What To Know About Raising Cows

Home Improvement

For most homesteaders and small scale farmers, cows can be described as the white whale of livestock. It is always top of the list but just out of reach.

Most cows are larger physically compared to other livestock, which means they need more space and infrastructure. The space necessary to raise cows is significantly more than that needed for sheep and goats. Even mini cows cost a lot when you consider the initial cost and maintenance.

1. A farmer can raise cows to sell the offspring a cow produces or to get meat and milk.

It is advisable to know what purpose you have for your cow before you purchase it. The reasoning behind this is the amount of money, resources, and time you have to invest in cows. If you know how you plan to use the cow in your homestead or farm, you can utilize your investment wisely.

According to a specialist, the first thing people should ask themselves when purchasing a cow is why they are raising it. The answer will guide you in acquiring the type of infrastructure and land you need. A cow can be raised for meat and milk for both residential and commercial use. If the cows produce calves each year, they can be sold to create more cash flow. Once the owner decides what their goal for having cows is going to be, putting up efficient land and infrastructure will be possible. See here for ‘robotic milking system‘.

2. Raising cows for milk only on small scale is expensive

Cows normally produce milk after their first calf, typically when the cow is two years old. Once the cow gives the colostrum(first milk) to its calf, it is ready to be milked.

Cows need to have a baby to produce milk. Once they do so, as long as they are milked, they will produce milk. A farmer can milk a cow for two years before she’s dried up, even without having another calf.

Selling milk is not always an easy task, though. There are various laws controlling milk production that make selling milk difficult. A small scale dairy rarely brings in profit.

13 states(including Maine, Pennsylvania, and California) allow the sale of raw milk in their stores. 17 states allow farmers to sell raw milk through ‘cow-share agreements’. In this case, farmers are paid to keep, feed, and milk the cows.

3. You should know where you will process your meat if you intend to raise cows for beef.

Many homesteaders and farmers buy a cow and raise it to get homegrown beef. The advantage is that they will be certain the beef is fresh. However, butchering a cow is a complex process that needs a person with specific skills and tools. It is best to have a good idea of the place where you will process your beef.

If you raise a cow for beef, it will be ready to eat after twenty-eight to thirty months when the cow is feeding on grass. If the cow is feeding on grains, it will be ready to eat at fifteen to sixteen months. If you want to keep some beef in a freezer instead of buying from retailers, the best option is to buy a heifer that is around six to seven hundred pounds. During the summer, it will put on weight and come summer, you can take the cow to the meat processor and have them cut it up.

If you want to keep the meat for home consumption, you can get a custom slaughter facility. However, if you plan to sell the meat, the facility needs to be inspected by the state if you plan to sell in-state, and by the federal inspectors if you plan to sell across the border.

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