How Cows Make Milk

We take it for granted that cows and other mammals make milk for their babies and for us. The process is truly a miracle of nature. What follows is a brief explanation of exactly how cows make milk.

Why We Fence-Line Wean Our Calves and Why You Should, Too

Spring is a common time to wean calves, but as any animal caregiver knows there's more to weaning than just separating the calf from its dam. When we wean calves, our preparation tasks must start several weeks earlier. We fence line wean to lower their stress and give calves a healthy start.

How to Choose Cows for a Micro or Small-Herd Dairy

There’s a lot to think about when choosing the right cow for a small herd or micro-dairy, but it is worth taking the time needed to select an animal that will best fit you and your farm.

ArkV Adventures, Part 2

So, the gals are on their way to New Hampshire to pick up heritage cows, and so far, it's going smoothly — but there are bumps in the road ahead, so hang on! (Spoiler alert: They all made it home fine: two cows, two pigs, and two galls.)

ArkV Adventures, Part 1: Transporting Livestock in Winter

The farm hasn't had cows in 50 years — but Kara wanted cows. Not any old cows; no, a special heritage kind. nd where were these cows? In the mountains of New Hampshire, half a continent away! Time for a road trip to pick up and transport livestock in winter!

How to Milk Your Cows in 30 Minutes

Milking your cows is a repetitive chore. Steve Judge, a long-time micro dairy farmer details his process which demonstrates through efficiencies how you can do it in less than 30 minutes.

10 Steps for Calf Care on a Small-Herd Micro Dairy

Learn ten step to raising calves so that they will grow to become tame, calm and well-mannered cows. Steve Judge, a long-time micro dairy farmer takes us through the steps he follows on his farm.

Animal Handling

How big of a priority are good animal handling facilities?

Brownie the Milking Angus

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.

A Brief History of Milking Cows by Hand

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.

Grazing Your Cows on Wooded Pasture

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.

How To Milk a Cow that Kicks

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.

How To Milk a Cow

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.

Overcoming Problems When Milking a Cow

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.

Feeding Cows on a Micro Dairy

Managing the feed regimen for cows in a micro dairy environment is a matter of setting clear goals and understanding what your cows need.

Cows Jumping for Joy (Video)

It’s spring euphoria, bovine-style! Just released onto grass from winter confinement, these bouncing belles proclaim their preference for pasture.

Our Annual Learning Curve with Cows

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.

Reader Delights in Miniature Cows

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.

Permaculture Chicken: Pasture Basics

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.

Teaching Homesteading--in a Nutshell

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

How to Start & Manage a Micro Dairy in 26 Steps – Step 2

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.

How to Start & Manage a Micro Dairy in 26 Steps: Step 1

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.

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

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.

Panting Like Lizards

We're lucky to be able to live the way we do, even when we feel like we're melting

Cheesemaking: Simple and Fun

Sue Weaver provides her expertise on making homemade cheeses and yogurt and how to raise a happy, healthy, and highly productive backyard cow.

Visiting Grandpa on His Urban Farm

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.

Epilogue: The Wisconsin Farm

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.

Uses of Diatomaceous Earth on the Homestead

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.

Purple Hull Peas?

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.

Dairy Cows in Appalachian Country

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.

Fostering Community

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.  

Finding Time to Make Cheese

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.

Marriage and the Marks of Farm Life

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.

Why do we call it Rancho Cappuccino?

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.

Henry the Discount Bull

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.