Management Plan for Dairy Cow

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From wikipedia: Proponents of unpasteurized milk make the argument that if milk is obtained from humanely raised cows that are grass fed and handled hygienically, then there is little problem with disease.[10] However, raw milk can become contaminated in a number of ways: by coming into contact with cow feces or bacteria living on the skin of cows, from an infection of the cow's udder, or from dirty equipment, among others. Improperly handled raw milk is responsible for nearly three times more hospitalizations than any other foodborne disease outbreak, making it one of the world's most dangerous food products.[11]

See also Raw Milk.

FeF Dairy


Once a day vs twice a day milking:


Butter tutorial Butter cont'd


  • Experimented with a wild culture, simply left it out overnight, by the next day it was fermenting. Drank some as kefir, then added lemon juice and pineapple juice, made a sweet curd that was reminiscent of ricotta. Delicious with raisins and cinnamon.
  • Kavitha gave us a culture that came with her from India. It makes a drinkable yogurt with a light, delicious flavor
  • Diversified by also using a greek yogurt culture, from some left over live greek yogurt. Great success.


Processing Materials:

  • Milking into a pasta pot
  • Filtered through milk filters (leftover from goat project)
  • Now we use this filter
  • Stored in large jars and refrigerated

Good Cow

Good Cow arrived on the second of July, 2012. She was delivered in the afternoon by Teddy, our neighbor dairyman, with the happy news that she was 45 days pregnant and due early April of 2013.

Handling tips:

  • Please don't raise your voice around her. Be quiet, and speak calmly and slowly with low tones. Don't ever yell, she won't understand what you're trying to say because she'll be too scared.
  • Approach her without staring her in the eye, look at her indirectly and walk up slowly and calmly with confidence. It also helps if you angle your body diagonally away from her, try not to square your shoulders towards her.
  • Don't be afraid of her, it will make her nervous. Cows to best with self-confident introverts, meaning someone who is cool, collected, calm, quiet, with smooth body language. Try not to fidget, make unnecessary movements, wiggle, jerk your body or run at her.
  • Try to see yourself from her perspective. Imagine a cow, in the middle of a bunch of grass, seeing a person walk up and approach them. What would that person be doing to make you calm and relaxed?
  • Please don't feed her. She's got so much nutritious food on the ground that she shouldn't even be bothered with people food.
  • When she's being milked, she'll give more milk if she's not bothered at all. This means that when I'm milking her in the morning and evening, it will be easier for both of us if we aren't approached by people so that she stays still and lets all of her milk down.
  • If you have any questions, you should definitely ask! Gabi would be happy to crosstrain whoever wants to learn to milk her and graze her.


  • Cow: small, cheap, Jersey, in milk, not too old but at least a year, from local dairy with organic practices.
    • Milk Jerseys in King City, 25 mi away - Teddy Pankau - +16604830567, +18165932316
  • Fence: 1/8 mile livewire
  • Rods: Rebar on-site cut to 60" - 37 rods
  • Solar Fence Charger
  • Shelter/Mobile hut: scrap metal 8'x8' on wheels Cow Hut Design
    • rain catchment running into modular attached water barrel



  • Capital investment: $1262
  • Labor: ~2 hours per day


  • Manure/Fertilization
  • Grazing weeds (putting ragweed to good use)
  • Soil Aeration
  • Human enrichment
  • Milk and derived products:
    • Milk: at least 2 gallons per day
    • FeF previously bought milk from the local grocery, in half gallon jugs, and paid $4 per half gallon plus a $2 deposit for the jug. Currently we consume all of GoodCow's milk, and if we were still buying this milk it would cost about $25 per day plus the cost of transportation.
    • Earning her keep: $1262 capital investment/$16 worth of milk per day = 70 days until she pays herself back
    • She will be officially paying us back, considering ONLY the value of her milk, by late August. She'll still have months left of milk left in her, not to mention the calf coming next spring, and one more year of milk. After that year, we can choose to breed her, and her calf could be our up and coming dairy cow.
  • The only benefit that is easily quantified into capital is the dairy production, but the benefits to the land are highly valuable to anyone who wants to grow food in this soil. The manure will add nutrients, which will yield better plant growth, yielding better water retainment, mycelial growth, erosion prevention, and directly converts less useful weeds into more useful foodstuffs.

Grazing Plan

  • From spring-fall rotational grazing, on ~2 acres until the forage is mowed, then moved. Timing for rotation depends on forage available.
  • Grazing on land that isn't eroded, has <5% west-facing slope, and sufficient forage
  • WINTER: feed baled hay, using baler and adequate storage (future pole barn for storage of dry hay and tractors?)


  • station her near a pond, to be built
  • Keep her water trough full by pumping to it directly or carrying a tank to her with LifeTrac

Pasture Timeline

  • Rotating in pasture on North side of HabLab (forage: wild carrot, ragweed, grasses)
  • Electrical Fence long-ways across pasture, making strips from the North to South end, with water stationed close to the HabLab
  • After that area is grazed down, move further and further north to the end of the property
  • After entire west side of trees is grazed down, begin grazing east side of the native trees (forage: clover, grasses, wild carrot)


  • Twice daily, once at 6 am and 6 pm
  • For one cow, milking by hand is easier. Takes roughly 45 minutes twice a day, plus time for processing and washing equipment.
  • For more than one cow, milking with a simple machine will work


To start with, one cow will do. When we have more people, up to 30, we'll need another one or two cows. They could be the offspring of our original cow.

  • For Scale, as we increase the herd size, we'll need:
    • Proportionate amounts of fenceline, up to 1 mi of livewire plus posts
    • simple milking machine design and fabrication
    • Addons to the cow shelter, modular and replicable using scrap


  • Prevention: healthy environment, good forage, stress-free management
  • Herbal supplements
    • Garlic
    • Free choice diatomacious earth or kelp for gut issues in calves
  • Daily monitoring for signs of illness
  • Fly Spray; 1 cup vegetable oil,2 cups vinegar,1 cup water 1 tablespoon essential

oil, mix well, put in a spray bottle, need to shake while spraying, it will settle out quickly, for use on animal not equipment or buildings


  • Calves in spring
  • Milk her through fall
  • Breed her in May (by bull service or using semen from a small bull, AI performed by a neighbor)
  • Dry Period: November-Calving
  • Calves: keep them with her, perhaps wean if you'd like to acclimate the calves to people more
    • Females: raise up, breed them (use diverse genetics)
    • Males: raise up, castrate, slaughter eventually