Animals in Permaculture: Cows
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
You can see in the picture below how much grass grows at Aanandaa during the monsoon. Actually, even a slight rainfall triggers the growth of tall grass at the farm. For many seasons now, we have been inviting village folks to cut the grass and take it away for their cattle. But now we decided to get out own cattle to consume this grass. We expected the cows to perform the following roles in the eco system i) graze on the grass and keep is manicured ii) give us dung to make manure which we used to buy till date iii) give us urine (a known insecticide and antibacterial) as they graze across the farm and iv) give us milk for dogs.
Having done a lot of reading about desi cows and jersey/holstein cows and decided that we wanted desi cows only. We looked around in the village, and found someone willing to sell a pair of desi cows. We got them cheaper than the goats (believe it or not!) and for Rs 5,000/- we welcomed Nandi and Gopi to Aanandaa.
The cows are free range, and walk around the farm grazing all day. At night they are secured under a tree to prevent them from being attacked by any wild animal. They are not very friendly, but are okay if you pat them or scratch their ears!
Update 2020: We now have many more cows than we originally had, and we built a house for them. Also a paddock for them to walk around in. See this video!