Purchasing A Dairy Cow? Basic Cattle Equipment You May Need To Purchase

Families who decide to keep and milk a dairy cow in a small farm or homestead setting can enjoy many benefits from the experience. Depending on the dairy breed they have chosen, feeding regimen, and other factors, the production of a single dairy cow may be sufficient to meet the family's needs for milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy products. If successfully bred on an annual basis, the dairy cow can also provide a calf that can be sold or raised and slaughtered for beef. 

Families who are planning to add a dairy cow to their small farm or homestead will find that investing in a few simple pieces of cattle equipment will help to make their cow management experience easier, safer, and more efficient. 

Watering and feeding supplies

A lactating dairy cow requires large quantities of inputs in order to maintain her condition and be productive. Water, mineral supplements, salt, and access to good quality forage in the form of hay will need to be available each day, along with access to grass for grazing when weather permits. In addition, many high-producing dairy cows also need supplemental feed to maintain their body condition during lactation.

The following list includes the basic equipment needed by a dairy cow in a small farm or homestead setting: 

  • An automated stock waterer system or a large stock watering tank (along with tank heater in locations where winter temps drop below the freezing point)
  • Mineral feeders with protective coverings to prevent rain from entering the mineral compartment
  • Feed tubs 
  • Hay feeders, preferably covered to protect hay from the elements

Fencing and containment

Because of their size and tough skin, dairy cows require strong fencing in order to keep them safe and secure within their designated area. In order to do this, dairy cow owners may need to consider investing in several types of fencing supplies. While the perimeter of the property should always consist of a rigid, permanent fencing product, like woven wire and steel posts, it can be a good idea to use portable electric fence charger systems to create smaller interior paddocks, especially when planning to implement rotation grazing. Dairy cow owners will also want to include gates, portable corral systems, and squeeze chutes as part of their management plan to ensure the cow can be handled safely during milking or while providing other types of care. 

Dairy cows can be a wonderful addition to any small farm or homestead situation. If you are planning to purchase a dairy cow, discussing your cattle equipment needs with your local agricultural equipment dealer should be your first step. Contact a company like Ackermans online to learn more.