5 Myths Keeping You From Living The Milk Cow Life
In this series, I’m talking you through, step-by-step-by-step, the 5 most common myths about keeping a family milk cow so you can crush those negative thoughts and set yourself up for success.
By the end of this series, you’ll see that getting a milk cow is not only totally possible, but that it is absolutely within your reach.
In the last post, we tackled Milk Cow Myth #1: I Have To Get Up At Dawn. That’s a doozy, especially for a night owl like me. If you haven’t seen it yet, go check it out and meet me back here. I’ll wait (chuckle).
Myth #2: I Can’t Leave The Farm or Go On Vacation
Listen, keeping a milk cow is a commitment.
Truth: A milk cow doesn’t ask for much, but she asks every single day.
You DO need to show up, you DO need to be invested. But the benefits of that kind of commitment are exponential and worth every minute.
A milk cow is a commitment to a lifestyle focused on wholesome, nutrient-dense food and wonderful growing experiences of stewardship and responsibility for you and your entire family.
And yet, even with the daily commitment of keeping a family cow, you’ve got more options than you might think.
How Often Do You Really Leave Home?
Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but if you’re thinking about wanting to keep a family cow, you’re probably pretty content staying close to home.
Be honest with yourself here: how often do you really leave home for an extended amount of time?
Once or twice a year? A long weekend every few months?
We can work with that.
You’ve Got Options
Truth: The average milk cow’s lactation lasts 10 months.
A milk cow must have a calf in order to give milk. And, at least 60 days before she is due to have her next calf, you’ll stop milking or dry her off.
She needs that break to build up her fat stores for her next lactation and channel all her energy into growing her calf.
And that means (you guessed it!) you get a break too.
Use Her Dry Period To Your Advantage
Truth: She needs at least 60 days before calving to rest & replenish her stores.
When she’s dry, you’ve got 60 days (sixty!) to gallivant all over the earth if you so choose. It’s infinitely less complicated to find someone to check on her, fill her water tank, and be sure she has plenty to eat every day or so than it is to find someone reliable (and willing) to milk her once (or twice) a day, every day.
So use that to your advantage. I’m almost certain you have a friend (or several!) who would jump at the chance to have a farm-cation and keep an eye on your place while you soak in the sun at some undisclosed tropical location, or hike into the backcountry, or get lost in the museums of Europe.
Go. Sate your wanderlust for a week or two or five.
And come back refreshed and ready for calving and a whole new lactation.
Weekends Away Are Totally Possible
Truth: Calf-sharing opens up a whole world of flexible options.
Once she calves, that calf can absolutely help carry the load.
For the first little while after calving, you will have more work to do. She will produce way more milk than that calf could possibly consume on his own. She’s been bred and raised to do exactly that.
So you will need to milk her twice a day. Plan on several weeks.
But after a few weeks or a few months, depending on her production and the size of your calf (or if you have twin calves!), and your goals, you’ll be able to shift more and more of the milking to him if that’s what you want.
You’ll start first by transitioning to once-a-day-milkings (whew! Game. Changer.) and as he grows and her production evens out, you’ll be able to leave him with her around the clock and skip a milking every now and again.
That means that, yes, you can go to your sister’s wedding. And attend your nephew’s graduation out of town. And book that romantic overnight getaway.
The calf will pick up the slack.
You can learn more about how to get started calf sharing here.
Lean On Your Community
We aren’t meant to do it alone.
Too often there’s an ethic among homesteaders that they have to go it alone or it isn’t authentic, that being self-sufficient means they don’t/can’t/won’t rely on anyone else.
I think that idea is misguided and short-sighted.
We are meant to live in community. Being self-sufficient means that you have something of value to offer and that you do your best to provide not just for your family, but for others as well.
So lean on your community.
Reach out and see if anyone you know would like to learn to milk a cow and train a relief milker.
Teach them. Train them. And then enjoy a sleep in every now and again. Or a weekend away. Or a true family vacation knowing that you’ve got a competent, reliable milker taking care of business while you’re away.
You might start small and train your spouse first, and your older kids. That’ll give you a couple mornings to sleep in.
And then train a neighbor or a gal from church or a couple you met at your kid’s basketball game who have dreams to start their own homestead. You’ll be paying it forward by giving them an invaluable opportunity to prepare and learn the skills they’ll need to make their own dreams come true.
Keep Learning in Milk Cow 101
If this is feeling more and more doable, you’re on the right track. Keeping a cow is totally possible and absolutely within your reach.
So if you’ve got the gumption to really dig in and learn what you need to live that milk cow life (boy is it a good one!), join the waitlist for Milk Cow 101 today.
Bonus: You can absolutely go on vacation. It’s all about the timing.
When you join the waitlist, you’ll be the first to know when enrollment opens and you’ll be ready to learn everything you need to feel confident and prepared to bring home your very own family milk cow.