Besides, making your own homemade cheese, butter, yogurt, and other dairy products is so very rewarding in cost savings, and more so the larger family you have.
Holstein cows are one of the more common dairy cattle breed animals in Canada and in the USA. The majority of commercial dairies prefer the Holstein breed because this breed is one of the heaviest milk producers. The Holstein breed has a larger bone structure than other dairy breeds. These cows put most of their effort into producing milk instead of putting on fat and muscle (meat), and even sport the well-known boney hips. Because of the Holsteins’ high milk production, they are also an excellent choice of dairy cow for the person interested in homemade cheese making at home. Even though Holstein cattle are bigger animals, they can be easily tamed and trained.
A Holstein cow can produce roughly about 5,000 pounds of milk per year if you milk her twice a day, (which works out to about 10 quarts of milk a day). These milkings should be roughly about 12 hours apart and you can adjust them to fit your schedule to 14h and 10h if you would like. Just remember that the 14 hour stretch milking will be heavier than the 10h. You don’t have to stick to only a morning and evening schedule. For example, a cow can be milked at noon and again at midnight if you are doing shift work. The important thing is that you do the milking at the same time each day and be consistent for her sake.
Here is a little experiment that we tried with our dairy cows here in Canada which may help you. At one point after we had been milking the cow for about 8 months, I was too busy with other things to make the gouda cheese we loved with the extra milk. We were getting more milk than we could use because we had about two years of Gouda and Edom cheeses stored ahead with the milking of twice a day. So we decided to try milking our cow only once a day in the morning, and she did ok with this schedule. And I was happy because we did not have any wasted milk. Another option to consider if you have too much milk is to feed the milk to a calf or a pig. If the cow doesn’t have a calf already, you can even purchase a young beef calf or pig to feed the milk to and you can raise them for meat. Feeding a Holstein dairy cow less grain will also decrease the amount of milk that she will produce, just do not feed her to much grain at once or she could blot and die!
A Holstein cow will eat roughly two tons of hay per year. You will also have a much happier dairy cow if you can provide her with one to two acres of good pasture to freely roam and graze on. Depending on how much grain you can feed to your cow, she will eat about 2,000 pounds of wheat grain per year (this is about 5 pounds a day). A few alternatives to feeding grain to your cow is to feed her corn, oats, barley, silage, or sugar beets. But keep in mind that the cow will not produce as much milk as when she is fed a high protein grain mix. Consult your feed distributor in your area for more help in feed quality consumption. Keep in mind, if your cow is eating some types of feed like silage, it can slightly affect the taste of the milk and the taste of your homemade cheese.
A few other good dairy cattle breeds are the Ayrshire, the Brown Swiss, the Guernsey, and the Jersey cow. There is not any really any “perfect dairy breed”. Each breed has its own strong and weak points. It really comes down to your own personal preferences or availability of breeds in your area. Whichever breed you choose, you will experience the satisfaction and the rewards of your own home dairy products.
© Copying 2008-2012 All Rights Reserved Content & Photos By www.cheesemakingrecipe.com Joyann Mast