Feeding A Cow For A Day

Discussion in 'Animal Husbandry' started by Tom Williams, Feb 4, 2018.

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  1. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    A cow will eat 3% of its body weight a day in grass hay straw 2% more in grains wheat oats corn milk cows eat a little more than that as they are feeding a calf now this is daily feed
     
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  2. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    So what does this mean a 1200 lb cow eats 24 lbs of grass and 2-3lbs of grain a day in simple numbers
     
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  3. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    A milk cow produceing milk eats about 100 lbs of hay grains a day
     
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  4. Janette L Hartje

    Janette L Hartje New Member
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    What would be a good, small breed of milk cow for me & my husband? We live on 2.5 acres but couldn't use all the milk a standard size dairy cow would produce. Any suggestions? We've thought about goats, possibly Pygmies, instead but we're not sure if we'd even like goat's milk ❣️
     
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  5. Rebecca

    Rebecca Expert Member
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    Hi Janette

    Perhaps research Dexter cattle. The are a small breed know as a "duel purpose" milk and beef.
     
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  6. Duncan

    Duncan Expert Member
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    Most people (including Dawn and I) can't even tell the difference between goat milk and whole dairy milk. except that goat milk seems a bit richer. We just moved to southern Idaho in 2018 to start a little homestead. We now have four goats, two Nigerian dwarfs and two myatonic ("fainting") goats. We have bred one of our Nigerian does and she will be kidding in early April. At that time, of course, she will come into milk and once the kid(s) are weaned, she should produce about a pound and a half of milk a day for at least another nine months. We have disbudded the goats at about 2 weeks of age.

    Due to their small size, Nigerians are not the best commercial producers for either milk or meat; however, since they can breed year round, two or three does will provide your homestead all the milk (including for cheese and soap) you'd need year round.

    Most commercial farmers would use Nubians for milk (>a gallon a day apiece) or Boers for meat (a weaned Boer kid will butcher and dress out at 50-80 lb (dressing out at 32-60 lb of meat).

    We're just getting started, of course; we have the four goats mentioned above and a dozen laying hens. I believe that goats and chickens are far and away the best animals to raise, since they can both produce two types of harvest: eggs and meat for chickens, milk and meat for the goats. We'd thought about putting in a calf this spring, since we have enough room in our pasture and raising the steer for slaughter in the fall, but it's just not worth the cost of feed and trouble raising it. We'd also thought of rabbits (probably New Zealand Whites), but again: too much trouble for the meat one gets.

    If I can get drawn this fall, I may go out and try to murder Bambi, but other than that, I think I'm good for meat. I can buy a half of a pig for a lot less trouble than raising and butchering it myself.
     
  7. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    miniature-cows.jpg Have you considered any of the miniature cow species?

    Just a thought.

    Dale
     
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  8. Duncan

    Duncan Expert Member
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    Here is an excellent article about the pros and cons of Dexter cattle, written by someone who owned them but no longer does.
     
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    1. TMT Tactical
      Duncan, did you use white ink? I can't find the link to the article. It must be my old tired eyes.
       
      TMT Tactical, Dec 3, 2019
  9. F22 Simpilot

    F22 Simpilot Expert Member
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    I'll pass on the cow for now and take the farmers wife instead. LOL
     
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  10. Duncan

    Duncan Expert Member
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  11. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    cows in my area are normally out in the fields grazing on grass, they are fed extra hay or what is known as "haylage" which is mixture of hay and silage as an extra in the winter months, depending on how severe the weather they are sometimes brought inside in the winter or when calving but are kept outside as long as possible. this is the traditional method of hill farming in this area.
    however some more commercial farms elsewhere do keep their cows in on concrete, they never go out, and are fed extra concentrates and feeds .
     
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  12. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    Most of the cattle that I have dealt with have been mostly of the free-range pasture variety. Most of the time they make a living off of grass. You fed them a little every day or so but that isn't so much to feed them as it is to get them trained to come to you. Then you supplement that with range cubes and hay when the grass growth slows down like in the dead of winter and when the summer is dry. The only cattle that you feed heavily every day are the ones that you have up near the house that you are milking or fattening up to butcher or sell.

    I think that there is a difference in this between farming and ranching. Many of our cattle ranches here are thousands of acres. My family's place was small at around 500 acres. We ran cattle and also farmed but most ranches are strictly cattle. A ranch provides cattle to the feedlots where they are then fed extensively to fatten up and are then shipped to slaughter. Only recently has there been much of a market for lean range-fed beef. The USDA prime heavy beef that you buy in the stores is several steps from the ranches that are primarily calf producing places.

    Dairy farms are run on a totally different model. Their interest in calves is minimal. They sell or sold the bull calves for almost nothing just to get rid of them and the heifers were either kept if they wanted to expand their herd or replace an older cow or sold to other Dairy type places. The feed bill for a dairy setup is massive.

    The thing that you need to keep in mind if you are interested in keeping some cattle as a prepper or survival type thing is that this is a TOTALLY different thing from either ranching or dairy farming. If you want to provide food and milk for your familly you have no need for a huge herd or a lot of land. Ranches are huge because they are SELLING cattle and the profit margin is so small that you can only make a good living at it by dealing in VOLUME. You have to sell a lot of cattle to pay for a truck!!! Most smaller ranches in Texas are actually kept as tax write-offs for rich people.

    In the old days, people made both a living and fed themselves with 40-acre farms. That was about what one man with one mule could work. YOU are most likely not going to have a mule! We are a little better off where I live in that we still have lots of horses in part because the prisons use them for high-riders (Guards in the fields). Most areas, once the fuel supplies are gone are going to be back to human-powered farming.

