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Minature Cow/acreage requirements

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by rd200, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Apr 23, 2012
    rd200

    rd200 Lovin' The Homestead

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    I have been thinking about getting a milk cow for some time now. Only 1 problem..... I live in TOWN!!! We have been trying to find a farm to buy for over 2 years now with no luck yet. Anyways, i work on a dairy farm, and they have some space around their freestall shed, heifer shed, and other various low lying, hilly spots where the grass grow nice and lush and they dont mow it or till it, so i was thinking of asking them if i could pasture a cow in these areas since they dont use them anyways and they always look kinda sloppy and overgrown. My question is, how much agreage does a small/miniature cow need to be fully grass fed?? (well, grass fed from May-october here in WI) There is a particular cow im looking at on craigslist right now. ITs a belted galloway/ dexter miniature cross. She said its 38" at the top of its back. It has a 2 week old bull calf at its side and is producing a gallon of milk a day for them+ feeding her calf obviously. I like the cross combination, i havent gotten a picture yet to see her Udder or confirmation. Just trying to figure out how i can swing having her by my employers if they have enough untilled land to support her. I woudl have to make very portable fence and move her around everyother day too. Plus some shelter of some sort. Any ideas on how much a minature cow eats????
     
  2. Apr 23, 2012
    SSDreamin

    SSDreamin Almost Self-Reliant

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    I can only speak from our experience/what we've been told. With really good pasture, you are supposed to be able to support four miniature cows per acre. On our previous property, about 1 1/2 acres was 'lawn area', and we just tied our cow out and let her graze. A miniature cow doesn't damage the turf, so she mowed (and fertilized) as she went. We still had to mow our lawn, because she just couldn't eat that much! We are setting up a rotational pasture system here. She also lives in a 3 x 6 hutch right now - what will become the pig house when we get her barn built. Are they selling the cow/calf as a pair? You will need more space, or divided space for that (but, you work on a dairy farm, so you know that, right?!), and a dry place to milk her. The biggest difference between miniature/full size cows, is milking height. We are training ours to walk up a ramp to be milked. Some people just sit on the ground to milk them. In the winter, our cow eats about one bale of hay per week, depending on weather.
     
  3. Apr 23, 2012
    rd200

    rd200 Lovin' The Homestead

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    Thanks!! Yes, they are selling the cow/calf pair for $1100. The cow is a heifer really, isn't quite 2 years old yet with this being her first calf. Yes, i know they will eventually have to be seperated. I will probably just casterate him young and then when he is ready to wean from the cow ill find somewhere else for him to go around the farm. Im assuming you probably dont get much meat from a minature steer!!! :rolleyes: I just like the fact that this is a cross, Im not really all that fond of Jerseys, and that seems to be the most popular of homesteading cows.
    She only eats a SMALL bale of hay??? per week???? Really??? most full size cows eat a bale easily in a day!!! or less!!! Wow..... im just trying to think how i would milk her. We have a chute for milking fresh cows in but that is a LONG ways from the pasture i was thinking she could habitate. Hmmmm, how do you find a stainless steel pail so short to milk into??

    This will be a big commitment since it would not be at my house. I should really wait until I have my own place, but i really want it NOW!!!
     
  4. Apr 23, 2012
    SSDreamin

    SSDreamin Almost Self-Reliant

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    We have heard that you get 70% of the meat of a full size steer, with 40% of the feed :hu Our girl (who just turned one, so has not been bred yet/ is still only 32" tall- and a Angus/Jersey cross, sorry :D ) will eat a bale and a half per week, if the weather is rough in the winter, but that's about it - getting her through this past winter was fairly cheap!. We have been searching for a small pail for her (so we're ready when she is), and have come up empty - DH is thinking we may end up milking into an ss bowl, then pouring that into a pail that's off to the side. Our's is very well behaved on a halter, so taking her any distance isn't a problem, but she thinks she's a dog, so that might explain it :p I have read many sites where people adore Dexters (Pinkfox, on here, wants to get one eventually), but we chose Ice Cream because she would give us everything we were wanting: Plenty of butterfat, plenty of milk (her mother gave 2 gallons a day while nursing her), and any boys will have angus in them (so, hopefully, good freezer beef). It is also my understanding that, after they are bred once the 'usual' way, miniatures take to AI quite well. We plan to get our girl a boyfriend though - for the minimal pasture/hay he'll need, it will make more sense for us (miniatures are scarce around here- so finding her a 'one night stand' might become difficult- and go for two/three times what they are asking for the one you are interested in!) Good luck and be careful - mini's are SOOOO easy to fall in love with! :lol:
     
  5. Apr 24, 2012
    rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Almost Self-Reliant

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    My last issue of one of the farming magazines had an article about this very thing and DH showed it to me. He said it takes 1/4 acre to keep this cow. It was so short, it looked almost like a calf. If I knew I could give myself another chore, I'd go for it, because milk is a major expense in my house.
     
  6. Apr 24, 2012
    pinkfox

    pinkfox Super Self-Sufficient

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    i have a friend who keeps a purebred dexter and 1 of her calves each year on 1/2 an acre, she has it divided into 2 feilds and rotates them back and forth frequently and keeps them off the dirt after heavy rains she says as long as there not given the chance to turn the pens into mud pits after rain 1/2 an acre is fine for the 2. she does live in an area with mild year round weather though so no wet/cold winters to deal with.

    i personally plan to get a dexter cow myself, i love dexters!
     
  7. Apr 24, 2012
    Denim Deb

    Denim Deb More Precious than Rubies

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    Personally, if I were to ever get a cow, it would be a mini Jersey. Jersey's are my favorite breed and I live in Jersey, so why not? :lol:
     
  8. Apr 24, 2012
    pinkfox

    pinkfox Super Self-Sufficient

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    i love jerseys too, but then i saw the price of the mini jerseys and well...yeah, OUCH.
    dextrers arnt cheap...but there cheaper lol (plus there naturally "mini" so no worries about any kind of damage from breeding down so drastically in size)
     

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