An experienced homesteader discusses the pros and cons of one family keeping either a cow or a goat for their milk supply.
Cows, goats, sheep, water buffalo, camels and, even, horses have been successfully milked by hand for thousands of years. Though it's an age-old practice, milking a cow by hand is not as easy as it may first appear. It’s best to know what you are getting into before you take on this important farming task.
Cows love routine. The more things stay the same for cows, the safer and more secure they feel. Here is my abbreviated list of best practices for milking a cow, learned over many decades in the barn.
Your homestead is complete when you get your own cow for milking. But problems such as a cow who holds her milk or who kicks can make milking difficult and even dangerous. Here are some helpful hints so that you can enjoy your cow and enjoy milking her.
Cows are big, powerful animals, and milking puts you right beside the strong hind legs and feet. If you find yourself with what I call a kicky cow, there are steps you can take to manage the animal.
Carmen Ortiz shares stories of visiting grandpa on his urban farm where she learned to milk cows, avoided the outhouse and gained an appreciation for gardening.
Sue Weaver provides her expertise on making homemade cheeses and yogurt and how to raise a happy, healthy, and highly productive backyard cow.
Bob-White Systems is bringing the cows back home by providing supplies, equipment and support for Micro Dairies, Home & Farmstead cheesemakers and small-scale producers of local and farm fresh dairy products.
The summer days are getting longer, and so is the list of barn chores! Goats are kidding, cows are arriving, and a dream of having a raw milk dairy is becoming tangible.
Steve Judge of Bob-White Systems in Vermont offers his Micro Dairy expertise in this blog series on how to start and manage a Micro Dairy, from farm and barn planning to selecting dairy cows, goats and sheep to daily operations and being profitable.
There is much to be learned when taking care of dual-purpose cows including how to avoid birthing problems and retained placentas, how to manage mastitis and when to do artificial insemination.
It’s spring euphoria, bovine-style! Just released onto grass from winter confinement, these bouncing belles proclaim their preference for pasture.
How and why I started using leftover raw milk as a natural soil supplement and fertilizer on my dairy farm.
A native southwestern milkweed seed is now available, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Terroir Seeds, The Xerces Society and Painted Lady Vineyard over the past 2 years.
Why raw milk? Why goat milk? Things to consider for good health and nutrition for you family. Also a trick to get stubborn kids to nurse from a bottle.
Mark Oldham shares childhood adventures of taking care of dairy cows and beef cows including milking, herding cows out to pasture and employing a cattle call in Appalachian country.
Hand milking and the ease of doing so, always lends itself to many questions. I try to answer some of the most commonly asked questions in this post.
Bucket milkers offer small and micro-dairy farmers affordable and reliable system for milking cows. Here are my basics for how to use a bucket milker on a micro dairy.
How installing a pipeline milking system can help dairy farmers of all sizes make the most of their valuable time.
When I'm introduced to a new acquaintance, the introduction often ends with, "Bryan farms." Like it's the most interesting thing about me. Well, maybe it is.
A boy growing up in Appalachian Country shares the farming practices of his family.
Growing Local Food is a new book that encompasses all the needed basics to grow plants, keep heritage breed animals and bees. The author is a homesteader and physician who gives the readers the basic information to grow or find nutritious, local food
Managing the feed regimen for cows in a micro dairy environment is a matter of setting clear goals and understanding what your cows need.
A MOTHER EARTH NEWS sweepstakes winner donated her prize to a farmer in need.
A short post about how we built and designed our new cow and calf barn for hot and cold weather.
Learn how to decipher milk labels in order to purchase the best milk and cream.
Learning to raise cows is more of a challenge than you would imagine!
I can hear it now: “What the devil? Angus? They are not milk cows!” Well, it all got started when the neighbor purchased four, what he was led to believe were, Black Angus calves from someone in a valley some distance from us. But the udders on these two cows were huge! They clearly had more milk than the calves could handle.
So, what are Purple Hull Peas? They are a green shelled pea that cooks into a creamy, yummy delight! They are easy to grow and can also be found at local farmers markets.
