The cow is the linchpin of a self-sustaining farmstead. She converts a renewable resource (about 1 – 2 acres of grass) to milk and calves.
The milk can supply a family plus feed chickens or pigs. Calves can be raised for meat or sold.
Fencing the Cow
Barbed wire (3-5 strands) fencing is pretty easy to put up if you use the metal posts. They can be pounded into the ground. Then you need one or two strands of electric wire that you mount on “stand-offs” about half-way up the fence so that the cow will not lean on the barbed wire fencing and snap it or push it over. She will try to reach under it to get grass on the other side.
Feeding the Cow – Soaked Oats
Grain type affects the amount of whole grain lost in faeces:
– whole corn and oat grain is almost completely digested
– whole barley, wheat, sorghum grain may be 50–70% digested.
Cattle fed to maintain liveweight will digest more of the whole grain than when whole grain is fed for production.
Whole grain has a ‘safety’ factor as a result of the grain lost in the faeces (lower digestibility). … Reduced risk of grain poisoning (acidosis).
There are a number of methods of processing grains to crack the grain or soften the outside grain case to make it more digestible. Simply soaking grain in water is a good method of softening the grain but this is impractical on a large scale.