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November 6, 2009 | Animals | OS VINE

Got Milk?

SHE sure does! I would like to introduce you all to our family milk cow, Buttercup. She is 3/4 Jersey and 1/4 Holstein. You may be thinking as you look at her....hamburgers, steaks, roast... But not Buttercup! She represents milk, yogurt, keifer, cheese, ice cream.... I posted earlier about analizing expenditures in my budget book. I realized that I was spending about $130 per month on dairy products. We do not eat much meat and dairy products count as a large source of our protein. I began wondering if having our own cow might not be more economical. Naturally, this fits right into my love of cows (acquired during our time in Switzerland). Sure enough, after doing the math, we now have our own cow which yields us more dairy products and of better quality than before. She costs us less than $100 per month. That includes her initial purchase price (depreciated over 3 yrs), grain, alfalfa, hay, and vet bills. You may notice the bell that she is wearing. It is an authentic Swiss cow bell. Brought back from our travels. It is so nice to hear her tinkling (the bell that is) around the house. We milk her twice daily (morning and evening). Newly freshened (when her milk comes in after calving), she gives about 8 gallons/day. After about 60-90 days, she tapers down to 5-6 gallons/day. Once bred again, she further drops to giving 3-4 gallons/day. I must add that her milk is 20-25% cream - that's real whole milk! I would never have imagined that a cow could have such personality. Not only is she stubborn as can be, she is also very personable. If we are outside, she comes like a puppy (a BIG 900 lb. one) just to be in our presence. She comes when called at milking time and waits eagerly for her grain. She obeys and is responsive to commands, especially if it is something she wants to do anyway. Buttercup has an all-you-can eat buffet; our lawn grass and hay, accented with spoils from our garden, kitchen scraps and SCOBY's. In return, she gives wonderful milk from which we enjoy making cheese, other dairy products and just drinking. A very good book to read is Keeping A Family Cow by JoAnn S.Grohman.


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