Like I said before, I always thought I when it was time to raise cattle that I would 1) do it for a living and 2) raise beef cattle. So here I am “hobby farming” essentially and getting all in a tizzy over dairy cattle. But what do you do when you love raw milk, can’t get it locally and have room for a cow? You milk your own in my case.
So, we’ve been having this dilemma in our household. Hubby loves to see product for money spent. I get that, I really do. But he is thinking “product” in this case is the actual purchase of a bull. I have not been so easily convinced, which is odd because I am always the one who springs for animal purchases! We don’t have the fencing up yet (or should I say he doesn’t?) and I’m not sure he realizes it’s a bull.
I was fretting over the decision. (Give me a break, I’m 7 months pregnant and decisions don’t come easy at this stage in the game.) Hubby says, “Why don’t you just lease him, ask him if they’ll put his lease fee in towards the cost of buying him if you bring him home and he’s as well-mannered as they say?” Now, that was a good idea. And, they will. I go Saturday to pick him up (we’re meeting half way) and we’ll see from there. My cow should be cycling again by Tuesday (ish).
So the cow. Did I mention that decision making comes hard for me right now? Ack! I have decided to keep her and get her bred by Norman (the bull). If she doesn’t breed back then she will be sold, period. If she does breed back (I’m expecting she will) then I will graft another calf to her to nurse while I am too pregnant to care and post partum and then we’ll calf-share milk again (milk just once a day and let the calf have the rest) until September when I would dry her up to prepare for her next lactation. A calf born in December is not my best idea, but what do you do?
I did speak with a nice lady up near the Canadian border today who is raising American Milking Devons and she is going to keep my contact information for the future. And the nice family with whom we were part of their CSA have a heifer calf coming due in Nov/December they will want to sell. So the opportunties are there. I/We just don’t want to be without milk for 8 months!
So that’s the update with my hobby farm. The bull is currently part of a limited stud service, so maybe you’ll find me pimping him out and writing off some of the costs of keeping him. I do suppose that would be a good job for me, plus I could tote the kids around with me doing that. Stay tuned…