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Family Cow: Three Things to Consider

| 12/2/2019 10:10:00 AM


Keeping a family cow can be rewarding - endless access to raw milk, free lawnmowing service and fertiliser for your garden - but it comes with responsibility. Here are three things to consider before adding a family cow to your homestead.

Do you have time?

Depending on your cow, you may have to milk her twice a day for up to an hour. While this is not a huge time commitment, it is a regular one. You will be up early every morning, and you will need to be home every evening. Cows thrive on routine and will expect you to milk at the same times every day.

We have had some success with keeping the calf with the cow so that it can take most of the milk when we don’t need it. This way we reduced our milking to once a week when the calf was old enough to take the milk. But when the calf is young it will not be able to take all of the milk and you risk a cow developing mastitis (which can lead to death) if her udder remains full.

As you cannot predict how much milk your cow will make or how much the calf can drink, you need to be prepared to milk twice a day for at least several months she calves. Certainly if you want to continue milking high volumes you will need to be consistent in feeding and milking your cow twice a day.

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