"I want to raise cows. Where do I begin? What do I need to know?
If this question is on your mind as you look into the venture of raising bovines, you're certainly not alone. This is a very common inquiry that most beginning farmers like to ask.
What most would-be cattle raisers don't ask is, "why do I want to raise cows? What's my context?"
Really, no matter what, this is first question you should be asking yourself, well before you get into the what-to-do, where-to-begin, how-to-start questions!
Why Cows & Cattle? Why Would Anyone Want to Raise Them?
If you were asking me, as someone who was raised on a farm, and who wants to get back into raising cattle again, it's because I've been around them for almost my entire life, either directly or indirectly. For me, they're my favourite farm animal. I've always loved hanging around them whenever I've gotten the chance to. I've adored listening to them grazing, the way they sniff at something they've never seen before, and just their very presence when hanging out with them in the pasture. They're smart animals, and they've taught me a lot; like patience. (I also like the end-life product they "give," in a way, that's as healthy and nutritious as could be; especially when it's grass-finished...)
They're big, powerful, and fast, and can be dangerous unpredictable if you're not watching them closely and don't know how they think and act. But in their own lumbering, tail-flicking, tough-looking way, rather humble, quiet, gentle and peaceful once you get to know them. (They have their moments of not-so-gentleness, naturally. But that's for another time.)
There's a certain kind of prestige and awe these bovines carry that are on par with the great bison of the prairies, and different altogether from what other animals like horses have. Cows, in my mind, are neither inferior nor superior to any other animal on the farm. They're their own level of awesomeness.
That's the philosophical side of why someone should get into raising bovines. The more practical side of these critters is that they are kind of like the Swiss Army knife of the barnyard. The provide all-natural organic fertilizer, organic all-natural grass clipping service, milk, and enough meat to last a family for a whole year. They can also make decent companions, and can be trained for draught purposes, or even for riding!
What Are Some Things to Know Before Getting Going Into Cows?
After you've figured out your Why, now it's time to figure out the What.
The most common questions folks always ask when deciding what to do and where to start are:
For the purpose of this blog post, because it reaches an international audience, I have to be careful about giving recommendations that may work for someone but won't work for someone else. Some people don't like such generalizations because it doesn't answer to their own situation, however the kind of recommendations I will give here are the kind of basic principles, if you will, that would apply to most beginner farming enterprises, no matter where in the world you are.
That said, there's still more questions that you may have that will apply to your own part of the world, or your own farm. That's where this comment section comes in, or where the Contact Me page on here comes in handy. I also highly recommend to talk to some experienced farmers in your area, and a local agricultural extension person who can help you out and get you pointed in the right direction.
For this post, though, my answers to these four questions to anyone asking me is as follows:
What Kind of Bovine to Go With: Beef or Dairy?
When you're trying to figure out whether to go with either dairy or beef (or even both), it's best to look at the advantages and disadvantages to raising either option first before making a final settlement. I would highly recommend to do this with your whole family to get a variety of different opinions.
About Beef Cattle
Raising a steer or two for the freezer is as close to being independently wealthy and having good food security--as long as the freezer is working--as a person or family can get. It's a great way to know where your beef came from, how it was raised and what it ate prior to slaughter. You just can't get that buying from Kroger's, Sobey's, Whole Foods, or other grocery stores.
With raising a steer for the freezer, you get to see and experience what it takes to feed and care for this animal. In my personal and humble opinion, it's a great way to get your feet wet especially if you're a first-time cow keeper. The greatest advantage is that you're not committed to raising that steer for years to come. Depending on how old he was when you bought him and when you want to slaughter him, you could be feeding and/or pasturing that steer for anywhere from less than a month to almost a full year.
For example, if you purchased a steer that was 6 months old and weighed around 550 pounds, and you're aiming to slaughter him when he gets to 1200 pounds, with a good feeding program (grain is optional, though recommended despite its bad rap), by around 6 to 8 months he would be ready for the freezer. Alternately, if you purchased a steer at 12 months old and just needed to put on a couple hundred pounds, within a few months he would be ready for Freezer Camp.
This a great option to consider if you only have a few acres and aren't able to purchase a bunch of feed for a whole year (and then some).
The only problem with raising a steer or two for the freezer is the risk of losing that animal before he's ready for Freezer Camp. Careless feeding management practices, contracting some disease prior to arrival to the farm, or other often unforeseen, though preventative factors would be an enormous loss to anybody starting out, and something I don't wish on anyone. But the risk is there, don't ever doubt that.
