General Cow Questions

black_cat

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Hey all! I have some (currently) hypothetical questions about cows. I asked them over on BYC but I realized this is a better spot. My main questions are:
-how much space does a single cow need?
-What breeds of cows should you get for milk? I know that jerseys are a thing that exist, same with heifers, but I'm not really sure on the benefits of each and such.
-if you have over double the space per cow, can they be supported fully by pasture without the need to supplement hay/feed?
-Is there a male:female cow ratio that works best, like for chickens?
-do cows get lonely/do you have to keep more than one?
Beware, if you answer my questions, I'll come at you with a dozen more :D =D
-adding new cows- do they need to be integrated like chickens? Or can you just add them together?
Thank you!!!
 

farmerjan

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Okay.... going to come back at you..... ;):frow can you put your general area in your profile so that when someone answers questions, they can tailor the answer to your area.....

ALL ACCORDING to where you are located....... the answers will be different. Here in Va we figure that 2 acres per head on a ROUGH AVERAGE...... different grasses, condition of the pasture.... all DEPENDS......

Jerseys are one breed of dairy animals. Not sure what you meant when you said heifers.... heifers are an AGE of all cattle breeds.....Not a breed. Heifers refer to a young female that has not yet had a calf..... often a female that has her first calf is called a"first calf heifer" ..... after that she becomes a cow. Like a pullet and a hen......
As far as dairy breeds, Holsteins, Ayshires, Brown Swiss, Guernseys, Jerseys, Milking Shorthorns, Dutch Belted, Linebacks, then there are others like Sweedish Reds, Montbeliarde, Milking Devons, Kerry,...... and more.
There are alot of crosses, and often a dairy/beef crossbred will milk just fine for the house.

Again LOCATION, will determine the answer to if an animal can be supported totally on pasture.... but my initial generic answer is NO.
In dairy breeds, you do not want to keep a bull to breed. Dairy bulls are noted for being very tempermental. If you have one or 2 cows you should get them bred AI. Cheaper than feeding a bull for 11 months for a few days work in a year. SAFER for all involved. If you have a herd of beef cattle, a bull will do best with 25 +cows..... but again... he will work for about a month and then be an expense for the other 10-11 months. They still eat and with nothing to do, once all cows are bred.... they will be looking over the fence.... and when a bull wants to go somewhere, 99% of the time you will not keep him in. BULLS are NOT for inexperienced people. 1500-2500 lbs of hormones is not for someone that has no/little cattle experience.
Cows are herd animals. They do better with at least one more of their own kind. Many people will keep a family milk cow and raise an animal for beef. The cow then will have company most of the time. Get her bred so she will come into her milk, and then she will have a calf to keep her company as it grows.
Adding any new animal, you should practice healthy methods.... for disease control..... and yes, some will fit into a situation well, and there are bullies and such..... They are just bigger, and so they can hurt one another more..... some animals just do not get along, and to introduce a new one into anothers' existing "domain" sometimes does not work.
 

Baymule

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How many acres do you have? What kind of fencing do you have and is it in good condition? You would be amazed at what a small hole, a big cow can squeeze through. Most states have laws that if your livestock is on the road and someone hits them, it is YOUR fault and you are held liable for any damage to vehicle or people.

If you want a milking animal, what about goats?
 

black_cat

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Okay.... going to come back at you..... ;):frow can you put your general area in your profile so that when someone answers questions, they can tailor the answer to your area.....

ALL ACCORDING to where you are located....... the answers will be different. Here in Va we figure that 2 acres per head on a ROUGH AVERAGE...... different grasses, condition of the pasture.... all DEPENDS......

Jerseys are one breed of dairy animals. Not sure what you meant when you said heifers.... heifers are an AGE of all cattle breeds.....Not a breed. Heifers refer to a young female that has not yet had a calf..... often a female that has her first calf is called a"first calf heifer" ..... after that she becomes a cow. Like a pullet and a hen......
As far as dairy breeds, Holsteins, Ayshires, Brown Swiss, Guernseys, Jerseys, Milking Shorthorns, Dutch Belted, Linebacks, then there are others like Sweedish Reds, Montbeliarde, Milking Devons, Kerry,...... and more.
There are alot of crosses, and often a dairy/beef crossbred will milk just fine for the house.

Again LOCATION, will determine the answer to if an animal can be supported totally on pasture.... but my initial generic answer is NO.
In dairy breeds, you do not want to keep a bull to breed. Dairy bulls are noted for being very tempermental. If you have one or 2 cows you should get them bred AI. Cheaper than feeding a bull for 11 months for a few days work in a year. SAFER for all involved. If you have a herd of beef cattle, a bull will do best with 25 +cows..... but again... he will work for about a month and then be an expense for the other 10-11 months. They still eat and with nothing to do, once all cows are bred.... they will be looking over the fence.... and when a bull wants to go somewhere, 99% of the time you will not keep him in. BULLS are NOT for inexperienced people. 1500-2500 lbs of hormones is not for someone that has no/little cattle experience.
Cows are herd animals. They do better with at least one more of their own kind. Many people will keep a family milk cow and raise an animal for beef. The cow then will have company most of the time. Get her bred so she will come into her milk, and then she will have a calf to keep her company as it grows.
Adding any new animal, you should practice healthy methods.... for disease control..... and yes, some will fit into a situation well, and there are bullies and such..... They are just bigger, and so they can hurt one another more..... some animals just do not get along, and to introduce a new one into anothers' existing "domain" sometimes does not work.

