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How much does it cost to feed a cow, goat, sheep or chicken?

Posted By dbright 5 Years Ago

How much does it cost to feed a cow, goat, sheep or chicken?

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dbright
Posted 5 Years Ago
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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. [Smile]

Beau and Kim
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This is a tough question. There are many factors involved for each type of animal. Do you have a pasture for grazing? Males or females? Etc.

For example, if you want a "yard" chicken, you can get by with table scraps. If you would like to have a laying hen, who will produce quantity and quality, that is totally different.

If you are on a budget, as most of us are, you may want to start small.

I wish I could answer your question, but there are alot of factors involved.  

dbright
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Were moving to a small 3 acre farm that is cleared. As for male or female we probably would want to get a male with two or three females

MrsKK
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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!

Karen

http://www.facebook.com/MrsKsCreations

dbright
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We would probably be raising goats or cows for milk and chickens for meat/eggs.



Thanks for the help.



DBright

MrsKK
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With only 3 acres, you will probably want to keep yourself to one cow and its calf, and you will still be having to provide enough hay to keep them fed on a daily basis, as you won't have much for grazing.  We only have 2 acres, with about 2/3 of an acre in pasture/barnyard, which has degraded to being drylot.  We have to provide all of the "grazing" for our animals in the form of hay.  During the warmer weather, we give them weeds that we've pulled and grass clippings - BUT the clippings can only be fed when the animals are already fairly full with hay, as clippings alone can overheat in the stomach and cause bloat which can be rapidly fatal.

I have no idea of how much we spend on hay per year, as we only buy some of our hay, with the bulk of it being in trade for work that we do for a neighbor.  We are going through a 4x4 bale in about 5 days.  Earlier, we had 4x5 bales that were either all grass or some that were an alfalfa blend.  Our 2 horses, one cow, two calves and two goats went through one of those bales per week.  We do not leave the bale out for them freely, as the horses were getting way too fat.  Rather, we have learned about how much they need to eat a day and pull the hay off the round bale for them.

If you have three acres in pasture (not the total amount of your property), you could probably set up one area that you figure will be drylot within a couple of years, then divide up the rest of the pasture with fencing, only allowing the animals to be on one area for a couple of days.  Allowing at least 10-14 days of rest between grazings.

Our chickens free range throughout the barnyard and go through a lot less feed in the warmer months when they can get out and scratch through the other animal's manure.  Sounds kind of gross, but they are efficient re-cyclers of undigested grains.  We also have a lot less trouble with intestinal parasites because of the chickens scratching through the manure, which spreads it and dries it out.

Karen

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dbright
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Again thanks for the help. The only problem with letting our chickens free range is that we have coyotes, foxes (bold enough to be out during the day), and hawks. Would they be able to take care of themselves if we let them free range?

dbright

MrsKK
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I say "free range" because they can realistically go anywhere they want to, but they hang out mostly in our barnyard/pasture, which is 2/3 of an acre.  They will also hang out in the woods that borders the pasture.  We haven't lost many birds over the years, but the most memorable was the case where a young red-tailed hawk had just killed a small silkie hen and couldn't fly away with it in his talons.

I'm pretty pragmatic about it and allowed the hawk to have the chicken, throwing the carcass out away from where we needed to do our chores, then cleaning up what little mess he left behind.  If I were losing a lot of birds to predators, I wouldn't be so nonchalant about the whole thing, though.

Karen

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whitepinestand
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hello everyone, I'm interested in a cow for its manure and as a pet. Is this something uncommon? Is there a recommended type of feed for the purpose I'm trying to achieve?



We have about 6.5 acres of slightly sloped to the south land available for garden, apple orchard and cow. We are in the works of putting it all together in terms of what should go where.



I was planning on using about 1.28 acres for the apples leaving 5.22 acres for cow and garden. How close can the garden and cow be with respect to runoff from cow waste? I want to optimize the amount of veggies and grain I can grow while providing a good clean habitat for the cow(s). So how many acres would one recommend go to cow vs garden? Final note: My goal of manure would be 10-20 tons every other year (I'm hoping more like 20) Thanks so much for reading my loaded post!!



Joe

One tree at a time...

cappy
Posted 4 Years Ago
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I have 4 pygmy goat does, and they go through a 50lb of feed in about 6 weeks. I also have 8 hens. They range the 2 acre pasture during the day and are cooped at night. They need a 50lb bag of layer crumbles and a 50lb bag of scratch grains about every 2 months. I also feed the chickens crushed oyster shell to help with the calcium. The pasture is fenced with welded wire that is 2" by 4" and 48" high. We have foxes, coyotes, hawks and occasional eagle but for the past year they have been fine. I also clipped their wing to keep them from flying over the fence and into the woods. I live in the lowcountry of South Carolina and there isn't much difference between feeding expense, winter or summer. If you live further north or west you will need to increase the winter feed due to the lack of forage during the colder winters. Hope this gives you something to think about.

Ken

Deep in the South Carolina Lowcountry



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