The cow is the most fertile and efficient animal on the earth. They provide fresh milk, butter, cream and cheese. They also produce rich manure that is good for a garden or land. Before you decide on a cow, you need to decide which type of cow you want; dairy or beef. Both types of cow have been specially bred to produce the best meat or milk. The dairy cow is made to produce milk and beef cows produce meat.
Before owning and taking care of a cow, there are many things that you need to know:
- Hay. A lot of hay will need to be provided for your cow. During the summer months, most lands will allow cows to graze but in the winter months, the hay must be provided. An older cow will need about one third to one-half a bale each day during the winter on land or if they are kept where pasture in not available.
- Fencing. A good fencing is needed to keep cattle on the land. If you are using a standard fence, it is recommended that a woven wire be used; it comes in a variety of heights. Electric fences work very well in most cases. These are used so that cows can move easily from one pasture to another. The cows will soon recognize and be familiar with discomfort of this type of fence and stay away from it. .
- Land for a pasture. A couple of acres is a good amount of pasture for one cow. In a drier climate, more acres are needed. The plants found in pastures vary from region to region. By talking to local ranchers, you will find out which types are best for your area. It is better if you are able to move the cow from one pasture to another one once in a while. This will give the plants time to grow and any parasites in the pasture to die.
- Shelter. You need to give your cow a shelter that is free from drafts. Many owners will use a three- sided shelter facing away from wind. Cattle do give off a lot of moisture and it needs to evaporate away from the cow, so do not make the shelter air tight. The shelter does not have to be spectacular in any way. Cows are very big, stomp around and will be knocking into it all the time.