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Baby Calves - Need Advice on Raising

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I am interested in getting a baby calf or two and need some information, before I get one. 

1.  How long do I need to bottle feed?
2.  What shots/vacinations does it need?

Any and all other information that I am not thinking about at this moment...lol

I went to an auction today and they were selling calves for $1.00 each.  I was shocked.  They sold a set of 5 for $8.00.  I was so tempted to get one or two or three....lol   I knew that I needed to find out a little more information before I actually went out and bought one, so please help me out and inform me.

Thanks,
Dorothy

post #2 of 17

You must go over to BYC's sister site:   http://backyardcows.com/forum/

They'll
help you out with anything people here can't.

Australorps, Andalusian, Black Sex-link, Brahma, Buff Orps, EE, SS Hamburg, RIR, Red Sex-link, Silkies, Sussex, Welsummer, White Leghorns, Wyandotte and Guineas!
____________

Progressive Pics Cheat Sheet
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Australorps, Andalusian, Black Sex-link, Brahma, Buff Orps, EE, SS Hamburg, RIR, Red Sex-link, Silkies, Sussex, Welsummer, White Leghorns, Wyandotte and Guineas!
____________

Progressive Pics Cheat Sheet
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post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks Chirpy.  I didn't know that there was a backyardcows.

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by babyboy1_mom 

I am interested in getting a baby calf or two and need some information, before I get one. 

1.  How long do I need to bottle feed?
2.  What shots/vacinations does it need?

Any and all other information that I am not thinking about at this moment...lol

I went to an auction today and they were selling calves for $1.00 each.  I was shocked.  They sold a set of 5 for $8.00.  I was so tempted to get one or two or three....lol   I knew that I needed to find out a little more information before I actually went out and bought one, so please help me out and inform me.

Thanks,
Dorothy


Bottle feed at least 3 months then start weaning it with grain or grass, depending on the season. 

As far as vaccinations, the minimum is CD/T.  I use a cattle 8-way which gives you better coverage.  If you plan to breed the animal, then you need a Bang's vaccination which a vet must perform.

The animals which go for $1-20 at auction are dairy bull calves, almost entirely Holstein (with jersey's being the rare exception).  They won't grow like a beef cow.  Cow milk replacer is also incredibly expensive, around $75 per bag.  You'll go through several.

So, these animals won't turn into the best beef you've ever had; but it is a cheap way to get into cows without dishing out $750 for a started steer/heifer.  I would be far more tempted with teh situation if you told me you milked dairy goats and you could use the goat milk to help offset the milk replacer cost.

In the long run, the best use for these beasts is to raise them to veal age and then slaughter it for "Baby Beef" in your freezer.

post #5 of 17

Calves are tempting at the auction but sometimes they go that cheap cause they wont live very long unless you get lucky. Most dont as they didnt get enough colostrum and will die...its sad but thats the life of a dairy bull calf. I feel for them but the dairy hardly feeds them anything and then takes them to the auction. Usually they just hit them in the head. Bull calves are a dime a dozen and most dont want to deal with them cause you have to castrate them before 6 mths and bottle feeding isnt easy either as they drink 1 gallon a day divided into 2 to 3 feedings and you have to be consistant when they are fed or they get sick. Lots of work and they dont make very good pets either. Think before you buy 1...been there.

* And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens. * Proverbs 27:26-27
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* And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens. * Proverbs 27:26-27
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post #6 of 17

No one mentiomed housing -Do you have a shed to put it in and how about a good strong fence and a way to get it loaded as it will be big later.

I am always hatching something from-3 peafowl (purple cock over purple hen and a blue split to white hen), a pair of red golden pheasants, 3 muscovy ducks, 4 BCM (1 roo/3 hens), 7 EE (1 roo, 5 hens of various colors), 7 silkies 1 showgirl hen, several mixed laying hens, 6 coturnix quail. More farm life with goats and rabbits.  One wonderful man, a grown son and daughter and 4 grand kids.

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I am always hatching something from-3 peafowl (purple cock over purple hen and a blue split to white hen), a pair of red golden pheasants, 3 muscovy ducks, 4 BCM (1 roo/3 hens), 7 EE (1 roo, 5 hens of various colors), 7 silkies 1 showgirl hen, several mixed laying hens, 6 coturnix quail. More farm life with goats and rabbits.  One wonderful man, a grown son and daughter and 4 grand kids.

