How much space do dairy cows REALLY need?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by waddles99, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NJ
    I have already settled on 2 nigerian dwarf goats for milk, after hearing all the good things people had to say about them. After all the people who said that cows take up too much room, get goats, cows are dirty, get goats, cows give too much milk, get goats, I really couldn't overlook the pros of goats versus cows, even though ( don't let my goats know this, haha) I like the look of cows better. I was just curious, thinking, how much space do cows really need? Small breed, like dexter. 750 lbs max. How much space, dirt lot with all feed provided, would they need?
     
  2. chickenlover09

    chickenlover09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How much space do you have? My family runs a working ranch and we have 400+ acres. It depends on how much moisture you've had and how "grazable" the land is.
    We give 15 acres of land per cow here, but generally I would say 10 acres per cow.

    I use cows for milk and goats for pets :)
     
  3. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NJ

    Well it's more of a curious question, just thinking out loud haha, I know that my suburban yard cannot keep a dair cow. I have about 50 x 100 of woods that is mostly trees and ground shrub, plus about 50 x 50 of shaded area. Then, on top of that, a long stretch of probably future dirt that's 125 x 25. So, in total 10,625 sq ft. Or about a quarter acre. Which, obviously isn't a lot. So I would like to know if this is just crazy and would be 2" high in poop, and just be better with goats, or is it a decent amount of space for a dexter.
     
  4. chickenlover09

    chickenlover09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh. I wouldn't keep a cow. Just stick with the goats.

    Unless you really want a cow, you can find the smallest one and use it. Do you sell your milk, or is it just for you?
     
  5. H Diamond

    H Diamond Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Or where I live for grazing cattle it's 35 acres per head, lol.

    As for the original question, I would go with approx 750 sq. feet at a minimum per cow. More space if you have it... cows need to walk to keep those hooves trimmed back. Also to take into consideration would be low/high spots and shade. IMHO, you shelter should be in addition to that amount of space. Cows poop ALOT, so you'll also have to consider how you will manage the manure in the area and if you have neighbors how they will feel about the poop. Also.. the flies! Animals bring in flies, the more concentrated the poop, the worse the fly problem.

    There is no reason you could not happily keep a milk cow there. :) Another thing to consider is how you would breed her, as keeping a bull for one cow would be cost prohibitive. Cows also eat ALOT, lol, so consider that.

    The goats will give you a much better feed to milk ratio conversion. It all depends on which type of milk you want and what your plans are for it.
     
  6. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    Just a comment. While goats are more practical for a family the manure and breeding problems for keeping a cow are not all that difficult. You can buy fly predators over the internet and if properly managed they do an excellent job of fly control. There are artificial insemination services offered all over the country. It shouldn't be difficult to find one to impregnate your cow. Or a neighbor may have a suitable bull you can take her to.
     
  7. H Diamond

    H Diamond Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think I stated anywhere that either would be difficult. Fly predators are expensive... I certainly can't afford them.
    As for the availability of AI services... well that certainly depends on where you live. The closest AI service to me is over 4 hours away. If she gets say a dexter, then her breeding choices are going to be much more limited. If she gets say a jersey or holstein or something and doesn't care if the calf is a cross breed, then yes her choices open up. For our cow, we are able to borrow my BIL's low birth weight angus bull, then the calf is raised for butcher.
     
  8. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NJ
    Thanks guys…I think I'm going to stick with the goats instead of buying a massive cow for now.
     
  9. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    I bought fly predators several years ago and they weren't at all expensive. Maybe things have changed since I bought mine. If you keep a suitable environment for them you won't have to buy them more than once a year, if that. Before I bought mine I was at a dairy goat farm and I noticed there were far, far fewer flies than one would expect. I also noticed some fly predators. I asked the owner about them and she told me she hadn't bought any for over five years but they were still doing their job. She didn't use pesticides (which are far more lethal to the predators than they are to flies), and there were enough flies for the predators to survive on. If you kill off all the flies the predators will die too. My predators were doing fine until my brother decided, without consulting me, to spray. RIP predators.
     
  10. H Diamond

    H Diamond Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's interesting. .. I've never heard anyone claim them to work just purchasing one. At any rate, for me to order them for my corrals, would be $52 initially, then if I bought them again each month is $29. That's way more than I can afford for fly control. :/
     

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