Herdshare Cow – Wordless Wednesday

Not so Wordless this week…ha!

Our family drinks and goes through a lot of milk in a week so we’ve been looking at the possibility of getting a herdshare cow (the kids will own a portion of her milk “shares” and we’ll sell “cow or milk shares”, which is where other people desiring raw milk will buy shares of her, that is if IL doesn’t change their raw milk laws). We have been researching dairy cows or rather our daughter has been, and even went to visit a Guernsey dairy farm in Wisconsin, nearly two hours away, in November. The economical benefits to owning our own cow would allow us to supply our family with milk for 8-10 months out of the year, plus all the other dairy products we enjoy – butter, yogurt, ice cream and cheese, as well as providing others with fresh milk too.

Then a couple of weeks ago while my mom was here we came across a Craigslist ad for a Guernsey for sale locally. It was a person we bought some of our bookcases from just after we moved into this house. The reasons we like this cow is she’s local so less travel time, less stress on the cow. The owner is raising the cow the way we want to, which is a huge factor to us wanting her. The cow was also affectionate to our daughter the first time she went in her pen, which resonated with us…so….we bought her!

Guernsey Cow Eclipse Pictured at her old home.

Eclipse is a 5.5 year old Guernsey. She has given birth to three calves, the third one was born last year. Even though it’s been a year since her last birth she is still giving a couple of gallons of milk per day. We are really impressed, but we are newbies so it doesn’t take much to impress us ;) She is being fed pasture, hay and fodder (sprouted grain). We *think* the fodder is what is helping her give milk for so long between calves. Either that or she’s just a faithful milker! Here’s to hoping she likes us as well as she did her former owner.

The children are hoping her first calf with us is a heifer (female) so they can buy back the herdshares and make Eclipse our family cow. If she has a bull calf, then he’ll be processed for beef and shared among all the shareholders. We hope to get Eclipse bred this spring or summer, Lord willing. First we have to figure out when she cycles, which can be hard to determine when there’s only one cow. Or so we’ve been told.

While I grew up surrounded by cows, I have very little experience taking care of them, especially a dairy cow. Growing up I watched them being milked and took their yummy milk from the cooler of our neighbors milk parlor, but not once did I take care of one or milk one. I took care of my pastor’s beef cow when he and his family went away a couple of times, that’s my extent of caring for a cow. Other than that my experience is limited to visits to neighbors farms in my hometown in Nova Scotia, having the cows lick my rubber boots and runny a muck through their pastures as a child.

We are excited but a little apprehensive, as cows require a set routine and it’s a whole new animal to acclimate to our farm. So do you have any experience with cows?

Stay tuned to more adventures of milking a cow, making butter and even fencing….from our fledgling little farm….

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  1. amanda roach says:

    i always say my kids drink a cow a day.lol

  2. That sounds like such an adventure, I am excited for you! My grandparents had a farm when I was little, but they only raised cattle to sell for beef, and no dairy cows.

  3. Lol, very wordy, but love it anyway :)

  4. Tammy says:

    I’m a city girl so …not much experience with cows LOL!

  5. Darlene Jones-Nelson says:

    the only experience with cows was visiting my mom’s friends farm. we milked them with machines and I asked to try with my hand and that was fun squirting at the barn cats.

  6. Alison says:

    I would agree with Tammy – I am more of a city girl, but love to look at cows as we drive by and point them out to our daughters, too, but your cow is really a pretty cow – I love the color!

  7. Marcie W. says:

    How fun!! I think this is one thing I can safely say I could never do, run a farm. I’m looking forward to living through you.

  8. Alison, we think she’s pretty too. She’s pretty well behaved too. ;)

  9. Marcie, happy living vicariously! ;)

  10. Cassandra Grant says:

    What a great family outing! I visited a Cow farm in Idaho when I went there for my job and watched a calf being born myself. The hardest part for me was them taking the calf away right away.. We did get to watch its first steps though. That was really sweet. Thanks for the post!

  11. Cassandra, yes the trip to the Guernsey farm in WI was a fun outing, but this post is about us buying our own cow and learning to take care of it.

  12. Rachel says:

    How exciting. You know I am living vicariously through you until we move.

  13. Rachel, glad to be a vessel! ;)

  14. courtney says:

    Ah a wordful wednesday :) Such a pretty cow!

  15. Good luck. That is quite the endeavor, but she sure looks sweet :)

  16. I’m actually a touch nervous FOR you!

  17. Mellisa says:

    Am I the only one that thinks that cow is cute!! Looks like quite and adventure.

  18. Jennifer says:

    I think that’s a great thing to do! I can’t wait to see more pictures and hear about your adventure!

  19. Angela says:

    Wow! This is pretty awesome.

  20. sheri s says:

    love your weight loss “essential oils”, thanks for the tips! very informative.


  21. Stacy D. says:

    How awesome is that! I kind of want to own a cow. I LOVE MILK!!!!!!

  22. Debi H. says:

    We had a Guernsey when I was a kid. My sister is the one that had to do the milking though. Will be nice having your own milk, butter, butter milk.

  23. Debi, that’s cool you had a Guernsey. I’ve milked one full milking time and another time part of the milking. Our daughter WANTS to milk, she doesn’t HAVE to do it. She’s wanted a cow since she was four years old and is doing marvelously or moo-veloulsy. ;)

  24. Donna says:

    She’s a beauty!

  25. Amy Tolley says:

    pretty good way to save on milk and make some money…..thanks for sharing shes a beautiful cow….

  26. Never had a cow but good luck!

  27. Sheri says:

    What a great adventure! I’m sure you will all be experts in no time.

  28. Colleen says:

    I love to see how different everyone lives, as a city person I can’t imagine having a cow LOL.

  29. That’s awesome! Congrats on the cow!

  30. LyndaS says:

    No experience with cows, other than drinking milk. I love dairy products!

  31. Stefani says:

    Pretty neat cow!

  32. Maria Iemma says:

    My Dad owned a farm and we had 5 cows, they all had names and answered when called. From a young age I was taught to love the earth and the animals that feed us. Love your picture.

  33. Michelle F. says:

    what a beautiful picture.

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