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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Cost of Keeping a Miniature Cow

You need to know what it costs for a miniature cow.  It helps you make an educated decision about having a milk cow on your homestead.

Here is the link to this excel.  You will find the cow cost calculations on the second tab labeled, “Cow Production and Cost”.  Click the chart to enlarge the chart.

*Feed(1)  was estimated as a miniature cow eating 6,505 pounds of feed a year, with an daily average of 18.48 pounds.  This is an estimate as there are several variables: weight of the animal, whether the cow is lactating, age, nutritional value of the feed, ect.

This estimate is for dry food, with no foraging, during the estimated winter days. I estimated a growing season 

of 105 days; this is on the low side(2).  However, some states will have as low as 50 days for their growing season.  Also,  just because vegetation is not growing, does not mean your cow is not foraging for edibles.  Also, the amount of feed will be higher; if, you plan on -not utilizing one of the miniature cows best benefits: having a stomach like a goat.

The price for feed is much higher; if, you are not buying feed and bedding by the ton.  Most ranchers will buy once a year, and store the feed for use throughout the year.  Your conditions will greatly affect this number too. For instance if you are in the badlands and you will likely have to buy all the feed.  On the other side of the spectrum, a lush pasture that grows: wild grasses and feed; that supply a year round diet.

Fencing(3) costs do not take labor into account.  However, if you follow the source link, Iowa State University, does have a study that goes more in depth.  They go over the cost for various fences cost of labor and price.  They are very informative of fencing options, too.

I did not include acreage.  Most individuals resources are set.  Like me they are just deciding how to best utilize those resources.  If you want to play with the numbers here is the excel that I used.  You can copy it to your google docs or open it in excel to change the numbers to be more relevant to your situation.

Click below for sources and more reads on miniature cows.

More Reading on Miniature cows:

Make it on few acres with miniature cattle - Shows overview of couple that own mini cows.  They go over what is needed to maintain a mini cow, later in the article.

Owning a Family Milk Cow - Common questions about owning a personal milk cow are answered.  However, use more than one lactation for your cow; as, they are more susceptible to udder infections.  They do need down time from being milked.  My husband’s family would have their two milk cows rotated.  Several, ranchers like my mother’s family just went without dairy for 2-3 months of the year.  The summers were too hot for them to keep milk, so it did work out well.

1) "Business and Financial Management | Dairy Team." 2012. 15 Dec. 2015 <

2) "growing season - National Geographic Education." 2015. 15 Dec. 2015 <>

3) "Estimated Costs for Livestock Fencing - Iowa State ..." 2005. 15 Dec. 2015 <>