I need 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.

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!! :)

Portland, OR(Zone 8b)

Does Storey's Guide have one? I know the one on ducks is the most highly recommended that I've been told about. I've heard good things about their chicken one as well.

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

I looked at the "Storey's Guide to...." books on Amazon.com 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. :(

Portland, OR(Zone 8b)

I was just going to post that myself. They do have this one that is highly rated: The Family Cow (A Garden Way publishing book) Hopefully someone else can give suggestions.

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

LoreenH, I ordered the books below today! Can't wait to get them....

"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

If I ever get a milk cow, I'll spoil her! (No pun intended) ;) lol

Portland, OR(Zone 8b)

Good luck! It will be nice to have milk that you know is hormone free.

Richmond, TX

Have you ever had raw milk? It is really quite different from the pasteurized, homoginized super market item.

Portland, OR(Zone 8b)

I have but I really don't recall the taste. When I would spend the weekend at my best friend's house I had it there; they raised their own beef as well as had a milk cow. The only things I remember are they used to put cream on their cereal (I didn't like it) and having milk right after the cow has been milked (I didn't like that either)....I think it's because they were too rich (we drank a lot of powdered milk mixed with regular milk when I was growing up). I'd love to try raw milk again

Richmond, TX

You will find it is very easy to separate the cream.

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

Yes, I have tasted raw milk. My daughter "owned" a portion of a milk cow and got her milk from it. It does taste different and would take some getting use to, but if the day ever comes where we have to go back to self-sufficient living, milk cows will become popular again. ....And then you've got to know how to take care of one, sanitation steps, etc. :)

Covington, LA(Zone 8b)

I think I read somewhere that most people find raw goat's milk more palatable than cow's milk. Porkpal, do you know?

Richmond, TX

No, I don't. I've never had goat's milk. I always feared that it would taste like the goat smelled. The cheese is great though. And the milk is supposed to be more readily digestible.

Gridley, IL

I have never had fresh cows milk but i have had fresh goats milk and it is so good! The goats milk you cool quickly in a sink full of ice water and it is the sweetest most wonderful milk i have ever drunk! I did try some goats milk from the store and it does taiste aweful! the secret im told is to cool it quickly before refrigeration also goats milk does not have to be pasturized something about the size of the milk globules makes it easer than cows milk for digestion or people and critters which is why almost any mammal babie can be raised on it.

Covington, LA(Zone 8b)

Ohhhh, the cheese is to die for. Definitely. That's interesting about cooling it down quickly. I've never had goat's milk at all. A goat would take up less room than a cow though. And be cheaper to feed I guess. Being smaller. But a cow won't climb on your car or your roof. I'm just in the thinking stages right now.

Glenda, I agree. If I had a milk cow she would be so spoiled rotten. She'd have a nice comfortable barn for bad weather. And some sort of "designer" cow bell. And maybe a hat. I would want a Jersey cow.

Let us know what you think of the books.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

We used to buy raw cow's milk when we lived in Washington State where it was legal to sell it. When we moved back east we found a source of it for our son, who had a lot of allergies. They weren't allowed to sell it purposely for human consumption but of course they had no control over what you did with it once it left their premises, and they kept everything clean and sanitary. We also raised dairy goats for a long time. As long as there's no buck around the milk is just fine. I used to make my own cheeses, too. But that was before I was turned onto chèvre, so I'd probably make a softer variety if I were doing it now. Mine were hard little rounds but very good.

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

Good to know about goat's milk. I'm assuming their care is just like that of a cow. .....The milk is just in a 'smaller package'. ;) lol

Richmond, TX

You will need better fencing to contain a goat.

Portland, OR(Zone 8b)

You could get a miniature Dexter cow. They have them for beef & milk. They are usually 40 inches or less. They are also very cute. We were discussing them on facebook. You can find info on them by doing an internet search....miniature dexter cow (I don't have the link handy).

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Once upon a time we had a goat, then three, and just didn't have quite enough milk. So we bought a Jersey/Guernsey cross, and were flooded with four gallons a day. churning butter, learning to make cheese, selling one gallon every other day to one neighbor. Then we bought a pig to drink all the extra milk. I gained about three pounds every week, no joke.

Then we wanted to go someplace for a whole day, and asked a friend to milk,( every 12 hours, period.) The friend got mixed up about when, and the unmilked milk turned into cheese inside the cow, and it was the vet and hassles and expense, and a pig that was hungry.

The goat's milk was good for about three hours outside the animal. The next day it was beyond gross, smelling and tasting like old dead goat hair. And the goats got loose one day, and ate all the bark off the apple trees, killing the trees.

I don't consume much dairy anymore...

Good luck!

Covington, LA(Zone 8b)


I can't think of much that would smell worse than "old, dead goat hair"!


This message was edited May 14, 2010 6:36 PM

Richmond, TX

I guess supermarket milk looks pretty good after all.

Portland, OR(Zone 8b)


I thought of you when I saw this article


Did you get a cow yet, or did you go with a goat?

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

Loreen, thank you for the link! I will read it right away. .....No, no cow yet. My husband tells me that when he dies, my next husband will love to have a cow. I've got news for him; there will not be another husband (I have a wonderful husband who I'm crazy about; there won't be another one!).......and I WILL have farm animals! ;) LOL ....I'm too old and set in my ways to start training another husband! ;) heehee

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.