Welcome to an awesome life! Lots of work but so worth it. It looks like you are getting some good advice here so far. Definitely have good fences in place before getting any livestock. It can be really tempting to get livestock first because it’s so exciting but you will regret it. Don’t ask me how I know. 😊
American woven wire makes a really great fence especially with a strand or two of barbed wire at the top. Of course wooden posts are best but to save money you can space them out—like 2-3 T-stakes between each wooden post. Of course you can also go with all T-stakes. Either way, make sure the fence is tight and the corners are braced. The wire should also run on the inside of the posts so if cattle push against it, it won’t pop the staples out.
You will probably also want a small corral. An easy way to make one is with a few gates or you can buy one at some farm supply stores. Then if you occasionally feed the cows in the corral it will be much easier to bring them in if you need to catch them for any reason.
Now cows. I love cows. In my opinion, Jerseys make very nice homestead cows for milk but not a lot of meat for beef. Dexters have a reputation of being good all purpose cattle for the homestead. I have never owned dexters but the people I know who have, didn’t keep them for long. I understand they’re not really practical. Not much meat nor much milk. Unless, of course, you only want a very small amount. But obviously some people must like them or they wouldn’t be so popular.
My favorite breed of beef cows is Herefords. Their only downside is that they are notoriously stubborn. (So are Jerseys) I like Herefords because they are usually calm, readily available and inexpensive. The beef industry has advertised black angus as the “best” for years because black angus cattle grow well and can handle the extreme temperatures of the prairie or desert better than some breeds. So black angus cattle are usually more expensive than other breeds. Personally I don’t care for angus because they’re often skittish and hard to handle.
My choice for an all purpose cow for both milk and meat would be either Shorthorn or Belted Galloway but these usually aren’t as readily available as the more common breeds. They are nice medium sized cows that generally have good temperament and performance.
In my opinion, the best flavored beef is from the Holstein cow but Holsteins are bred to produce milk and are very inefficient as meat producers. They make a lot of meat but it takes a lot of feed to produce it. They are also a very large cow. So they really aren’t practical for a homestead beef cow.
Well, this all may be more information than anyone wants. 🤷♀️🙃 I can really get excited about cattle. I have lived around them most of my life and have owned all of the kinds I mentioned here except dexters so I can’t speak from personal experience with those.
I wish you the best. Cattle are fun!