Okay.... going to come back at you..... ;):frow can you put your general area in your profile so that when someone answers questions, they can tailor the answer to your area.....
Will do. I'm currently in CT but I'm hoping to move to Vermont or Maine.
ALL ACCORDING to where you are located....... the answers will be different. Here in Va we figure that 2 acres per head on a ROUGH AVERAGE...... different grasses, condition of the pasture.... all DEPENDS......
Jerseys are one breed of dairy animals. Not sure what you meant when you said heifers.... heifers are an AGE of all cattle breeds.....Not a breed. Heifers refer to a young female that has not yet had a calf..... often a female that has her first calf is called a"first calf heifer" ..... after that she becomes a cow. Like a pullet and a hen......

Ok, thanks! I had heard the word heifer with little explanation (chatting with friends on backyard chickens, actually) so I had thought that it was a breed.
As far as dairy breeds, Holsteins, Ayshires, Brown Swiss, Guernseys, Jerseys, Milking Shorthorns, Dutch Belted, Linebacks, then there are others like Sweedish Reds, Montbeliarde, Milking Devons, Kerry,...... and more.
There are alot of crosses, and often a dairy/beef crossbred will milk just fine for the house.

👍
Again LOCATION, will determine the answer to if an animal can be supported totally on pasture.... but my initial generic answer is NO.

What do you have to supplement/feed with aside from providing the pasture?
In dairy breeds, you do not want to keep a bull to breed. Dairy bulls are noted for being very tempermental. If you have one or 2 cows you should get them bred AI. Cheaper than feeding a bull for 11 months for a few days work in a year. SAFER for all involved. If you have a herd of beef cattle, a bull will do best with 25 +cows..... but again... he will work for about a month and then be an expense for the other 10-11 months. They still eat and with nothing to do, once all cows are bred.... they will be looking over the fence.... and when a bull wants to go somewhere, 99% of the time you will not keep him in. BULLS are NOT for inexperienced people. 1500-2500 lbs of hormones is not for someone that has no/little cattle experience.
Sounds good. No bulls to start. Got it.
Cows are herd animals. They do better with at least one more of their own kind. Many people will keep a family milk cow and raise an animal for beef. The cow then will have company most of the time. Get her bred so she will come into her milk, and then she will have a calf to keep her company as it grows.
Ok, makes sense.
Adding any new animal, you should practice healthy methods.... for disease control..... and yes, some will fit into a situation well, and there are bullies and such..... They are just bigger, and so they can hurt one another more..... some animals just do not get along, and to introduce a new one into anothers' existing "domain" sometimes does not work.
Aside from the required quarantine, do you need to do any see-but-don't touch integration like with chickens (sorry I'm tying everything back to chickens, I just have the most experience with them), or any other things like adding more food/water stations, or just generally the precautions that you take with chickens? Is there a cow equivalent, or do you just quarantine the new cow, then add the new cow in and supervise the supervision?
 

black_cat

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To clarify-- these questions, are all currently hypothetical as I'm not in a position either land-wise or money-wise to get cows (or horses, or sheep, or anything else I ask about) I"m asking these questions because I'll almost definitely forget them, and I'm trying to plan. I'd like to get myself a nice big country property and fill it with animals, but that's a while off, so right now, I'm planning everything, calculating costs, space, etc.
 

black_cat

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How many acres do you have? What kind of fencing do you have and is it in good condition? You would be amazed at what a small hole, a big cow can squeeze through. Most states have laws that if your livestock is on the road and someone hits them, it is YOUR fault and you are held liable for any damage to vehicle or people.

If you want a milking animal, what about goats?
For the purposes of these questions, let's say I have 10ish acres I can devote to cows. What kind of fencing is best?

I'm considering goats as well-I'm going to make a thread quite similar to this one in the goat section with goat specific questions. I'm trying to get as much information as possible so I can plan accordingly.
 

Baymule

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I joined BYH from BYC. I read and studied the forums for 5 years before we moved to our 8 acres. I learned so much, there is LOTS of information in the forums. Pick an animal on the forum. Each one has multiple topics, start reading, topic by topic. If moving is in the future, it gives you time to study and make better decisions.
 

black_cat

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I joined BYH from BYC. I read and studied the forums for 5 years before we moved to our 8 acres. I learned so much, there is LOTS of information in the forums. Pick an animal on the forum. Each one has multiple topics, start reading, topic by topic. If moving is in the future, it gives you time to study and make better decisions.
That's what I did with chickens- read, read, read- and now I'm pretty good with most subjects. I've been reading your thread on Pearl and I've already learned so much about horses. The forums are great.
 

Fishychix

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How many acres do you have? What kind of fencing do you have and is it in good condition? You would be amazed at what a small hole, a big cow can squeeze through. Most states have laws that if your livestock is on the road and someone hits them, it is YOUR fault and you are held liable for any damage to vehicle or people.

If you want a milking animal, what about goats?
I’ve heard a lot about mini cows. What is your opinion on those? They sound like a great alternative, as well as goats, of course.
 

black_cat

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I’ve heard a lot about mini cows. What is your opinion on those? They sound like a great alternative, as well as goats, of course.
I"m not being asked, but MY opinion on mini cows is that they're adorable but for some reason not as appealing as big cows..........but mini cows aer pretty cool.
 
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