I have some VERY, VERY exciting news (and I bet you can guess what it is!) – in a month’s time, we are going to become first time cow owners! (Cue the excited squeal!) For months I’ve been connecting with an amazing farm that raises Jersey cows, waiting patiently to see if there would indeed be a cow for our family. And the answer is yes, yes, yes! She is a registered Jersey in her second lactation, she is in milk and has been exposed to a bull, so we’re hoping she’ll be bred when she arrives in mid-October.
Even though we raised Alpine dairy goats for years, we’ve never cared for a cow. So, I reached out to my favorite cow-owning homestead bloggers for their VERY BEST tips for a new cow owner. Here they share the advice that they wish someone had given them when they first got a cow!
Katie from livinlovinfarmin suggests that new cow owners be prepared!
“And in prepared, I don’t just mean physically and emotionally for the long hours and the physical strain it takes to manage and milk a cow, I mean a well prepared, well-stocked medicine cabinet.” (Katie has put together an amazing guest post detailing her cow medicine cabinet, which I am really excited to share in the near future – thank you Katie!)
Quinn from Reformation Acres reminds us that cows are creatures of habit.
“Know well the condition of your cow and give her proper attention. These gals thrive on routine and do best if they know what to expect each and every day and get the hands-on attention they deserve. Livestock is a huge and yet highly rewarding commitment and what they are offering to you and your family is an extremely valuable (and delicious) return for the time and effort you’ll put into them.”
Connie from Urban Overalls shares her experience with the less glamorous side of milking a cow!
“While I currently do not have a milk cow, I grew up milking cows. The one thing I wished I had known or that my siblings who had milking duty before it was passed to me was … tie the tail to something to prevent it from swishing around if the cow has loose bowels that day. The last thing you want is a poopy tail swatting around you”
Ashley from The Browning Homestead at Red Fox Farm suggests having a cow mentor.
“Be sure that you have a few resources that you can turn to when you have questions or concerns. A few good books and then one other person who is experienced with family milk cows is invaluable!” (And by the way, Ashley is an amazing source of cow information. I have been known to email her photos of potential cows, just to get her advice!)
Ashley from Whistle Pig Hollow votes for coming home with an experienced cow.
“For a first milk cow, I highly suggest getting one who has been milked before, so at least somebody (the cow!) knows what’s going on when milking time comes. And as soon as you get your cow, start working with her and getting her comfortable with the future milking routine (assuming she’s not already in milk). Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out to people with more experience than you! Our local dairy farmers, our neighbors who own cows, and the man we purchased our milk cow from have been so helpful.”
Heather at Green Eggs and Goats knows that a cow will win your heart!
“Be prepared for your cow to become more than just livestock. A milk cow quickly becomes a treasured member of your family.” (Awww!)
For all of you cow owners out there, what is YOUR best piece of advice for a new cow owner?