Know of a book on keeping a family dairy cow? Help please!

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

Can anyone recommend a good book(s) on keeping a family dairy cow? I'm looking for one with all the how to's, taking care of, what breed is best, etc., in it.
I looked at the "Storey's Guide to..." books on and they don't show any Storey books on having a family dairy cow. Storey has "Beef Cattle" and "Milk Goats", but no dairy cow. :(

Does anyone on here keep a dairy cow for their own family's consumption? Would love to pick your brains! ;)

Thanks for any insight you can give!! :)

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Hi Glenda,
There's a book called the Jersey, Alderney and Guernsey Cow, their history, nature and management that was published in 1872 that has a lot of good information still valid today. It is available in it entirety online here:

Dave and Trish are in the family cow business and there are a couple of threads here in the Farm Forum about family cows that could be helpful to you as well - just run a search.

Ok, skip the search, that went nowhere. Just run on down through the Forum and you're bound to run into the threads.

This message was edited Apr 24, 2010 1:18 PM

Grand Blanc, MI

I don't know of any books on how to's for a dairy cow, but I grew up on a dairy farm in Nebraska and would answer any questions as best I can. I'm not sure where Fowlerville is....I'm in Grand Blanc Mi now.

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

Thanks Kathleen, I'll scroll through the posts and see if I can find them! :)

LoriLL, Fowlerville is 30 east of Lansing. 50 minutes southwest of you. .....As far as questions go, I'm building a small library of self-sufficient living books and it dawned on me that I know nothing about keeping a family milk cow. I'm guessing you have to keep the teets and sack clean or wash them before milking, and then making sure she is eating the right things and keep her from being stressed............kind of like nursing women ;) lol .................but that's all a guess. Maybe I should post on the homesteading forum. .....There are a couple books on amazon that I will just order. I was hopeing that the folks on DG might know of a "favorite" book on the topic. ........I would love to have any tips on keeping a milk cow though, if you'd like to send them my way!

What a pair we are; you have first hand knowledge and I only know a cow when I see one!! LOL :)

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

vocab check:
"udder" or 'bag' hehe, never heard it called a sack before

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

Lol. I'm sorry but I can't help it. I haven't been around cows since I was 11 (a long time ago) but I remember that bulls have sacs and cows have bags. hehe

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

ur, exactly.

Waddy, KY

Guess it depends upon what you're fixing to do with the cow. Are you planning to use all the milk for the house? Hand milk or milker? Let the calf suck part of the time or bottle feed? I guess having been raised milking a bunch of cows I don't think a whole lot about those kinds of things as some of it just comes from experience but all of those things plus a few more come into play when choosing the cow and taking care of her once you get her home.


Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

ROTFL!!!!! NOW do you see why I need a book!!!! HAHAHAHA!!! Bag....sack....same thing at the grocery store....or the bull's barn, but on a milk cow it's called an udder! ....Can't stop laughing!...... Boy am I GREEN at this "farm stuff". LOL Can you tell I was raised in the city??? Thanks everyone for straightening me out! LOL

I bet I know what you're thinking! "Scary huh!? And this girl wants a book!! ....Poor cow!"
......Still can't stop laughing......

Richmond, TX

Oh, I bet she is going to be a lucky, spoiled pet of a cow.

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

Kathleen, I ordered my books from Amazon. I made sure to get the one you told me about. :) I ordered it in hardcover; the other two are paperback. Can't wait to get them!! Here's what I ordered.....

"The Family Cow"
Dirk Van Loon; Paperback

"Keeping A Family Cow"
Joann S. Grohman; Paperback

"The Jersey, Alderney, And Guernsey Cow: Their History, Nature And Management (1872)"
Willis Pope Hazard; Hardcover

Yes, if I ever get a milk cow, I'll spoil pun intended. ;) lol

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

I think you'll like that book. Stan has used quotes from it when speaking about grazing, which just freaks all the college guys out. But it is still a very relevant book about cows.

Richmond, TX

Now I want it too!

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)


Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

I looked at it online - at the link Kathleen posted above. It IS a very cool book! I love the OLD books; they tend to tell it like it is and have all the wisdom from the generations that came before us. :)

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Glenda, just know that if you get a cow, your life as you know it now is over. EVERYTHING has to be done with the cow in mind. Wanna go away.....oops, gotta get somebody to milk the cow. And feed the cow. Want to take an extended vacation.......oh, jeeeezzzz........forgot about the cow..........feed, milk, etc. As you can tell, I am tired of catering to cows.........

Richmond, TX

But you are very right.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

like the old cartoon, two aliens standing outside a barn watching the farmer feed hay to his cows, one says to the other, "See, I told you there was intelligent life here, they have slaves."

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

LOL .......I will certainly keep that in mind!!! ;)

Burns, OR

We 'share milk' with our cow, so she doesn't tie us down a bit. The calves milk her of the time for me, and we just take milk as we need it. The only sacrifice is that she withholds most of her cream for the babies. I LOVE my cow!!

Thumbnail by peteyfoozer
Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Peteyfoozer........cows cannot "hold their cream"..........a physical impossibility.

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