There is another option to the purchase-a-steer option: Starting with a cow-calf pair. If the calf is a male (a bull calf), he can be fed and/or pastured for the freezer. (Heifer calves can also be raised for beef, if need be.) The only downside to this option is that you will have to wait quite a bit longer than you would by purchasing a steer before you get any meat in the freezer. That wait could be over a year to almost two years, depending on the quality of feed/fodder you feed him (which will impact how fast he will put on weight in terms of fat and muscle), and what age and weight you want to slaughter him at.
The beauty of starting with a cow-calf pair is that you have even more options at your finger-tips. You can start with a beef-type cow with her calf, or you could go the way of buying a bred dairy cow and if she happens to drop a bull calf, you definitely can raise him up for the freezer. (If she calved a heifer, that calf could also be raised for meat if you wanted to, or kept to help grow the herd: whatever you choose.)
About Dairy Cattle
The greatest attractant for getting and having a dairy cow is that fresh milk straight from the cow. Even the old folks from generations ago knew the value of fresh farm milk that you just couldn't find at the store. While I don't want to get into the health benefits of raw milk, the fact that you can have your own milk cow has some marked advantages--as well as some drawbacks that you really need to know about. Right off, before I get any further, one very obvious advantage of owning and raising a milk cow is that you get your own milk on a daily basis from your own cow. You don't (usually) have to run to the grocery store to grab a carton or jug of milk when all you need to do is go out once (or twice) a day to bring in your cow to milk her.
Dairy cows have been purposely bred over many, many generations to produce a lot more milk than their calf needs. For instance, Holsteins, which are the most popular and most common dairy cow breed in the world, produce an average of 60 to 70 pounds (around 7 to 8 gallons) of milk per day. I don't expect you to get a Holstein as your first milk cow (actually, I highly recommend you don't), by comparison other less-producing dairy cows still can produce more milk than their calf needs, such as American Milking Devons, Jerseys, and Brown Swiss, which produce around 5 to 6 gallons of milk per day. I'm getting waaayy ahead of myself so I'll stop there. I'll talk more about breeds below.
Purchasing your first dairy cow will be based mainly on how much milk you will need that she will be producing. If you have a big family that loves their milk, then having a dairy cow that will be producing more than two or three gallons a day is certainly recommended. But, if you like some milk but don't want so much of it you don't know what to do with, and are unable to sell any of it (even if it's not legal to do so), then a breed that doesn't produce all that much is a far better option. Remember, your context is very important.
Another benefit of having a dairy cow is that there's opportunity to sell the calves or to raise some for beef for the freezer. Most people are limited in money and land in being able to graze and feed the animals in their care, so selling a heifer calf, once weaned off of her momma, is a good option. If the cow gives birth to a bull calf, he can be raised and fattened for beef once he gets to around two years old. Dairy beef can be just as good in quality and flavour as beef that comes from beef cattle. However, you may not get as much beef as from a beef animal.
The major drawback that comes with raising your own dairy cow is the amount of work and planning involved. It's certainly much more work than deciding what brand of milk and how much milk fat is advertised on the jug to pick up in a grocery store near you. The work is in feeding and grazing management, good milk production management, planning out the annual reproduction schedule (especially if you're breeding your cows via artificial insemination), managing and taking care of the calf, and yes, even manure management. It's work that's a bit more involved than just raising a beef steer or two for the freezer.
You really have to keep up with a regular milking schedule. Usually for milking twice a day, you're milking once every 12 hours. For example, if you're going to milking at around 7:00 am (or 0700 hrs for those keeners on the 24 hr clock), you will have to milk again at about 7:00 pm (1900 hrs). If you're more interested in milking once a day, I've no qualms about that either. Just remember to milk her at the same time every day. Don't milk her at 7:00 am one day then don't milk her until 1:00 pm the next day. She won't be very happy with you if you pull that stunt on her.
Perhaps the biggest job that most people starting out with their very first cow may not expect is the amount of work and the various steps involved in actually getting the milk. Like I said, it's not as simple as grabbing a jug of milk from the grocery store. Milking a cow isn't just a matter of throwing a bucket under her and pulling on her teats. Oh no, there's so much more to it than that!
