Learn more about our cows, how to care for and handle a family milk cow and more from our frequently asked questions.

We are located at 3198 S. Highway E, Norwood, Missouri 65717. (See map on website footer)

Yes, local delivery is $3.00 per load mile. For long distance, we will need your address to give you a price quote.

We machine-milk our cows daily. Every cow gets pre-milked by hand before milking, and most days our children (ages 7-9) will hand-milk the cows for a few minutes before machine-milking them.

We milk our cows once a day. That’s right–you can milk once a day! (See calf-sharing answer.) A cow can and will adjust to your milking schedule of once a day, and all of our cows have been trained to once-a-day milking. The first two months, we keep a calf with its mom which eases the stress on the udder. Each time you milk your cow, make sure she is completely milked out to avoid mastitis. A cow will produce more milk if you milk her twice a day, however, on once-a-day milking, she can easily produce 3 to 5 gallons per day, depending on the cow, without any issues. By milking once a day, it frees up your schedule, creates a tighter bond between calf and cow, and butterfat and protein percentage will increase when milking once a day. We don’t push our cows hard for maximum production. Our overall objective is happy and healthy cows.

Our cows are not artificially inseminated, so we do not have an exact due date for any individual cow. Our cows share a pasture with one of our two A2/A2 polled bulls, so we pregnancy test our cows to determine approximate due dates.

We routinely order pregnancy tests on our cows’ milk starting at approximately 3 months after they calve. We retest about once a month until we receive a positive test for a particular cow. A positive test shows up after 30 days pregnant, so it indicates 30-60 days pregnant. When we are ready to dry off a cow a couple months before their due date, we palpate the cow (feel for the calf) or order another pregnancy test to confirm pregnancy. Our dry cows have no milk to test for pregnancy, but they can be tested by palpating (feeling) for a calf.

Occasionally a cow’s milk will test pregnant, then she will miscarry early in the pregnancy. An early miscarriage is not easily detected. If you want us to order another pregnancy test before you pick up your cow, it takes about a week to get the results of the test. An early miscarriage can also occur after you take possession of your cow because of the stress of delivery, change of feed, etc. We always recommend that you do another pregnancy test on your cow’s milk before drying her off.

Calf-sharing is allowing your family milk cow to nurse a calf – sharing some of your cow’s milk with a calf. You may have several reasons for choosing this option. Your cow may produce more milk than your family can use. You may want to make sure your cow is sufficiently “milked out” while you are learning to hand-milk her. You may want to raise up a calf without going to the trouble of bottle-feeding it. Calf-sharing is very versatile in the sense that you can separate the cow and calf in the evening if you desire more milk. If you want less milk, you can leave the cow and calf together.

Inflammation of the udder.

 Good genetics make a difference. Our cows have been bred for resilience to mastitis and maintaining a good body condition on a healthy, grass-based diet. However, it is important for every cow to have their nutritional needs met. A cow should have minerals and a plentiful source of forages, whether hay or pasture. (See “What should I feed my family milk cow?”) Next, you need to provide a clean environment for your cow. Your cow should have a clean dry area to bed at all times. Always clean the udder, especially teat ends very well before milking – you can use warm, soapy water, or pre-dip, or udder wipes. A post-dip of 1% iodine after milking can help prevent them from getting bacteria in their teat ends. 

Our dry cows are completely grass-fed. Our cows in milk eat grain while being milked, however, the majority of their diet is grass as we have an intensive grazing program where they eat high-quality forages, i.e. rye, Sudan, clover, Bermuda.

Most local feed stores carry a dairy feed, however, if you don’t want to feed grain, that is fine, and if you are not able to find dairy feed, then high-quality forages such as alfalfa, Bermuda, oats, or wheat will meet all the nutrient requirements of a family milk cow. You will want to provide a mineral mix that contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfur, and mico-minerals of copper, cobalt, zinc, and selenium. In addition to your minerals, use a free-choice salt in block form or loose salt in a bucket.

View this PDF sheet for a copy of the dairy feed ration our cows get at milking time. 

We do have calves that we can sell along with your cow, but cows are priced individually, and once a calf is born, they are sold separately.

Yes, most of our cows are in milk, but we also have “dry cows”. We “dry off” our cows approximately 3 months before they are due to calve. When we dry off a cow, we milk her every other day for a week until she is producing a minimal amount of milk. This is what we call a dry cow. All of our dry cows are between one and three months from calving, and once they calve, they are considered a cow in milk or a fresh cow.

A lot of our cows are bred. They are running with a registered A2/A2 Jersey bull. Cows that recently calved will most likely be open (not pregnant). We send off pregnancy tests about once a month to confirm pregnancy and get approximate due dates.

