The Family Cow
The cow has been been living with humans for about 10,000 years.
The cow is the premier dairy animal due to her cooperative temperament and the versatility of her milk. She can turn grass/hay into milk, which in turn we can drink and make all sort of cheeses, butter and yogurts – all the while she is nursing and fattening up her calf. Her manure can be used as compost, which in turn can help support and nurture your garden. Let alone the joy you can get from such a symbiotic, ancient relationship.
The heritage or mini cows are now popular among families who want a dairy animal. Their small size (36-42 inches tall) means they eat less and need less space. A normal-size cow produces anywhere from 6-10 gallons of milk a day, where the miniature jersey cows produce anywhere from 1-4 gallons, with 5% butterfat. And it's true, once you have had raw milk it is nearly impossible to go back to pasteurized.
There are, of course, challenges to owning any animals. And remember, to keep a cow in milk you must breed her annually. You also need to make sure you have enough space and are able to afford feed and vet bills and have the time to care for your cow.
A cow becomes part of the family and this ancient give-and-take relationship can change your life.
So when considering a dairy animal, do not forget about the cow!