You will need a milking stanchion to contain your cow for the duration of the milking. It's basically a form of head gate that keeps the cow in place, with a feed trough in front to give her treats and feed to keep her occupied while you are milking her, as well as to prevent her from moving around too much, or even from trying to run away especially if she's not used to you milking her out. Most milk stanchions are hand-made and wooden, designed for your preference and context. Many are built for an in a barn or building itself, and others are made so that they can be portable; but they must be made to handle a full-grown 1000+ pound bovine. They're also made so that it's easy to access the udder for milking--which is their purpose in the first place!
Next is the various pieces of equipment needed for milking. That's having a one or more stainless steel buckets handy, stainless steel lids for the buckets (a must-have), a stainless stee, milk storage container, stainless steel milk strainer with disposable strainers, several one-gallon glass mason jars with lids, a milking stool, teat dip with applicator cup, iodine solution, a California mastitis test kit, and clean rags. Stainless steel is a must have because they're much easier to sanitize and keep clean than any other item that is made out of anything but stainless steel.
Hygiene is very, very important for getting milk that isn't going to be a health and food safety hazard for you and your family. This means cleaning the udder and teats prior to milking, dipping teats in an iodine solution before and after milking, and protecting the pail of milk from cow poop, insects (like flies), and other foreign bodies that can contaminate the milk supply ensures that you have clean and healthy milk for you and your family. Then there's the actual physical process of milking; no matter if it's hand-milking or milking via machine, this takes time to get used to--to get into the rhythm of, literally. Finally, once the milk is collected, the milk must be put through a strainer and filter to separate out all the gross hair and tiny foreign matter that you really, really do not want to drink down. Then it's cleaning all the milk equipment before the next milking. And onward it goes; these steps repeating for every. Single. Milking. If you skip even one step, that means compromising the health of you and your family.
Speaking of health, it's important for the cow to check her regularly--probably every one or two weeks--for mastitis. Mastitis (infection of the mammary glands) can creep up when you don't expect it or want it to, and once it comes up it must be taken care of immediately for the benefit of both you and your cow.
And what about the calf? Conventional dairy operations separate the calf from its dam soon after birth and raise it with other calves completely separate from their mothers on milk formula and starter grains. But you're obviously not a conventional dairy operation and I don't expect you to operate as such... and please don't expect yourself the same. So yes, what about the calf? There is a way to be able to get milk from your cow and still keep her calf with her; it's called "calf sharing," and it involves basically juggling times when you can get milk from the cow while the calf is still getting its needed fair share.
Remember what I said about dairy cows typically producing more milk than their calf needs? That's the beauty of the dairy cow. A calf will drink between 1 to up to 2 gallons of milk a day, and if your cow is capable of producing twice that, then you're still able to get enough for yourself and your family without compromising what the calf needs. Some people will talk about separating the calves for a period of time--like half a day--so that their cow builds up a supply of milk for them; then they let the calf have milk for the rest of the time. It doesn't hurt the calf, particularly as it gets older and requires less and less milk (especially after it reaches 3 months of age), and both calf and cow still get ample time to be together.
What's the Best Breed to Raise?
Back when I used to peruse a few on-line cattle, this very question was always asked by every newbie cattle keeper to the veteran cattle folks. And the answer that was always given to every single novice was, "It depends." That said though, there was always opportunity for more than one cattleman on those forums to push their favourite breed, especially if they're raising a particular breed for seed-stock sales. A Hereford breeder would play favouritism to the Hereford breed over Angus or Simmental or even Brahman, and give out their little bit of propaganda to anyone who will listen.
Did you know that there are over 900 different cattle breeds in the world? Every single breed was created to serve more than one purpose, more than one context, for a particular environment and climate, meat and/or milk production qualities, body size, aesthetics (primarily coat colour and horns), foraging capabilities, attitude, reproductive capabilities, and so on. That many breeds should go to show you that what works for one person or operation doesn't necessarily work for someone else--or you. It should also go to show you that there, quite honestly, is no such thing as a single "best breed."
A few breeds have become more popular than others for their ability to quickly adapt or meet certain industry "needs" for a high-producing animal. Look at the dairy industry for example: The Holstein-Friesian breed is the single-most popular breed in the world primarily because it has been developed to be the highest-milk producing breed of any dairy breed in the world, and because it helps keep up with the demand for milk. Jerseys come at a distant second, mainly because of their high butterfat milk content that is great for making butter, some cheeses, ice cream, yogurt, and other dairy products that need the butterfat from the milk.
In the end, in order to choose what is the best breed for you, it's absolutely imperative to look at your entire context in a holistic manner. Here's a little checklist of some of the more common questions to ask yourself when deciding on what breed[s] to focus on for your first cows:
I realize that this list of questions seems very daunting to the absolute beginner who has no prior experience around cattle of various breeds. So, how about I lighten the load a bit by providing some more tidbits of advice to help you make your decision from my own experiences?