When we first got started, we were looking for the “perfect cow.” We wanted a cow that could produce rich, creamy milk (for making cream, butter, and cheese) on pasture. We experimented with all types of cows: Holsteins, Brown Swiss, Ayrshires, Milking Shorthorns, Guernseys, and Jerseys. The Jerseys were by far the most efficient at converting grass into butterfat. Jersey cows are the most sustainable cow for a homestead family milk cow. Their smaller size and durability allows them to graze when other cows want to lie down in the shade. Jerseys make exceptional mothers. They have a natural love and affection for their calves compared to other breeds. Most of them are willing to nurse most any calf even if it is not their own.

According to the American Jersey Cattle Association:
“Jerseys naturally produce the highest quality milk for human consumption.
Compared to average milk, a glass of Jersey milk has greater nutritional value.
Fifteen% to 20% more protein, 15% to 18% more calcium, and 10% to 12%
more phosphorous, and also considerably higher levels of an essential vitamin, B12.” (AJCA)

And last but not least, we think Jerseys are the prettiest cows! They come in a variety of colors and patterns from light cream through medium tan and red to brown and auburn

Registration with the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA) helps to determine whether your Jersey is indeed, a pure Jersey cow. Registration tracks the bloodline of the dam and sire (mom and dad). Genetics matter a great deal. Not all cows are created equal. Some cows have been bred for commercial purposes (where cows are confined indoors and bred for maximum milk production). We put a lot of emphasis on our breeding program so that our cows are bred for grazing and maintaining good body condition and production on a grass-based diet. (At least eighty percent of their diet is pasture or hay/forages.)

There are two types of milk protein: A1 beta-casein and A2 beta-casein. Each cow, depending on her breeding, produces one of the three possible combinations: A1/A1 beta-casein, A2/A2 beta-casein, or A1/A2 beta-casein. Most people are able to digest both A1 and A2 protein. However, the A2 beta casein in cow’s milk is the same as the primary protein in human milk: A2/A2 beta casein. So the protein produced by an A2/A2 cow will be more easily digested by people who have trouble digesting cow’s milk.

No. There is no one right way to milk your cow, as long as she is comfortable and you are consistent. Although it is not necessary, a shelter out of the weather is ideal while milking (although some folks do milk outside). Use the same location to milk your cow every day, as cows are creatures of habit. It is best to feed while milking, either hay or grain. You may wish to use an enclosure small enough to keep her from side-stepping while milking. You can also use a rope behind the cow to prevent her from backing up while she is getting used to being milked in your enclosure.

Some of our cows have been halter-trained. We do not use halters regularly on our farm because halters can be caught on a fence. Our cows are very gentle and laid back. Our three oldest children (ages 7-9) walk them up to the barn every morning for milking.

Yes, we use a single-strand of poly-braid to rotationally graze them on pasture.
However, when you first get your cow home, we highly suggest that you keep her in a small, secure pen near your milking area for the first few days until she is comfortable with your homestead. When you first transport a cow to a new farm, she is not familiar with anything and may be slightly stressed from travel. Keeping her in a small pen for a few days will help her stay calm and adjust to your farm.

Patience! As with every animal, you have to slowly establish a relationship of trust between you and the cow. The cow must feel comfortable in her environment first. Allow time for the cow to get used to and become comfortable where you are going to milk her. A cow is most comfortable in a quiet environment. You need to have a calm demeanor for the cow to feel comfortable around you. A cow can sense when you are tense, angry, or scared. Therefore, you should be as calm and relaxed as possible. Our cows are used to children and music while milking. To establish a relationship with your cow: pet your cow, talk to your cow, brush your cow. These things will help make your cow comfortable. Having said this, our cows are very forgiving and friendly and used to human interaction.

See our Jersey page for currently available cows.

Yes. We regularly test for Johne’s in our milk cows and keep a negative herd. Missouri is TB and Brucellosis free state, so we don’t bother testing for those. We also vaccinate for some other common cow diseases.

  1. VIMCO Mastitis Vaccine: This vaccine targets Staphylococcus aureus and CNS (Coagulase Negative Staphylococci), the bacteria most commonly associated with mastitis.
  2. ViraShield® 6 + VL5: Protects against IBR, BVD Types 1 and 2, PI3, BRSV, Vibrio, and 5 strains of Lepto. Vira Shield® 6 + VL5 contains Bovine Rhinotracheitis-Virus Diarrhea-Parainfluenza 3-Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccine (killed virus) and Campylobacter fetus, Leptospira canicola, L. grippotyphosa, L. hardjo, L. icterohaemorrhagia, L. pomona bacterin. Contains amphotericin B, gentamicin and thimerosal as preservatives.
  3. Bovilis Covexin 8 Vaccine: Clostridium Chauvoei-Septicum-Haemolytticum-Novyi-Tetani-Perfringens Types C & D Bacterin-Toxoid.