule regular vaccinations and deworming to prevent common diseases.
  • Trim hooves regularly to maintain healthy feet.

5. Calving:

  • Prepare for calving by creating a separate, clean, and comfortable area for the pregnant cow to give birth.
  • Monitor the pregnant cow closely for signs of labor, and be prepared to assist if necessary, or call a veterinarian if complications arise.

Benefits of Keeping Milk Cows on a Homestead:

1. Fresh Milk: One of the main benefits is having a reliable supply of fresh, nutritious milk for your family. Milk cows can produce a significant amount of milk daily.

2. Dairy Products: With fresh milk, you can make various dairy products like butter, cheese, yogurt, and cream for your own use or even to sell or trade with neighbors.

3. Sustainable Farming: Raising milk cows on a homestead supports self-sufficiency and sustainability by providing a source of food and nutrition on your property.

4. Fertilizer Production: Cow manure can be composted and used as a natural fertilizer for your garden or crops, enriching the soil and improving yields.

5. Connection to Nature and Animals: Caring for cows fosters a connection to nature and animals, promoting a sense of responsibility and understanding of animal husbandry.

Remember, keeping milk cows requires commitment, time, and effort, but the benefits they bring to your homestead can be invaluable. Having fresh milk and dairy products at your disposal and witnessing the nurturing and growth of these gentle animals can be a truly enriching experience.

Some villagers will learn to make butter, cream and a whole range of cheeses which they will be able to sell to other villagers or on the market. The dairy calves can be slaughtered at 8 months old. Cows are lactating for 270 days a year. We need three cows for

Value of milk available for human consumption: 14 Liter. x 270 days = 3700 Liter.; bottle-fed calf drinks 800 litres in about two months before weaning; net 2900 Litre. If you milk only once a day and allow the calf to nurse instead of feeding it with a bottle, the calf will drink more milk daily and can be weaned when it’s 8 or 9 months old. In this situation, you could expect about 1700 litres. of milk for human consumption per year per cow

Average consumption of 200ml per day per person. Thus 50 pax need 10 litre per day which is 3650 liter per year. We should thus have three cows so that 2 are always in production and we have 5000 litres per year – of which we drink 3700 and we use 1300 for the production of cheeses.


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