Any rancher will tell you, the secret to a healthy, productive herd of cattle is good bulls. Henry the bull may not be perfect on paper, but he turned out to be the perfect bull for Rancho Cappuccino.
Milking is a fun and easy chore! Here are some hints on milking in an easy fashion.
We buy a Jersey cow to use as a calf foster mom.
A big benefit of running the private and FDA-certified Bob-White Systems Dairy Lab is that we get to see what works and what doesn't work to keep milk clean. “Clean," for our purposes, means that it passes Vermont's Tier II Raw Milk Standards, which happen to be some of the most stringent in the country — more stringent than federally regulated pasteurized milk standards. At the lab we perform FDA-certified testing to ensure raw milk producers are compliant with Vermont’s standards.
Robert Zwald finishes his short memoir with a record of his Wisconsin farm in the 1960s and the growth of his family. This is the eighth part of his stories, as compiled by his daughter, Ruth.
There are some questions worth exploring, find out if there is a BEST way to clean your goat's udder before milking.
New organic milk contains Omega-3, which is not approved as an additive to certified organic milk. The Cornucopia Institute found this illegal synthetic additive in new organic milk in its latest investigation.
The popular idea that the Chinese have always shunned milk products is quite inaccurate. Try Anne Mendelson's wonderful recipe for Chinese "Fried Milk" to see how wrong we've been.
Find out what makes sour milk different from buttermilk, and get ideas for putting past-its-prime milk to good use.
Use milk crates to build this beautiful, sturdy free-standing furniture piece.
How to finance your micro dairy and manage your budget for success.
A guide to creating realistic goals for your micro dairy based on your own experience.
Understanding and effectively executing a breeding program depends on understanding the calving cycle and when and how to dry a cow off in preparation of calving.
Silvopasture is a newfangled word for wooded pasture. Basically, all it means is that you are using wooded land with trees and forage for pasture. The trees can be managed for firewood production and/or saw logs and provide welcome shade and shelter for your livestock and forage.
A cow is born at Sunflower Farm!
After almost 50 years of raising cows and dairy farming in New England, I’ve developed what I consider to be 15 universal truths for micro dairy owners.
If you have access to raw milk, it's surprisingly easy to pasteurize it on your own kitchen stove. Here are the basic steps you need to follow.
This is the favorite version of mango lassi served in Indian-American restaurants.
You'll love Anne Mendelson's recipe for the delicious cold beet soup from Poland known as chlodnik litewski.
Here's some hints on how to juggle cheese-making among the many other homesteading chores. Mozzarella and cheddar can both be woven in while doing other tasks, but there's nothing like clabbered cheese for ease of making.
Judy Mimranek shares her father's time-tested tip for digging a root pit and covering it with layers of straw and cow manure in order to store fruits and vegetables through the winter.
The farm is looking into buying some TB-free Ayershire cows.
When you have goats, you need to do something with all that milk. Why not try making Queso Blanco, an easy cheese which tastes great and cooks well.
Did anyone ask if you wanted your milk to be homogenized?
Learn how to make nut milk, a delicious beverage of its own and a nutritious alternative to cow’s milk that can be turned into nut yogurt, nut cheese and even nut ice cream. Almond milk is the most popular type of nut milk, but any nut will work.
With its recent FDA approval, the first LiLi pasteurizer was purchased for use at a New York micro dairy.
The flavor and shelf life of the milk you sell directly to consumers are directly impacted by how the milk is produced and handled on your farm. Here are my best practices for handling and producing the highest-quality, most delicious milk on the farm.
How to make cajeta, Mexican-style goat's milk caramel.
In Greece and Turkey, revani is the general name for a family of cakes made (usually) with durum-wheat semolina or a semolina-flour mixture, which are soaked after baking in some kind of syrup. You'll adore this simple, lemon-flavored version from Turkey.
Miniature cows may be half the size of standard cattle, but as MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader Corinne Talkin writes, these diminutive breeds have big personalities.
All land is not created equal when it comes to raising animals on a micro dairy.
Robert Zwald grew up in the 1900s, farming in Minnesota. This is part two of his stories from the past, as compiled by his daughter, Ruth.