Those Cool-Looking, Best-Producing, Sexy Breeds are Not What They Appear!
I want to save you all from making the mistake of purchasing some animals just because they look nice, or look cool to have. Often the modest-looking animals are the best ones to start with, not the ones that have the best muscularity or have the prettiest coat colour. A big reason is cost, not just for the animals themselves, but also for the amount of care that has to go into keeping these critters.
Another outstanding reason is temperament, perhaps the most important of all. I really do not want any novice cow keeper to be saddled with some animals that are so damn flighty and crazy that they threaten life and limb every time said newbie has to get in the corral or barn with them.
A few notable breeds that are notorious for their craziness and flightiness are Charolais, Limousin, and Salers. The first two certainly have the "good looks" about them with the muscularity, but don't let that fool you. I've known, personally too, that most cattle of these two breeds aren't easy to deal with, and can be exceedingly intimidating for the novice to work with. In my own experiences, I've found that Limousin are a whole lot more challenging to work with than Charolais.
You'll get breeders of these breeds tell you that their cows aren't a problem temperament wise. But, you want to know a little secret? It's because those producers have been very diligent in selecting those cows and bulls to have good temperament, and culling those animals that do not. My advice: DO NOT end up with those culls!
Even so, I helped a local veterinarian do some bull breeding soundness exams on some Limousin bulls, and to this day I've never worked with anything crazier than them. And I've never heard the head-gate slam louder when they hit the bars with their shoulders at full speed nor had to stand back as long to wait for those crazy buggers to calm themselves down. Holy hell, I tell you!
What about those breeds that aren't nearly as crazy but still have that really nice muscling and big beefy bodies about them? Like Simmentals, Gelbvieh, Maine Anjou, Piedmontese, Belgian Blue, Chianina, or most of those other "Continental" (primarily European except those from the British Isles)?
Okay, sure their temperaments are pretty good, for the most part, but for the newbie that's looking for a smaller animal, they don't make the cut. Most of these cattle have mature weights of just their females alone upwards of 1500 pounds (680 kg) or more, and stand over 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 2 metres) at the shoulder. For the novice who already gets plenty nervous enough around animals that are obviously and just can't help but be bigger than a dog, owning some pretty big girls doesn't help that much, even if they're the most calm, sociable, petting-zoo-perfect cows on the planet.
The other significant factor running against these big girls is the cost of feeding them. The bigger the cow, the more she'll eat. Also, most of these breeds that I mentioned tend to be not so hardy and "easy keeping" or "good on grass alone" as one would want them to be. Most of these are going to be needing a daily helping of grain to keep them from losing condition; or, some better quality pasture than scrub brush and weeds. Simmentals do tend to be a bit on the end of being higher maintenance. And that can have a hefty--pun intended--impact on your wallet.
Speaking of high-maintenance, what about dairy cows? Well let me tell you something: The Holstein breed is undoubtedly one of the most high-maintenance breed on Earth. In order to keep a Holstein cow happy and healthy, you really need to be careful on what your feeding her and making sure that she really is getting what she needs to produce enough milk and keep her body in good function. (Jerseys can be just as bad.) That means regular graining, silage, high-quality hay, the works. If you don't feed her right, she will "go down hill" as they say (farmer's speak). She will get even thinner than she already is, really reduce milk production, not breed back, and just look not all that well. Unless you're willing to put in the time, money, and energy into keeping a Holstein as a family milk cow, I highly recommend to avoid this breed when starting out.
If you're going to get into having a family milk cow and want to be as "grass-based" as possible, then find a dairy farm that is as grass-based as you are wanting to emulate on your operation, and purchase a cow or two from them. Don't buy from a farm that practices dry-lotting, conventional-style feeding operations where they readily feed their cows a high-quality ration (including grain), and expect one or two animals you purchased from them to suddenly do as well on your farm without such necessary tender love and care. It's a mistake I've seen a few times by some small-farmer folk, and it's a mistake I do not want you to make yourselves.
Finally, there's the rarity and uniqueness factor. I have nothing against raising heritage breeds or owning certain breeds that are rare or threatened and are needing some special care to bring them back from near-extinction, but for the beginner, I don't recommend starting with those types of breed[s] UNLESS it fits perfectly within your context to do so, and you have someone lined up with whom you have made an agreement to purchase some animals from. Be aware, though, that purchasing these animals at the start will not be cheap. It won't be like purchasing some cull cows or a few commercial calves from the auction mart. The next steps will be planning out a way to breed them, and then to sell offspring to other interested parties aside from setting aside those for beef.
