Your First Cow - Basics, Safety and Where to Start

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I was in the middle of a crowd I was

within probably a hundred feet or so of

any kind of escape route

I had no stick with me just me myself

and this big bull his ID went big

he arched his neck he showed me his side

and he arched his neck like this is how

big I am I am big and powerful

intimidating do not come here be a

couple years ago we did something scary

we bought our first cow

this is ladybug she's our Jersey she's a

cow that we have for milk she's pregnant

right now she's due to calf in November

she's a midsize Jersey which is a

perfect size for our homestead she'll

give enough milk for our family with

plenty of extra to use to feed the pigs

give to the chickens using the garden

make cheese with endless possibilities

of how we can use the milk here and I

will never forget the feeling I had when

that cow showed up that first day I had

never been around cows if they liked a

Velociraptor scene at the introduction

at Jurassic Park and I just hoped I

wasn't gonna end up like that one guy

shooter now k was much better she grew

up around large livestock and she wasn't

as scared as I was she had done her

research many of you can see on the

channel she's a more natural with

livestock and she was ready for this she

had grown up with horses she had grown

up with all kinds of animals and she was

not nearly as worried as I was I was a

nervous Nelly as ladybug was brought

onto the property and unloaded and that

took a while for me to get over I wasn't

the one who was interacting her with her

every day so it was alright but over the

last couple of years I have gotten a lot

more confidence around mark at this time

oh hi you came over to say hi Luna fly

still bugging you huh

let's say hi to Luna and now I actually

find them to be one of my favorite

animals on the homestead we really have

become very Pro cow for homesteaders

suggesting that if you're thinking about

getting into milk that might be a better

first selection a better first animal

than even a goat if you are ready to

handle and work with an animal and we

have a guest here with us tonight

who is going to talk all about working

with cattle whether that be dairy cows

whether it be working around bulls and

beef animals so we're really I'm looking

forward to this interview because I'm

gonna certainly get some pointers and

tips on how I can be better around our

cows ladybugs a mini Jersey people would

laugh if they knew how scared I was at

this small sized cow

but even ladybug has an incredible

amount of power we were talking about it

before the show kay and I she's blind in

the one eye which that added a whole new

set of challenges sometimes when she

whips her head back to swat flies you

got to make sure you're not standing

there so we have a guest tonight her

name is Karen and she is going to help

us navigate the world of handling and

working with cattle karen grew up on a

mixed family farm in alberta canada

growing barley and canola raising and

selling back rounding stocker steers her

main passions since she was little was

the cattle end of the farming operation

from handling to pasture management she

has a BSC in agriculture from the

University of Alberta majoring in animal

science with an unofficial minor in

rangeland forage and pasture management

one of the things you find me and Karen

talking a lot in the comments section of

our YouTube channel is moving the

animals on grass and feeding the animals

she has worked as a general veterinarian

assistant a farm store sales rep and as

a research assistant for rangeland

research and crops and soils research

with the University of Alberta she

currently works as a forage beef

extension specialist with the provincial

government and is working towards

getting into

of her own one day she calls herself one

of those wannabe farmer types which I

find this funny because I would look at

Karen as an expert farmer type not a

wannabe any day even though her passion

for all things bovine forages rangeland

and agriculture has been alive and well

since the day she was born

this passion is transformed into one of

sharing of information on agriculture to

all those who are interested no matter

if they're veteran farmers or those just

eager to always learn more like herself

karen is a wealth of knowledge on this

subject we're going to be able to dive

into it ask her plenty of questions

about managing cattle so Karen like to

welcome you onto the home study show

Karen's a longtime commenter on the

channel you'll know some of you will

know her as Karen L if you're a regular

in the comments section you'll see her

there and right out the gate Kay and I

knew from Karen's comments right away we

could tell she was experienced she

wasn't just talking book knowledge but

we could tell she had

boots-on-the-ground knowledge she's

always she's not always agreed with some

of the things we've done which and I

have no problem with I love when people

show me what we're doing wrong or you

know tear what we're what we could

change but she's always handled it super

classy and I talked to her not too long

ago one of her comments was so good I

said Karen you got to come on the show

she said I love to

so Karen you're on the show welcome

thanks for having me sure thanks for

coming on home steady and I want to dive

into this subject Karen because I know

from being on the other end you grew up

with this I did and cow scared me well

what was it like just give us a little

bit of your background Karen growing up

around these animals what was life on

your family farm like oh boy it was