    You will want to eat two or three calves a year and then hopefully sell or trade a couple. You can do that with a very small herd. You can also grow corn and that will provide grain and some silage. My point is that you want to keep it small. A huge herd is of no use when you have no way to get those cattle to the markets. The old days of cattle drives are LONG GONE.

    Survival ranching and farming are small scale operations. Most of what is produced on ranches and farms go to paying for things that you won't have to worry about in a post-collapse scenario. Working cattle without horses has to be a tiny place. You can't chase cattle all over a thousand acres on foot. You just don't need a lot if it is just for your family. One or two good milk cows will produce all the milk that you will want. You will have milk to drink butter and probably want to make cheese. They can do this while also raising a calf. A good milk cow will produce between 2 and 9 gallons of milk a day. The big producers like the Holsteins can raise a couple of calves and still provide milk for your use. We used to buy a dairy bull and put it on our milk cow so she could raise us two calves for slaughter and we still had milk.
     
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  13. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    again I have to say that this subject will be different in America than it is in the UK, especially in my location, farms here are small and totally family run, sometimes by one man or one man and a teenager, sometimes more if the farm is large enough. this is hill farming country so the emphasis is on livestock not arable, arable farms are located at more low land locations and are usually a more commercial venture using "monocropping" methods.
    however if we are talking about POST collapse then everything changes, I do believe (in the UK) that we will be using the subsistence method of food production as the acreages are smaller than in the US, and smaller animals will be used, milk cows WILL NOT survive without anyone to milk them (which wont be possible without power given the huge herds these days)but will die in the fields within one week of the main event.
    if you want milk after the event I suggest a GOAT or a couple of goats, they tend to eat nearly anything they can get hold off. cows are large animals and can do you some serious damage-even kill you- if you get it wrong.
    for meat chickens and rabbits are a good favourite and were used by the Brits to supplement their rations in WW2.
    some of the smaller varieties of sheep like the Soay sheep may be suitable if you want anything more.
     
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  14. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    I agree with you Lonewolf. for a survival or prepper situation goats are much more suitable. They eat less and can eat things that cattle can't. The different breeds can offer milk, meat and wool and the size is much easier to deal with. Butchering a calf without refrigeration is a massive chore if you don't want to lose most of the meat. that is one of the big problems that we have in my part of Texas. Even in the dead of winter, we can't depend on enough cold days to make a leisurely process of butchering. There are not many times when we can depend on temperatures staying below 45 degrees F/ 7.5 C all day for several days. this is one of the reasons in the old days that the cattle raised in Texas were driven to Kansas City for fattening up, Slaughter and processing.

    For just feeding your family goats, pigs, chickens and rabbits are probably much better choices.
     
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  15. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    for a small group/family unit like ours a cow or a deer is just too much meat to process and store without a freezer, smaller animals that can be butchered more easily and any spare meat can be bottled for a later date.
     
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  16. Duncan

    Duncan Expert Member
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    You're pretty much right, Wolf; sometimes you can be stuck with too much meat. It's not a problem for me, of course, I've had several deer, a half a butchered hog, and lots of other meat safe and sound in my freezer ...

    ... which, of course works fine and would never stop working, right?

    One of my "gotta-do" projects would be to learn how o dry meat, make jerky, can meat where possible, and so on. If I keep a good supply of broiler chickens -- which go from hatching egg to dinner table in 7-9 weeks -- and maybe one Boer kid at a time in the chiller, when-and-if the electricity goes away, I won't have lost too much and will have enough smaller animals to make up the deficit. But Dawn and I have only been canning for a couple of years and we have much to learn.
     
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  17. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    my last post was , of course, from a post SHTF point of view. at present we have a fridge freezer and a chest freezer, the chest freezer is the meat freezer.
     
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  18. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
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    My future plans all involve small food animals. Currently I do rely on two freezers and of course a refrigerator but am completely aware of the need to live without cold storage. I did pass on the chickens. they seem to be more trouble than they are worth to us. Anther note: The food animals should be kept separated to avoid one disease from wiping out all the food animals. Rabbits in one area and guinea pigs in a different area. Good hygiene will also play an important point. Clean up before going from one group of animals to the next. Don't cross contaminate.
     
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  19. Duncan

    Duncan Expert Member
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    Admittedly chickens are stupid, dirty and a pain to clean up afterwards. But rabbit and guinea-pig eggs are all pretty small and not (so I've been told) all that nutritious.

    There's a woman up the street from me who keeps about 12-16 Cornish Crosses in a chicken-tractor that she moves every 3rd or 4th day to keep the area fertilized (given that a single Cornish Cross will eat over 10 lb of feed over a month-and-a-half, that's a LOT of chicken manure! Anyway, she will process the Cornish Crosses within 7 weeks from the time they came out of the shell, and does them as batches.

    What's really cool is that she doesn't dunk them in boiling water, then pluck them; she cuts a couple of well-placed slits in the extremities and skins them like you'd skin your rabbit or guinea-pig. She says that skinless chicken quarters are healthier. Anyway, she (with a helper) can eviscerate a broiler, skin it, quarter it, and pop it into a vacuum bag in about 7-8 minutes apiece. That's a dozen 4-pound broilers in a couple of hours, all of which go in the freezer. She does this about three times a year, and there's her chicken dinners for the year.

    You gotta admit it's pretty efficient.
     
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    1. TMT Tactical
      Very efficient process, smart Lady. Don't eat or use many eggs, Rabbit and Guinea pig waste makes excellent manure for small garden soil treatment. Just the two of us, so with trapping, snaring and hunting, should have a fairly good diet. I have seen videos of the movable cages and always thought it was a cleaver idea.
       
      TMT Tactical, Dec 10, 2019 at 9:45 PM
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