Does anybody know how much it would cost per year to feed a cow, goat, sheep, or chicken per month? I am just getting ready to move out to the country and was thinking about raising some livestock.
small 3 acre farm one male three females
There are other questions needing answers, as well. With the cow, would that be a milk cow or are you thinking a steer for meat? To produce milk, a cow needs to be bred, which means you will have a calf to provide for, as well. A cow that is dry (not milking) needs different hay than a milking cow, while a cow in milk (typical modern dairy breeds) need some grain. Total annual cost is based on hay and grain prices where you are. We just paid $30 a bale for 4x4 round bales that came off of CRP land (lots of weeds, mostly grass, no alfalfa). That's okay for horses, goats, and my dry cow, but when she comes back into milk she will need a grass/alfalfa mix, which will be more pricey.
On the goat and sheep front, if you have a male, you will have babies, so your herd will be ever-increasing. Fencing and housing is a concern, as well, as you don't want the rams/billies in with the ewes and nannies all of the time. As I have one nanny goat and one wether, I am not concerned about keeping anyone in breeding condition, so they just get a bit of grain and eat hay with the horses and cows.
I have a flock of about 30 chickens and I go through a 50 lb bag of layer ration, 50 lbs of corn, plus about 50 lbs of sweet feed (I like to give my animals a variety of feed and they do really well). They also get about a quarter of their grain ration in distiller's grain - corn by-product from the local ethanol plant. When my cow is in milk (thus I'm making cheese), I pour about 2 cups to a quart of whey over the grain ration. Whey has a lot of minerals and vitamins in it and they really like it. I also feed them clabbered milk if I don't have whey.
You'll have to do some research for your area to find out how much hay and grain costs. Talk to some farmers if you can and the extension agent. Some are friendly and helpful, some not so.
I hope I helped!