On the one hand, the price of local, non-factory, fresh, whole milk is skyrocketing. I have some extra land, and the cost of building a two-strand hot fence is relatively cheap. Buying a young female cow, and breeding/birthing yearly, could provide all the grass-fed beef and dairy we could ever need, at a fraction of the combined cost of buying them all retail, even from co-ops.
On the other hand, it's a cow.
I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to take that leap.
Wife and I are discussing what to do with the extra land out behind the "wet weather creek" (read: the mosquito-filled drainage ditch that cuts our land in half). It's currently just going wild. The orchard, garden, sheep, chickens, and donkey are (so far) doing just fine on the front 3 acres.
This has all been inspired by wife stumbling upon this article. It's really got the wheels turning. We have 5 times this land, and we can certainly do a LOT with it.
But a cow?
Milking twice a day?
Would we even use 20 gallons of dairy a week? That's on a light-producing Jersey. It's double that for some breeds.
It has also been suggested that we go with dairy goats. I'm more leery on that due to the taste differences, and introducing that into the family consciousness. Maybe we should buy a quart o' goat juice and see how it goes.
Lots to ponder.