Saturday, April 19, 2014

Milk Is Expensive; Should He Buy The Cow?

Dear Tazi:

Do you know the expression "Why buy the cow when milk is so cheap?" Well, milk is no longer cheap. In fact, the price of it is continuously climbing, with the price of local, organic milk topping $7.00 a gallon!

I live in a rural area, and would like to buy a cow in order to produce my own fresh, organic milk. The cost of the cow would be amortized over the years and, in the end, I believe the cost of owning and caring for a milking cow will be cheaper than continuing to buy milk. My wife says I am crazy, and refuses to even consider my plan. She likes you, Tazi, and always says your advice is spot-on, so I know she will listen to you if you agree with me about buying a cow. What do you say? Cats like milk!

Milk Lover

Dear Milk Lover:

You are really talking about milk, right; and not a metaphor for something else? And for the record, a cat's love of milk is an old wives tale. Most cats lack both the ability to taste sweet foods and to digest lactose. If offered milk, most of us cats will drink it for the moisture and promptly get sick.

I just re-read your letter to make sure I wasn't missing anything - you really are considering buying a cow? - and have to ask if you have considered all the angles, including the facts that:

1) a cow has to be milked every day, 2 - 3 times a day, so long as she is producing.

2) a cow is a mammal, and like all mammals does not produce milk (without chemical encouragement) unless she is lactating - which requires her to have recently calved and be regularly pumped in order to keep producing, lest her milk start to dry-up.

3) a good producer can produce 8 - 10 gallons of milk per day; so unless you are Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar or you are planning on sharing your product with the neighbors, you are going to be drowning in milk.

It is possible to purchase a genetically hybridized cow that is smaller and therefore produces only 1 - 2 gallons of milk per day; but you imply a preference for organic milk, so I am not certain this would be the avenue for you to take. WikiHow offers detailed information on how to keep a milking cow, including important considerations on feeding, grazing, and medical care (did you factor veterinary bills into your amortization?).

If at the very least you are not willing to wake every morning at 5 AM to milk your cow - no days off, no holidays, no vacations, and no sleeping-in - and rush home after work every evening to milk her again (no drinks with friends or working overtime), then you should not be entertaining the idea of getting a dairy cow. This is in addition to all of the other responsibilities that come with owning a farm animal. Milk is suddenly looking a whole lot cheaper, huh?

If it is fresh, local, organic milk you seek for a reasonable price you could probably buy it directly from a local diary farmer. Many rural areas have local farms that sell their product to large, commercial dairy producers - a solution to your problem that is much cheaper than buying the cow.

Snuggles to you and your wife,

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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