Why you might need cows on your homestead🐄

Jan 05, 2022
Cows on the Homestead

For way too many years we waited to add cows to the homestead. We are 10 years into our current property and just got a bull and a heifer. Take a look at their picture below.

I gonna go out on a crazy limb and say that now I would suggest cows over just about any other animal as the started animal for a homesteader. BUT let me clarify a few things.

1. you need to have solid fences and good pasture
2. you need to understand animal husbandry
3. you can't be afraid of large animals.

ok as I typed that out I realized that I need to tell you a few more things about where we are as homesteaders.

We have been homesteading for a little over 18 years now. You name the animal we have had it on the homestead. Except for rabbits, unless wild ones count?

Goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, turkeys, guinea, broilers, pigs...

Why that matters is fairly early into homesteading you will have to buy animals or worse yet! someone will try to give you livestock. This is where things can go really wrong really quickly.

You need to know what a good animal looks like and if the farmer selling is being honest with you. So it might be best to start with chickens and work your way up to cows. It's way easier to bury a $3 chic than a $2000 calf.

Ok so now onto cows and why you should have one or more.

1. manure - they make lots of manure which is amazing for all kinds of soil life. We pasture raise ours so there's no mucking out stalls or anything like that. Grass goes into their mouths and comes out the other end as fertilizer.

2. Impact - they weigh enough that if you need to trample down some grasses or weeds they are your best bet.

3. fencing - we put a single wire called a poly wire around our cows and they respect it as their fence. It makes putting up fences and moving fences really easy. Which in the end makes your life as a homesteader way easier.

4. Milk and Beef - really these should probably be their own lines. but no matter where you are with your wants they will give you the most. The downside is for beef you need to wait at least three years for a beef cow to be ready for slaughter. For milk, you need a calf which means you have to wait a bit for the momma to have the baby.

You will also need to learn about pasture management. Which is a good thing! You need to know how to know when the grass should be grazed and when it shouldn't. How to plan when the cows need to move to new grass. After a bit of time, you can walk into a pasture and know exactly what's going on. It's also my favorite thing to teach! (just in case you need help)

The last thing I'd say is you need to have a couple of acres of grass that you can devote to the cows. Generally, the rule is 1 cow and acre but you can push that to 3 cows an acre. You can also find smaller breeds like a dexter that will take less grass to raise. If you have questions about this let me know, I can help you decide.

My challenge to you. Think about getting a cow, think about skipping goats and just milking a cow instead.

Peace and Love,
Drew and Lacey

Not sure where to start with homesteading?

Try The Homestead Open House


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