In the end, it's about size, temperament, and ease of keeping. It's also important to do as much research as you can--without getting that sense of paralysis by analysis--so that you know what you're getting yourself into, and so that you are armed with the information you need to have before getting your first bovine. That said, the next question to ask is, what types to start with??
What types of cows/cattle to start with?
The last couple of questions are basically a summary of what I've explained above. My advice to any novice cow keeper is to start with one or more bovines that are calm and docile, or at least as calm as the fact that they're not looking to jump the fence if you get within ten yards of them. They don't have to be super-duper friendly and pet-able like a dog or cat or even horse. That level of temperament is easier to find with dairy animals than with beefers. But, as long as they're calm and quiet when you first are introduced to them, then those should be your first choice over the prettier one[s] in the back that are giving you the Monty Python "Run Away!!" treatment.
Your First Beef (or Dual Purpose) Cattle
There are a lot of options a person could start with. I already talked about above with raising beef cattle to start with some yearling steers. For the interest of just raising a bovine for the freezer, that still is the best option above and beyond starting with a beef cow or beef cow-calf pair... especially if you're wanting some beef in the freezer sometime this or next year.
However, if you've enough land and money for feed (and to buy some animals), then there's nothing wrong with starting with, for example, one pregnant cow with a calf at side (often called a 3-in-1), and one weaned (or preferably yearling) steer. That way you have the steer to fatten up for the next several months, and once the cow's calf is weaned (if it's a bull calf), then that could also be raised for the freezer as well. If it's a heifer calf, she might make a good second cow in a couple years... depending on how things turn out with your first animals. Finally, if the calf the cow is pregnant with turns out to be a bull... well, you get the picture.
I've had people ask about starting out with heifers for their beef herd. While there's nothing stopping you from making that decision, my advice is not to unless you know what you're getting yourself into, and you really know you're getting some good quality breeding stock that will work well for your future endeavours; not some culls that are best fed up for the freezer! Heifers are certainly cheaper to get than one or two mature cows, but you're not going to get a calf from them until they're over two years old. In other words, if you buy some weaned heifers that are around 6 months old, you are responsible for making sure they get bred by the time they're around 15 to 18 months old, then you're waiting another 9 months before the calf hits the ground. Then, it's another 20 to 24 months to wait yet again for that calf to be big and fattened up enough to be ready for the freezer. Are you sure you want to wait that long (~4+ years) for your very own home-grown freezer beefer?
The other problem with starting with heifers is that they usually require more work and more monitoring especially when they're ready to calve. Heifers are notorious for taking a long time to give birth, and for getting dystocia (calving problems). Then, there's the worry if the first-time momma is going to bond with her very first calf. If a heifer shows signs that she's not accepting that calf, you will have to intervene to, first and foremost, make sure that calf gets its colostrum as soon as possible, then watch and wait and hope that calf is persistent enough to convince that first-calf heifer that [s]he needs her undivided attention!
If your heart is set on starting with a heifer or two (or three or more...) for your beef herd, add in one or two steers to raise with them so that you're not having to wait so darn long for your own home-raised beef. You'll thank me later for that.
Your First Dairy Cattle
For your very first family milk cow, please, please, please don't start with a heifer. Start your family milk cow enterprise with a mature milk cow that already knows the ropes with being milked, preferably both hand-milking and machine milking. An experienced cow who's also already birthed a couple of calves or more is so much easier to work with as a newbie cow-keeper than an untrained, inexperienced, very green heifer.
When it comes to having your own milk cow, and being inexperienced yourself, an inexperienced farmer working with an inexperienced heifer is a bad combination. Oh, it'll make your life quite interesting--to say the least--that's for sure, but it'll be too much stress for both you and that heifer to deal with. Make things easier on yourself by waiting to deal with a heifer until you've got some bovine experience under your belt with an easy-going mature cow.
Like I mentioned above with starting with beef heifers, starting with a dairy heifer means waiting until they're over 2 years old before you actually get any milk from them. Depending on how old the heifer was when you brought her to your farm, that could be anywhere from a full year or so, to over half a year if you purchase her already-bred.
Again, yes I do realize that typically the heifer option is often a cheaper option than buying a mature cow (or two), but trust me, biting the bullet and spending a bit more money on a mature milk cow will be worth it!!
