Cattle Space

Cows take more space than smaller farm animals. You're gonna need a few acres if you want to be able to offer grazing to even a single cow. If you attempt it in smaller spaces, you'll be buying all the feed for the cow, and it won't get the same nutritional benefits it would on pasture, and you'll pay triple for every gallon of milk or pound of beef.

Recommended pasture is anywhere between 2 and 30 acres per cow, depending on the quality of pasture. In wet areas with fast growing grass and weeds, the needed acreage is 2-5 acres per cow. In arid regions or those with poor pasture, 10 to 30 acres are needed. We live in an area where the traditional load was 20 acres per cow, but after many years of drought, it is now 30.

There are now a few miniature cattle breeds that require less space, but it rarely drops below half for the very smallest.

There is some flexibility in the space needed. But the less pasture you have, the more feed you have to carry in. Hay is not as nutritious as fresh forage, so your cattle will lose some if they are on less than adequate pasturage.

The ideal is to have more than one pasture, where you can rotate the cattle around, giving the fields time to regenerate. You can often get a few mowings out of the fields if you do this.

If you don't have the space for cattle, goats are recommended. You can fit 6-8 goats in the same space that one cow fills, and the milk production of the goats is higher than from a single cow also.

 

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