Archive for the ‘Before You Buy – What to Know’ Category

Family Milk Cow 102: Chapter 3

March 20th, 2010 by Kim

Here’s this month’s final chapter.  Time to get ready to motor.

Chapter 3:  Getting Home

The divider in this slant load is too high for our Dexters & needs to be kept swung away.

Once you’ve made a final decision on which cow to purchase, you’ll need to make arrangements to get her home.  If you don’t own or have access to a suitable trailer, you can either ask the seller if they’re willing to transport the cow for you (and you need to be willing to pay them for it) or look into a transport company.  If you’ll be hauling her yourself, here are some ideas to help you have a good trip.

The Trailer:

Any safe stock, horse or combo trailer will be fine for your new bovine to travel in, just be sure to check for any places where she could get hurt.  Either a ramp or a step-up will work, but if you have a step-up trailer try to park for loading in a place where your cow will have the shortest step possible, as a high step is not as easy for cows as it is for longer-legged horses. If you’re using a horse trailer, check the height of any dividers compared to your cow – especially if you’re getting a mini breed.  You don’t want her to try to duck under a divider & get stuck or seriously injured.  If the dividers can swing away it’s probably best to do so.  It also helps with loading to have interior lighting, because cows have limited depth perception which makes them unsure about going from well-lit surroundings into dark.  And if you’re going to be hauling in nasty weather, you’ll need to consider the wind chill factor your cow will be dealing with in a more open stock trailer, and think of a way to offer some extra protection.

Family Milk Cow 102: Chapter 2

March 13th, 2010 by Kim

Now that you’ve had some time to do your homework, here’s the next installment for this month.

Chapter 2: Buyer Beware

The fun part is actually going and looking at the cows you’re considering for purchase.  As tempting as it is to just pick one & go buy her, especially if you have to travel a distance, you really should go visit in person at least 2-3 cows before making your final decision.  This is the time to check details.

Registration & Identification:

Ask to see the cow’s registration papers and any DNA test results that are available.  Check the animal’s ID, whether a tag or a tattoo, and make sure it matches the paperwork.  If it doesn’t, or if the animal or information doesn’t seem to match up with what was advertised, proceed with caution.  You don’t want to buy an animal with the wrong papers and if the owner dismisses the issue or insists everything is fine, you may not want to do business with them.  If things are in order, also ask if they have a sale contract you can see. (more…)

Family Milk Cow 102

March 7th, 2010 by Kim

Spring is springing, and so are the cows!  It’s the time of year we get the itch for something new…and for some of us that something new is a cow for our own fresh milk.  This month I have another article for those who are shopping for a family milk cow, to follow up on the article from January.  Once again, I will post it in three chapters.  Hope you find it useful!

Family Milk Cow 102:  Bringing Home the … Beef

Hopefully now you’ve had some time to evaluate your facilities and develop a plan, and to work on getting some cow education.  Once you’ve decided what breed of cow you want, or at least have it narrowed down to two or three options, it’s time to start doing some more serious research & shopping.  Here are some things to consider and steps to take before you close the deal.     (more…)

Fireside Education

February 4th, 2010 by Kim

These cold, dark winter evenings are a good time for curling up in front of the fire with a hot mug & a good book.  It’s a great time to get your farming education.  Before you buy your first cow you’ll want some good resources on the bookshelf and as much information as you can fit in your head.  The selection of books available is about overwhelming & it can be hard to figure out which ones will be really helpful.  I certainly haven’t read everything, but I have found several that are great & some that were not so great.  Here’s my recommended reading list to get you headed in the right direction.

Family Milk Cow 101: Chapter 3

January 14th, 2010 by Kim

If you’ve just found us – Welcome!  If you’re looking for information on finding a family milk cow, we hope to help you with that.  This is the third part of this month’s article, so if you haven’t read the first two yet we encourage you to start at Chapter 1.

Chapter 3:  The Animal

After you know that your facilities are ready and that you know how to take care of your cow, it’s time to bring the RIGHT cow home!  So many cows to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?  Here are some questions you’ll need to answer to help you make that decision.

Do you want a registered animal?

Registered animals will cost more – but if you sell off calves, that cuts both ways, and you’ll have a guaranteed market, too.  Figure out if you’ll have a market for unregistered or composite animals.  Breed associations can be a great source of information & other members will often be quite helpful to the beginner.