Most people will tell you that two acres per cow is what you need to raise them. We only have one and a half acres of pasture. Being the entrepreneur that I am, I came up with a plan. Smaller cows. Bottle calves to be exact. Most dairy farms will sell you bull calves for a good price. They don't need them and usually want them gone at only three or four days old.
I bought three or four at a time. I have had up to fifteen at a time on my acre and a half.
- A good shelter
- A round bail of hay
- A good water tub
"How could you possibly afford all that milk replacer?" You ask. What most people don't know is that dairies throw away milk. Usually called "dump milk." it is fine for calves, but not good for people to drink. You may want to ask the next time you buy some calves from a dairy.
We raise the calves until they're weaned, sometimes selling younger ones to turn a profit to pay for hay, grain and more calves. We sell them in the fall, keeping three or four to put in the freezer for the family.
If you are creative you can make any situation work for you.