Saturday, May 3, 2014

Book Recomendation: Keeping a Family Cow

Keeping a Family Cow: The Complete Guide for Home-Scale, Holistic Dairy Producers

This is a great read for anyone, even if you live in an apartment in a big city, you will find out a lot of interesting things about the history of the dairy industry, food safety, and raising a healthy family.  You'll find recipes for various milk products you can make in your kitchen at home.  Not all the claims are substantiated, but there is a lot of research referenced and a fairly impressive bibliography in the back.  This is not the blind dogma I see in some other pro raw milk propaganda.

For the cow-curious, the book further details a lot about how to care for a cow on as little as one acre with just a family garage for a barn, and details many other benefits of having a family cow besides fresh milk and homemade milk products for the family table.  (High quality feed for chickens and pigs from waste milk, beef, and garden fertilizer...)

I still think large raw milk dairies and bottling plants are stupid.  One mistake with one cow can contaminate the whole batch.  Much better to work with a single cow.  Even with a single cow, mastitis usually only affects one quarter at a time, and is easily detected.  The affected quarter could be milked separately and fed to chickens.  Fecal contamination is harder to detect, but the book outlines a strict protocol for barn cleanliness, cow cleanliness, and preventing the cow from kicking and getting her feet near the milk.  I'm satisfied that fresh milk from my own cow could potentially be cleaner than any of the vegetative foods I eagerly pluck raw and devour right in the garden.

I'm cow-curious, but don't see how having a dairy animal is compatible with my current schedule...  Speaking of, time to go, I'm late bringing the sheep in for the night.