A lot of homesteading prepper families choose to invest in a homestead dairy cow for their property. This will provide a lot of milk for your family – and possibly some extra for your pigs, if you’re raising those as well.
You can consume the milk, or create yogurt, ice cream and other items from her milk. Each type of cow and size will produce different amounts of milk, so you may want to consider a smaller option such as a goat (see video below) if your family doesn’t use much milk.
Or, if you live in a prepper community, you could share the milk with others in the community – along with the chores of raising it. It’s critical that you milk your cow at the same time each and every day, so scheduling is important.
Some people have questions about the safety of drinking raw milk, but you can also buy a pasteurizer for your family to use. They’re not expensive and it will provide you with the same safety that you get off the grocery shelves.
It can get expensive to raise a dairy cow if you’re having to buy all of your hay, but many prepper families grow their own, so that cuts down on the cost of raising your dairy cow quite a bit.
You can visit a dairy farm and ask if they have any lower milk producing cows they want to get rid of. If the volume isn’t enough for a dairy farm, they’ll often sell off the cows to a family that requires a much lower volume of milk.
Most experts recommend that you get a Jersey dairy cow, but there are many choices. You want one that’s gentle and won’t be hostile to you or your small children in a farming situation.
You have to make sure that your property has room for her to graze and roam around. If you get a Brown Swiss or Dexter cow, then you can allow for more grass grazing than hay feed, which saves you money in the long run.
Your dairy cow will produce milk twice a day for about a year. After about 10 months, give her some time off for a few months and then let her produce another calf to begin milk production again.
Remember that your water supply has to be enough to provide for a dairy cow’s needs. They can drink anywhere from 25-40 gallons of water each day. Be sure you have enough water for her and the needs of your family.
Your homestead dairy cow might produce anywhere from 2-8 gallons of milk per day, so make sure you don’t over-invest in something that’s going to make all of the milk production go to waste.