adventurous just to put it in one word


it was it's it's an experience above the

I guess a kind of a lifetime yeah it

it's one of those things where he

teaches youth values that you just don't

get anywhere else

teaches you responsibility teaches your

hard work all sorts of things working

with with cattle I mean that was there's

a picture of my mom and my brother out

and pasture and moms super pregnant with

with me in the woman there a check and

passed her so you could probably say

that the passions then even before I was

born so it's been it's it's it's been

since since he'd been then but yeah it's

it's it's just something that I I just

love it it's it's in the blood did you

grow up you had what kind of cattle how

many was on the family farm growing up

average is about 80 80 to 90 stocker

stairs but which is actually pretty

small what we did was actually it's a

bit different from feedlot versus the

cow calf operation where we get the

steers from a cow calf operation we we

fed them up during the wintertime and it

was wintertime was mainly with hay

silage and a little bit of grain if

necessary and then we throw them out the

pasture come you see by me May or June

is when we throw them out to pasture and

then they be out out there till till

September when they get sold so yam had

from I mean like she said your mom was

pregnant from just start forward you

were around large groups of cattle yeah

like there's a picture of me I was

probably three years old I had I made

this fight I actually made this

cardboard box or I could put my little

ponies in there there's a picture of me

playing with my little ponies just feet

away from these big steers and your

steers or steering Donny

who order what the heck I'm doing and I

was just actually just oblivious but you

know it's just what I grew up with it

was why cows in cattle why is this the

thing that you just attached to and why

would somebody want to consider raising

some of these animals on their own

homestead oh where is a pile of reasons

one one is that there are some of the

best green solar panel converting Ruben

it's that you could ever you could ever

have there's a proxy for the old bison

herds that's that I wouldn't say

non-existent because they're still

around but it's just there's not enough

of them like people like to romanticize

all we should have all these bison and

all that but you know we have a lot of

cattle and and the cattle are such great

converters of grass to something that's

edible meat milk and then what what

better could you ask for the other thing

is that they are cattle are they're kind

of an animal that is but there's a

certain prestige about them

the old man a Sian became is the Bob

wait there they they value the cow as a

meaning of a rib how rich you are the

more cows they have the part the richer

you are and and so it's it's that kind

of prestige but it's just it's just they

they kind of look at you like they look

at you like nothing like worse there's

nothing like dogs or cats can look at

you they kind of look into your soul for

me they speak they speak a different

language they I hate to I don't want to

put any human qualities to them but like

like they just know what's on your mind

and I've grown at you know growing up

around cattle uh all of us it's it's

they taught me a whole lot about me

about about them and so many people out

there that don't even know what cows

that cows are actually smarter than they

think they're smarter than they're just

a rib eye why would someone who like

myself maybe was nervous about it maybe

it's a couple and one of them is

thinking about bringing some cattle onto

the homestead why would someone want to

consider raising them that goes back to

that meat milk thing and plus plus you

know it's the ability for them to have

had that ability to convert grass to

milk I mean the thing is is that goats

are certainly certainly a good or even

sheep are great replaced but I guess you

could speak you don't have enough land

but but why someone would would consider

having a cow I think it's just kind of

kind of goes back to you know what

whether they actually like like the meat

better like the milk better cuz some

people don't like goat's milk some

people don't even know that she milk

even exists or that they don't even like

it so it's it's actually down to more of

a personal preference thing you know

what even if they if they like dealing

with these large animals these large

room minutes and you know it's it's a I

I guess it that's what it's down

- his what a person actually prefers I

have found I was known as a goat hater

for a long time and when we got goats

again on the property I got a lot of a

lot of comments on YouTube because I

actually decided after telling so many

people for so long don't bother don't

bother they're the worst we wound up

having them and I still think they're

the worst thing I'm not lying I think

goats are I wrestle with those animals

and care for those animals they're just

a headache

I love them this group that we have

right now I'm having so much fun you

know working with them they have such

personality but at the end of the day

they are they are harder those smaller

goats are harder to fence than the cows

they're the harder ones to contain

they're harder to Train they're in and

again every you know you can find an

individual animal that's gonna buck the

trend but as a generality I find goats

are a more difficult animal and the

product that you get I do not like goats

milk more than cow's milk wheat ladybugs

milk for us is it's the best milk we can

possibly get we've come around to this

feeling over the last couple years of

doing the homestead dairy if you're