Life with goats, sheep, cows, chickens and other livestock isn't all roses. Publisher Bryan Welch considers the value of finding and keeping the right partner for tackling life on the farm, goose poop and all.
A Grade 1 group come through the farm for a tour
Goat School is over for a few months, and now the routine will be a little more normal! Great questions were asked at Goat School and some of those answers are shared.
Docking of dairy cows serves no purpose and causes pain and discomfort for the
The cold, hard facts about how Annie Warmke, goat herder extraordinnaire, found her calling in a barn with Eleonore Rigby and her two tiny kids.
In our culture we are used to government regulations telling us what to do – can we talk on our cell phones while driving? Or, should I wear my seat belt? Or has this food been properly processed? Raw milk is your chance to embrace your rights and freedoms and do your research and ask the hard questions – you have no one else to rely on to do this for you.
A look into each dairy breed, on how much milk each one averages and what to expect in taste.
Using fresh raw cream to make butter by hand.
On my kitchen counter sits a quart of milk that my kefir grains live in. In a couple of days that milk will turn into the nutritious kefir.
Learn from the trials and tribulations of a beginning dairy goat owner!
Overdue does, goats with bloody milk, harried milkmaids... Oh where does it end?! Life isn't ALWAYS roses in the goat life; sometimes it does leave you tired frustrated.
A really nutritious snack for the kids, and they can, ummm, play with it!
Nutrition breakthrough lets health conscious consumers drink in the benefits of Omega 3s.
You'll love Anne Mendelson's delicious recipe for syrniki (also known as tvorozhniki, or Russian pot-cheese fritters). Like pancakes or French toast, this useful breakfast/brunch dish can be given any number of sweet or savory spins.
Even dairy goats can have self-esteem issues...
GloryBee Foods announces today that the company adds Aunt Patty's Organic Creamed Coconut to its selection of natural foods.
According to the USDA, consumers can feel secure in the accuracy of the biobased claim and can make better informed purchasing decisions.
Our little farm received the USDA Value Added Producer Grant and we are embarking on an exciting future. Be with us from start to finish.
Whether or not it was devised by clever Mexican potato growers, the cheap, easy to build, and space-saving potato tower is a unique alternative to rows, barrels, and other methods for planting, growing, and bringing in your season's spuds.
We're lucky to be able to live the way we do, even when we feel like we're melting
Farm life is not always predictable, and some of the surprises turn out to be the most valuable lessons. This story from the ranch about some strong winter-born goats, a protective cow with motherly instincts, and a calf that’s making it against all odds will not only inspire you, but it may teach you something about the wonderful spirit of community support.
Why I have never trimmed my cow' nails in 8 years of running a micro dairy. Read on to choose whether you want to be trimming your cows' hooves.
Cut old milk jugs into the shape of your choice, rough them up with sandpaper and string them together to make surprisingly pretty window shades that offer privacy while letting the sun shine in.
Dairyman Nick Snelgar reflects on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health certification process and bagging hay for winter on his UK dairy farm.
When one of her goats starts looking for love for the first time, and hollering her little head off, Angela has to do some quick thinking to keep her precious pets from becoming that night's dinner!
Learn from the trials and tribulations of a beginning dairy goat owner.
Many of the herbs used for beauty and health today have been tested and tried over centuries. A new article by James A. Duke, Ph.D., discusses the history and uses of flax, myrrh and others.
The author discusses setting up small-scale dairy for local, doorstep milk sales in Great Britain.
Getting ready for Goat School is always a daunting task, but once all of our new friends start arriving, we get excited! What a great time learning all about goats!
Summing up pasture data where it relates to chickens and customizing land to better suit poultry and their behavior and stomachs. Measuring oil viscosity levels and rescuing a trailer with a portable winch were some of our favorite things.
So maybe you can't afford the pricey furniture and decor on display at the design shows in Milan and Vegas. Just take a look at these ideas and start riffing.
For those of us who hate to use chemicals in our gardens, in our homes, or with our livestock and pets, diatomaceous earth may be a safe and efficient substitute. It may worm your animals, rid them of fleas and lice and even handle indoor pests.