How much space is needed for a cow or two?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by SlowSpyder, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. SlowSpyder

    SlowSpyder Lifer

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    The wife and I are looking at buying a new home in the next year or so. We don't want to be in a subdivision, we're looking at buying a place that has some land and is out in the country a bit. We were looking around 5-20 acres. We're not in 'buy' mode yet, but just looking and making decisions as well as getting our current home ready for sale.

    So, I was thinking, if I had 20 acres, is there any reason I couldn't have a cow or two? I know I'd need to provide food (grain, hay, whatever they eat) and do some research on exactly what is involved. I figured I could buy a couple calves and let them grow. When the time was right, I'd slaughter and butcher my cows. I like the idea of knowing exactly what my beef was fed, know where it's been. Then I can enjoy some ribeyes that I rasied from a calf. :)

    I think the biggest problem would be their waste. I assume they poop a lot. I'd need enough space that they don't have to live in their own filth, etc. I figured they'd pretty well eat any grass, so I'd provide grain/food for them. I don't suppose anyone here raises cattle or is in the industry and could tell me if this is feasible. Thanks!
     
  2. TwiceOver

    TwiceOver Lifer

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    Fully butchered? You'd probably need a couple deep freezers.
     
  3. Specop 007

    Specop 007 Diamond Member

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    The more feed you buy the less free range you need. The bigger the cows the more land or more feed you will need to buy. Not only that the land ideally should be pasture already.

    If memory serves I believe the average is around 5-10 acres of pasture per cow. I would advise checking with your local ag office, or spending some time at the sale barns and making some friends.
     
  4. Anubis

    Anubis No Lifer

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    send a PM to Dr Pizza, i know he does not have Cows but he shoudl be able to answer this question better then anyone
     
  5. SlowSpyder

    SlowSpyder Lifer

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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Yea, I know it'd be a lot of meat, I would certainly have to have a lot of cold storage. A lot of the places we look at had pole barns, I figured I could put freezers in there.

    The AG office, I assume I can just look them up for my state. I don't know much about this yet, but if I'm not selling the beef I figure there'd be no licensing or anything like that. But I'd probably need to talk to the AG office/authorities to iron that stuff out.
     
  6. sdifox

    sdifox No Lifer

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    it's a matter of municipal code. You may not be able to keep livestocks. Check that first.
     
  7. lokiju

    lokiju Lifer

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    Ask Dr. Pizza.

    He raises animals.
     
  8. Drakkon

    Drakkon Diamond Member

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    yep need to check on this - my uncle owns a plot of land in CA where he can have horses, goats, chickens, llamas and alpacas even. But NO cattle or pigs due to the smell.
     
  9. Specop 007

    Specop 007 Diamond Member

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    You can also can and dry meat, so you dont need to freeze all of it. You may want to invest in a pressure cooker along with the cows.
     
  10. MoPHo

    MoPHo Platinum Member

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    Veal only takes a stall and a lot of food...
     
  11. SlowSpyder

    SlowSpyder Lifer

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    Yea, I'm sure that I'd have to look into that. I don't know how all of that works, if I have to pay a tax to raise livestock, or if because I don't intend to sell it I don't need to do much of anything... obviously that's something that will be different from city to city, county to county, state to state, etc.
     
  12. Dumac

    Dumac Diamond Member

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    What, you and your wife want a steady supply of shrooms?
     
  13. DeadByDawn

    DeadByDawn Platinum Member

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    It all depends on how much hay you want to have to feed in the winter. My brother in law has about 10 cows on 20 acres, but he has to hay them in the winter.

    I think if you had only two cows, and rotated your pasture you might not have to hay them very much at all on 20 acres.

    Also depends on where you live too.
     
  14. Brigandier

    Brigandier Diamond Member

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    My mom raises cows and she just has like a thirty yard square set up for their pasture. She feeds them hay and grains and in the summer moves them to a larger pasture.
     
  15. SlowSpyder

    SlowSpyder Lifer

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    Ah excellent. That's good to know. I figured as long as they have food and don't have to live in their waste a few acres would probably be fine.

    What does your mom do with the cows? Does she sell them to farmers or something? Just curious.
     
  16. Brigandier

    Brigandier Diamond Member

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    Right now she's raising two for beef and is raising one for milk. She's also taking care of a fw other cows for family members.
     
  17. SarcasticDwarf

    SarcasticDwarf Diamond Member

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    It depends entirely on the condition of the pasture. 15-20 acres is more than enough room for a number of cattle as long as they are only rarely grazing. Again, depends entirely on local conditions. The state ag office can give you the formula used locally.
     
  18. mchammer

    mchammer Diamond Member

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    Probably about radiator size give or take.
     
  19. SlowSpyder

    SlowSpyder Lifer

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    I see what you did there. :) I look forward to cutting out alternator sized pieces of meat.
     
  20. sao123

    sao123 Lifer

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    I believe the numbri read recently was 10-14 acres per cow, unsupplemented.
     
  21. Insomniator

    Insomniator Diamond Member

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    How much $$ in beef does a cow have? I guess feeding it hay is cheap?
     
  22. AreaCode707

    AreaCode707 Lifer

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    Hay prices are anywhere from 4 to 15 a bale right now, depending on where you live and what kind of hay you're feeding.

    20 acres with a lean to shelter is more than enough for two cows. You will need to supplement feed, both with hay and probably also with grain. Factor in vet visits in the cost; you want to be eating healthy cow.

    Cows will live in their own waste no matter what you do, fyi. They're pretty messy and smelly animals unless you do a lot of clean up and washing, in which case you need to halter train them and socialize them pretty well.
     
  23. SlowSpyder

    SlowSpyder Lifer

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    Excellent... thanks for that info.
     
  24. waggy

    waggy No Lifer

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    with 20 acres he can do his on hay. A friend of ours has 2 horses and thinking of getting cows for slaughter. but right now she has 5 acres of hay. They have a deal with a farmer down the road. he has the machinery and will come do everything for free hay. they get 3 harvest a year. first one my friend gets (last them a year) the farmer gets the 2nd and they sell the 3rd and split it.

    They are thinking of getting a few cows. We are going to split the cost and meat.

    1 cow for a family is a hell of a lot but between 2 or 3 its fine. also it cut down the cost.

    hell spyder if you lived close to me i would go in it with you (well unless oure friends do it heh()
     
  25. AreaCode707

    AreaCode707 Lifer

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    If you do mom cow + baby cow for eating you can have milk too. :) My husband and I intend to do goats (mini-manchas) in the somewhat near future, and he'd like small cow like a mini-jersey or a dexter. Have you looked into what breed you want?

    Oh, and do you have kids? Cows make great 4H projects.