Cow Share

Thank you to everyone who participated in and enjoyed our Cow Share Program. We have rehomed our milk cow and no longer offer Cow Shares. 

Cow Share Program:

Welcome to The Shire Farm Cow Share Program
Providing raw milk services for your Cow Share

What is a Cow Share?

Also known as a herd-share agreement. A cow-share/herd-share is an agreement entered into by an individual, or group of individuals, whereby they purchase a share of a cow and its production and pay a farmer a fee for boarding and milking the cow(s) that they together own. After the cows are milked, the individual or group then obtains the milk from the farmer.

One “Cow Share” provides 1 gallon of raw milk per week (in two 1/2 gallon glass containers).

One "Half Cow Share" provides 1/2 gallon of raw milk per week (in one 1/2 gallon glass container.)

The cost of a Cow Share is a $25 six-month Share buy-in (non-refundable), plus $20 per month fee for boarding, and a one-time charge of $8.00 for the glass containers.

The cost of a Half Cow Share is a $16 six-month Share buy-in (non-refundable), plus $10 per month fee for boarding, and a one-time charge of $4.00 for glass containers.

Don't want to have to remember monthly payments? 
You can also pay all 6 months costs up front--$153.00 for a Cow Share, $80 for a Half Cow Share for 6 months part ownership of a Jersey cow and access to her raw milk!

1. How is the cowshare program with The Shire Farm set up?

You make a one-time payment of $25 to buy a share of the Shire Farm's Jersey cow for 6 months, and a one time payment of $8 for the use of 4 glass milk containers. In addition, you pay a $20 boarding fee each month for the feeding and care of your cow. Your share entitles you to one gallon of milk each week. You may buy as many shares as you would like. We also offer half shares, which entitle you to a half gallon of milk each week. For a Half Cow Share, upfront Share buy-in is $16 for 6 months, a $4 container use fee, and monthly boarding costs are $10, half that of the Cow Share.

2. Are cowshares legal?

Yes, they are. It is not legal in this state to sell raw (unpasteurized) milk to the public. However, you may use as much raw milk as you wish from your own cow. Since you own a share in The Shire Farm's cow, you may legally use the milk from your share in any way you see fit.

3. How should I handle the milk that is supplied to me?

The milk supplied will be raw--that is, it is not heat-treated or pasteurized. It will be chilled; and you should take care that it remains so until you can get it home and into your refrigerator. If you have some distance to drive or stops to make before you arrive home, it is imperative that you make provision with insulated containers and ice or chillers to keep the milk at refrigerator temperature until you return home. Milk should be kept in a refrigerator set at 35 degrees. It should not be left out for long periods at meal times.

4. How do I get my milk each week?

All cow shareholders come to the farm to pick up their milk, a mutually agreed upon day and time will be assigned. The owners bottles will be waiting in the farm fridge until our scheduled pickup day. The owner will return their jars weekly, cleaned and dried, and with the owners name clearly marked on the jar, and pick up their filled jars. If milk is not picked up by the next scheduled pickup, the Shire Farm is not responsible. Cow Shareholders can have a friend or relative pick up for them if need be at the prearranged time and day.

5. What is the milk stored in?

Milk is stored in glass 1/2 gallon mason jar bottles. Fresh milk taste better when stored in glass, as well it retains a longer shelf life.

6. How long does raw milk last?

If milk is kept in a fridge set at 35 degrees, it should last for at least 7 - 10 days. If milk is not maintaining its freshness, here are a couple of things to consider:
~Be sure to monitor your fridge temp to ensure milk is being kept at 35 degrees (and don't keep milk in the door).
~Be sure to transport milk in a cooler with ice after picking up from the drop site.
~Be sure to not leave milk out at mealtime for long periods.

7. Do I have to find someone to take over my share if I move out of town?

You have no long-term commitment to the farm. Your share is transferable through gift or sale although you're not obligated to do either. Should you decide to discontinue participation in the cow share program, please let us know at least 14 days prior to the end of the month.

8. What happens to my milk when I'm on vacation?

We encourage you to let a friend or family member either enjoy your milk while you're away or freeze it for you so you can drink it when you return. If you'd rather we donate your milk to a family in need, just let us know. Refunds are not given since the shareholder's cow still needs to be boarded, milked, and cared for even when the owner is on vacation and not receiving milk.

9. What do the cows eat?

The most important part of their diet is the pasture grass on which they graze all day (and, in the winter, high quality hay). Premium forage produces the very best milk. Note that the pastures here are not fertilized with any chemical fertilizer. They also receive mineral supplement free choice and available at all times. Our cows never receive antibiotics or growth hormones in their feed.

10. How much milk do the cows give?

Unlike the typical dairy breeds, Jersey cows give a smaller amount of milk which is higher in butterfat. Our cow gives about 3-4 gallons, per day. We generally share the milk with the calf the first few months, and milk once a day in the mornings, getting 2 gallons a day for ourselves and cow shareholders in the first few months of the calf's life. After we wean the calf we milk twice a day. We are responsible to them first; the milk they share is a gift we don't take for granted. The fresh milk is strained and transferred directly into cleaned jars with the owners name and placed into our farm fridge inside. Please note that milk production varies with the season, the weather, the quality of the forage available; and the normal curve of the cow's lactation cycle.

11. Will the milk always taste the same each week?

A factor in the taste of the milk is the type of grass or hay (in winter) that the cows are eating. Various types of forage affect the taste of the milk - sometimes making it sweeter, sometimes creamier, sometimes off-tasting. Off tasting milk is not yummy to drink but still good for you. Check these recipes for some ideas of what to do with milk that isn't delicious for drinking.

12. Will the births of the calves have an impact on milk supply available to cowshare owners?

Yes, they might. During the final 6-8 weeks of a cow's pregnancy, she should be allowed to be "dry" (not being milked) because she is putting so much of her body's resources into growing the calf. During calving seasons, there may well be times when we cannot supply you with milk in the normal amounts or on the usual schedule. We will do our very best; and ask for your understanding and cooperation.

13. Do you have a website you recommend for further research about the benefits of raw milk?

14. Do you offer skim or fat free milk?

No, we don't. The cream is an important fat for your body. It's fine to skim the cream off the top of the milk and use it for other recipes, but be sure the cream finds its way into your diet. We never recommend skimming the cream and throwing it out.

15. Do you have any suggestions for milk that is a couple of weeks old and has gone sour?

It's always good to remember that unlike pasteurized milk, raw milk gets better for you the older it gets. The probiotic properties in raw milk continue to multiply as the milk ages. (i.e.: the increased health benefits of yogurt) A wonderful educational cookbook for learning how to use raw milk is Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions."

16. What conditions do the cows live in?

The Shire Farm staff will take excellent care of your cow by providing all the fresh pastured grass it wants, clear clean well water (same as we drink) from multiple locations in the pastures and barns, fresh hay is available unless there is fresh pasture grass. We do have sheltered areas in the barn, a run in, and large shade trees scattered around the pasture if they need to get out of the weather, on-call veterinarians if needed anytime of the day or night, live-on farm staff that monitors anything they need overnight and during the day. Owners will be able to observe the living conditions of the cows during their weekly visits to pick up their milk.

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