What About Bottle Calves??
While I have no personal experience around raising bottle calves myself, I have heard and read too many horror stories of well-intentioned, good-hearted people (who were new to raising livestock) who decided to take in some new, barely a week-old bottle calves in to raise on their own. It wasn't uncommon to see posts of someone asking for help because their bottle baby suddenly got sick with scours or pneumonia or something awful... and then dying a few days later.
Leave the young bottle calves that are being sold for dirt-cheap (or even free) at the auction mart or even from the local newspaper to the more experienced folks who know what they're doing. It'll save you a lot of unnecessary stress in trying to figure out just what to do and how to do it, not to mention the heartache and guilt if one ends up dying on you.
Here's the thing: Bottle calves have a higher risk of dying of some illness than a weaned steer or heifer, or even a mature cow. There's a chance that these calves may have not had their colostrum yet, or that they're just so sensitive to the environment and different changes that happens to them that they can wind up ill on you. I really don't want you to have to go through that.
Bottle calves also take a LOT more work. I mean feeding every 4 to 8 hours, especially as new calves, making sure they eat their little bit of starter ration, that they're not cold and wet, those sorts of things.
You're better off with older cattle as a beginner.
How Many Cattle To Get?
Start small. Then work your way up. Even if you have to chase grass at first.
It depends on how much land you have. If you only have a couple acres I would suggest sheep instead. Maybe a steer (plus the sheep) if you have enough money to spend on feed and supplements to get that steer up to slaughter weight.
Remember, cattle don't like being lonely. They need one or more buddies to feel safe and secure, and not so alone. And yes, you can still say you have a herd even if it's only two cattle in your paddocks...
If you have at least 5 to 10 acres, then start with two. Or even three, if you're brave.
If you have more land than that, I'd start with only five or six animals. If you're feeling really, really brave (and have the money to spend), then you could go with more... but that's your choice. I'd still recommend limiting yourself to a half-dozen or less.
How much is too much? That depends on your pastures, and the amount of feed you can get. Feeding is the biggest cost for raising any kind of livestock, not just cattle. However, grazing is the cheapest way to feed your animals. If you have enough forage available and the right number of animals, technically you could really limit feed costs with grazing for most of the year, depending on your location. However, if you have many more animals than your pastures can support, you will be looking at some huge expenses with purchasing feed just to keep those animals.
How to determine how much your pastures can support? Talk with a local agriculture extension specialist to see what the local or regional average stocking rate is for your area. Never trust anyone who gives you the all-too generic, "one cow per acre (per month)" because there's a big chance that that value is not true for your location. The value may be grossly overestimating, or even grossly underestimating your stocking rate!!
Finally, estimate your stocking rate on the poorest growing year that your location has seen. What I mean is a significant dry spell that most farmers haven't seen in years which really reduces the monthly stocking rate for your area well below what's considered "normal." Start from there, then work your way up. ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY DO NOT start your stocking rates on the best, most productive season!! You will overgraze your pastures and end up feeding your animals for most of the year. If you end up in a year with some really, really great pasture production, you can either consider cutting it for hay for your animals, custom-graze some neighbours stock, or buy some feeder calves to graze for the summer and sell in the fall.
The key take-away answer this question above all is to Start Small and With Few. Then you can build up from there.
Are You Ready to Take the Plunge?
I hope this rather lengthy post has helped you out. I realize that I brought up quite a number of topics here that could be--and eventually will be--covered in separate blogs which I'm sure you're all itching to read. However, for the most part I hope I covered most of the basics with the whole daunting getting-your-first-cow aspect. If I missed anything, or you still have questions, or think I said something terribly incorrect, I would love to hear from you because your feedback is very important to me.
In the end, I can't stress this enough: Do your research, talk to other farmers and other like-minded folks, and don't sweat the small stuff. But start small, and if you make a mistake, that's fine. It's perfectly fine to make mistakes, so don't beat yourself up about it. Instead, learn from it and try not to repeat it again.
From here, I wish you the best of luck, and welcome to the world of raising cattle!
This is more of a "farmers/ranchers only" section where I share and expound on the various tips, tricks, and information on how to raise cows and cattle, from feeding and grazing to breeding, to handling and keeping them healthy. This is really for anyone who wants to raise cows, or is already doing so!
Range Nerd, Forage & Grazing Fanatic and a Bovine Enthusiast. A love for farming, and for the soil.