What do I need to know about owning a milk cow?

My family is going through 3 gallons of milk in a weekend! Not to mention cream which we use for coffee, ice cream and cooking. As well as probably a pound of butter a week. I make everything we eat from scratch so these fresh items run out faster than in the average American household. We have a small ranch... show more My family is going through 3 gallons of milk in a weekend! Not to mention cream which we use for coffee, ice cream and cooking. As well as probably a pound of butter a week. I make everything we eat from scratch so these fresh items run out faster than in the average American household.

We have a small ranch on 3 acres with a fenced pasture with good grass and a barn. My neighbors buy steers from a local dairy farm, so I'm sure I could talk to them about buying a heifer. I also know that I will have to breed her before she will give milk. After that I'm totally lost!

What kind of care do cows need besides daily feeding? What's best to feed a milk cow? What kind of vet care do they need? Who much does it cost to breed? Do I need a vet in for delivery? I have been active in the birth of cats, dogs and goats but I'm not sure about this one. Does she need to be breed every year to continue to give good milk? How many years will she give milk? Any other info?
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