By: Jenna from The Flip Flop Barnyard, Contributing Writer
We are very fortunate to have recently acquired a family milk cow. Her name is Gertie and I just love her. What she brings to our homestead and offers to my family is just priceless. I see owning a cow on the homestead is a such a valuable (maybe even the most valuable) resource for my family and our farm. Here are my top 5 reasons why I own a milk cow (and maybe you should consider one too).
5 Reasons to Have a Cow on the Homestead
1. Milk and Dairy Products
The first and (I think) most obvious reason to own a cow is for milk. Fresh, clean raw milk has so many health benefits. The milk alone is such a wonderful product but we can’t forget all of the things that can be made with milk like: cheese, kefir, yogurt, butter, buttermilk, sour cream, ice cream…….. I could go on and on but I know we are all just getting hungry.
Not only does this wonderful milk nourish my family (it tastes pretty amazing too!). It also offers nourishment to the other animals on our homestead.
We can use extra milk (not that there is any extra milk very often) to feed our chickens and/or pigs. We also use the leftover whey to feed our other animals. We sometimes soak their feed overnight with it.
AND who doesn’t love homemade ice cream? That is enough in itself to own a cow!
Since I’ve already gone and made you hungry I’ll just make it worse (you can thank me later). When you own a cow, you will need to have said cow bred, to continue getting a sufficient amount of milk. The resulting calf can be a great source of home raised, grass-fed beef if it is a bull calf.
Typically, a family milk cow will be bred each year. This would provide your family with the ability to raise all of your own beef.
Just think of all of the ground beef, steaks, briskets, steaks, ribs, steaks, loin, and did I mention STEAKS? That is some good eats ya’ll!
3. Pasture Management
If you have a decent amount of land to work with, you can use your cow (or cows, whatever the case may be) to manage your pasture. Between keeping the pasture growth level managed, the cow’s manure will fertilize and nourish the ground resulting in beautiful, lush grazing for your cow year after year.
Being able to move your cow around to different sections of your pasture with rotational grazing is a great benefit to both the cow and the land as well.
Similar to the pasture management, the manure can be placed into a compost pile to break down. This is an amazing additive to your garden soil. You will have some rich dirt with this mixed in and your veggies will love it. This is one of the richest ways to improve your soil.
You can also use whey to fertilize your plants. Bonus, bonus, bonus!
Owning a cow also enables you to generate income for your homestead. There a couple of ways you can do this. One would be selling the beef you get from calves or selling older steers on hoof for meat. If you have more than one cow, selling one steer for beef would definitely help off-set the expense of owning a milk cow. If you have heifer calves, you can sell them as family milk cows. You will be able to get a decent price for your heifer and the satisfaction of helping another family enjoy the benefits of owning a milk cow.
This is just a small list of benefits. I enjoy the daily companionship of milking my cow as well. There are many other great reasons to own a cow. What are your favorite reasons?
Want to learn more about owning a family milk cow from The Flip Flop Barnyard?
- How To Prepare For A Family Milk Cow (On A Tight Budget)
- How To Build An Elevated Milking Stanchion
- Homemade Udder Balm
Jenna is busy being a wife and a mom to six kids. She and her family are working towards being self-sustainable. They have laying hens, pigs, a family milk cow, and raise meat chickens from time to time. The also grow a large vegetable garden from spring through fall. They are learning as they go through their homesteading journey.
You can follow their homesteading journey over at her website The Flip Flop Barnyard.
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