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post #7 of 17

I would first deside what you wanted it for. If I'd been there I probably wouldn't have been able to resist bringing one home. Obviously if your wanting to breed, most likely these are all bull calves and wouldn't be good choice's, I can't comment on raising them for beef, I've not done that. As for pets, I have a pet steer (and a pet cow) that I raised on a bottle, and he's been a fine pet, big and useless, but a good pet either way. My cow atleast has a use, but I would suggest no horns!

When buying from an auction, just be prepared, alot don't get a good start and sometimes they can't be saved. And a draft free shelter is very important, right now I'd probably keep it/them inside all the time for atleast a month, I might would even hang a heat lamp for it.

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all for the information. 

greyfields - What is a CD/T and an 8-way?  Most of these little bulls were holstein or mixed.  I do not have a goat to milk, but I do have a friend that has a dairy farm and I am going to talk to him about this also.  He is just so busy, that it is hard to catch up to him. 

I have purchased a holstein from the auction before, but I did not raise him.  He was housed at my sister's house and they took care of him for me.  I cannot do that this time and want to learn what to do before I purchase another. 

As for the taste of the beef, I have had both holstein and red angus and we prefer the taste of the hostein better.  I don't know why, but the red angus just didn't taste as good.  I am going to purchase one for the meat.  I did not realize how much better tasting that the fresh beef tastes, compared to the store bought. 

Chatychick - I know that the calves bought from the auction have a good chance of dying.  As I told greyfields, I have purchased one in the past, but did not raise it myself.  My sister purchased 3 or 4 before she got one that survived.  My brother bought 4 and lost 2 of those.  I know that it will be hard, but it is worth it to me and my family for the quality of meat that I can get from the home grown bull.....lol

justhatchin - The shed and fencing are in the process of being built now.  I know that it has to have an enclosed shed, even though the temps. here do not get that cold.  I understand that these are fragile little bulls to start with and I need to do more to protect them, than I would one that has had the colostrum and been cared for by the momma cow. 

Haviris - I know what I want to raise it for, beef...lol  The last one that I had purchased had horns and he was not castrated.  Once he started to get a little size to him, then he started giving my sister trouble.  That is the reason that we decided to go ahead and have him slaughtered.  We are preparing the shelter for him now. 

Several people have mentioned that the heifers were in the range of $400 to $800, but there were a few little heifers there and they ranged from approx. $80 to $150.  There were cows that were bred (2 - 5 months) with a calf that were selling from approx. $400 to $800.  Someone was there selling his/her entire herd. 

Dorothy

post #9 of 17

When I was younger, I worked on a dairy farm, the farmer kept them in calf hutches, then when they were about 4 months old (I"m guessing on the age)  they were put into a pen with 4 other calves, then fed a milk and water mix, usually 1 5 gal. bucket of milk, then 2 of water. In the winter, he'd put jackets on the smaller calves. Just use lots of bedding, and if you do buy one from an auction, make sure it got its colustrum.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by babyboy1_mom 

Thanks to all for the information. 

greyfields - What is a CD/T and an 8-way?  Most of these little bulls were holstein or mixed.  I do not have a goat to milk, but I do have a friend that has a dairy farm and I am going to talk to him about this also.  He is just so busy, that it is hard to catch up to him. 

Several people have mentioned that the heifers were in the range of $400 to $800, but there were a few little heifers there and they ranged from approx. $80 to $150.  There were cows that were bred (2 - 5 months) with a calf that were selling from approx. $400 to $800.  Someone was there selling his/her entire herd. 

Dorothy


CD/T and the 8-way are vaccines.  CD/T covers two forms of over-eating disease and the T is for Tetanus.  You can spend more money for an 8-way which covers you for 8 different clostroidal diseases.  Either way, you have to buy a whole bottle to vaccinate one cow.  Can you find a farmer near you that would let you use a shot from his supply?

A cow/calf pair would be a FAR easier way to go.  The ammount you'd spend on milk replacer will easily eclipse the extra money you'd spend on getting a cow with the calf.

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