looking to be self-sufficient if you're

looking to get the most you can with the

least amount of inputs it is really hard

to beat a cow because she can that one

cow a dairy cow can turn that grass a

good pasture she can turn a good pasture

into milk and she can do me too

and the milk from the cow can get turned

into butter you can't really do that

with the go you can get a separator and

go through all this extra work and but

but it just doesn't work out that way it

doesn't really work easily and the cream

and all the things you can do with that

cow maybe look to the cow because goats

are a lot of work and a lot of

maintenance and a lot of stress and you

might burn out we're one small size

you know manageable dairy like our mini

Jersey might be such a nice experience

you might just really enjoy that


so if a person hears I say that and

thinks you know what that might be for

me maybe I should forget the goats and

mandate that they bring maybe I should

go get the cow what are some things that

a person should know before getting into

cattle Karen the main thing that person

should know is that they they're big

animals there's no doubt about that they

can be very intimidating I think it's

just that intimidation factor with their

size it's that thing is that you really

gotta gotta keep in mind because people

couldn't they think oh they're just like

a big great dane no they're not not

likes to get like a really mini cow then

nope but devis the other thing is that

and before you get a get a cow you got

to make sure you got your fencing and

your watering and your feed because

there's nothing worse than comment

bringing that cow home and then all

sudden you're scrambling to get that

fencing in order get that get that water

in place and get that feed the yeah the

main thing and this comes comes back

from when we brought homers our steers

every year we bring home and in stairs

is that those animals they need a time

to to get used to the place because when

they're come home they're wanna where am

i what what am I doing here and and

they're gonna be if you don't confine

them in they could be wandering around

and you could they could potentially try

and find the way back home if you know

you're gonna want to do so having so

having them in a in a Corral where where

it's gonna be like something like a

steel steel panels or good you know

something that they're not gonna easily

break out of because they will break out

if they find a hole they can space

through or or even a short not like some

breeds are just notorious for jumping I

don't want to get into that but that's

the crux of mine you dealt with some

some different interesting cattle but

they have to stay should be staying in

that fence not just for a day it'll take

three or three weeks

for weeks at least for them too to get

used to start settling down to stop

pacing to just you know just go back to

get get to eating that kind of thing the

other thing is that people I don't want

to send a lot of forums if the cattle

farms yeah keeping keeping a family

count even backyard Hertz forms is that

people are wondering why why is why can

I get close to these cows when I can't

take it get to petting them and up and

and the main reason is that they're not

used to you you have to you have to

really be patient to get them used to

you and that's super important and the

only way you can do that is by patience

persistence being tenacious about it and

just just happen having the patience I

keep going back to that patience is is

so important because all it takes is

just hanging out with them just having a

book getting you're getting your

favorite lawn lawn chair and just

sitting out with them and reading

reading to them out loud or just just

being or just quiet like and and so that

they they see you they smell you they

realize you're not a threat and and then

they start getting to know you the other

thing too is if if you can bribe them a

little bit with some feed that'll be

that'd be great too then they start

associating you with with good things

because that's really important they got

associate you with with good things not

bad things because if they saw shoot you

with bad things they're heading for the

hills they're unit you're not going to

be it you're not going to be you're

gonna be really struggling to getting

them to to become friends with them and

in a way for someone who is less

experienced maybe they don't even have

the same fears that like I did but if

they are less experienced or someone who

is getting you know going through this

routine of just being around their

animals what should they know before

getting close to the cattle and

eventually making that step because you

do have to

make that step eventually to get in with

your cattle for some reason what do

people have to know about working in

close proximity to cattle one thing

about cattle is that they could test you

once they figure out that you're anxious

or nervous they'll try and test you

though they'll be shaking their head

they'll go try to get in your space

especially the tame ones bulls are

specially really bad for doing that you

get into a passed into a pasture me and

I've had that experience where a bull

had to directly challenged me and it was

it was terrifying it was really scary

but I should probably tell that story

because that's that you can't just let

that one go no we got come on so what

happened was that I was if you want to

hear Karen's scary bull story it's a

really good one you don't want to miss

it it's coming out tomorrow so stay

tuned subscribe to the channel and tune

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