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cattle raising

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

what are your thought on rasing cattle?? is it hard?? do they need a lot of attention?? do they need shots often or they don't need it at all?? are they sick often?? or are they very hardy?? which kind of cattle is best for rasing for food??

post #2 of 37

If you are looking for meat cattle try Simmental or angus. They are the best for meat. As shots, only needed when they cough. There's a sickness that's common and that's coccidiosis, chickens get the same thing, easily treatable. Cows I say can be very hardy, I would suggest having a run-in shed for when it snows. One more thing is if your cattle have horns they will need to be removed at a young age otherwise they could hurt you or another cow. They do not get sick often. Hope this helps :)

post #3 of 37

If cattle have the right kind of fences, feeders, and shelter, they are easy to raise.  If you don't have the right equipment, they can be a nightmare.

 

They must have a tetanus shot and then you ask the local extension agent what diseases are in your area that you must vaccinate for.  There is a shot to give to calves  that are going to be kept for breeding that is to prevent brucillosis.  That shot is required by law in Oregon, and is a very good idea anywhere else.

 

How many cattle and what are they for?  Just your family?  To sell live animals? To sell meat? I prefer the British breeds. Black white face is a  good cow to raise. If you are going to eat the cow, don't get all crazy with purebreds.

 

My very favorite for my own family is a black beef looking calf with a holstein mother and a black angus father.  If it looks like an angus, with maybe just a big white belly spot, it will be well marbled and meaty and the holstein beef is very fine grained with a lovely texture.  I would buy those heifers and then breed them back to a black angus and get wonderful calves that were 3/4 angus and 1/4 holstein.

 

Those calves from the dairies are cheaper than pure beef calves.  Some look like holsteins and some look like angus. you want the stout black calves.

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post #4 of 37

Cattle require a lot of acreage per animal if you are going to depend on grazing them vs. feeding them hay year round. Depending on your area of the country/climate, that could be as little as 5 acres per head, or 100+ acres per head.

 

Some climates require that you feed hay in the winter (or year round), and cattle can eat LOTS of hay. They also produce an equal amount of manure, so you will need a way to handle the manure. You can use solely small square bales, but if you have say, more than 4 or 5 head of cattle, then round bales are a lot easier and more economical to manage. Feeding round bales can require specialized equipment (i.e. tractor with bale spear, bucket, pickup bed mounted bale spear, etc.).

 

Fencing definitely IS important. It needs to be strong.... If the grass is greener on the other side, the cattle will find a way to get to it. You will also need an area with super reinforced fencing to "work" the cattle: seperate/treat sick ones, vaccinate, worm, load/unload etc. You can make do with 6 or so heavy duty pipe corral panels, depending on how many cattle you have. But the more head you have, the larger and more specialized your facilities need to be.

 

They do need shelter, and it doesn't have to be fancy. A good close stand of cedar trees can be sufficient, but a run-in shed is nice, also.

 

They drink A LOT of water. And they will need access to it 24/7/365. So you'll need a heater for below freezing. And running water (like in a hose!) sure beats the pants off bucket-brigading it from the house.

 

Vaccines depend a lot on what you intend to do with them, and where you live. You'll also want to get educated on parasite control. A local cattle vet or county extension is a great resource for that info.

 

Yes, they can get sick. It can be a simple fix, or it can be a long expensive ordeal. One thing to keep in mind is that most large cattle operations are in it for production and income. Therefore, they do not sink thousands of dollars into veterinary care with questionable results. If the animal cannot be "cured" to the point that it can be fattened up for sale or bred, then it is culled (generally taken to a sale barn). I've seen all sorts of cattle illnesses - from bloat to uterine prolapses to water bellies to foot rot to lightening strikes to mastitis and on and on... I have, cough, cough, sunk several thousand dollars into my "pet" Hereford....

 

Breed wise.... Well, you can get into LOOOOONG arguments with lots of people about what breed is best. Many people are very loyal to "their" breed - much like sports teams, car manufacturers, etc. You need to get what works best for YOU - what fits on your acreage, what temperament, what size, polled vs. horned, what your intended use is. Be aware there are "flippers" out there - people who buy cattle at local sales and then "flip" them for a higher profit. So watch out for Craigslist ads - look for clues on the property. Personally, I am partial to Herefords (full size or mini) and Dexters. I actually prefer the Dexters more because their temperament and milk production.

 

Polled cattle are nice for beginners - they give you a bit more confidence in your safety. But horned cattle are fine, also. They don't gore other cattle or animals, but you can accidentally get bumped with the horns... Dehorning is best done when the cattle are very young, though it can be done up to a certain size. But the larger the horns, the more gory the procedure. As in - horror movie, spurting blood, huge caverns in the skull - gory. We waited too long to dehorn ONE TIME and we'll never do it again. You can pay more to have "cosemetic" dehorning done, and it is much less gory, but cha-ching - you don't want to do it to a herd of 100. $$$$$

 

Your cattle will need to be transported on occasion. You'll need a way to haul them yourself, or a way to hire someone to do it for you. Finding someone to haul onesie-twosie loads can be challenging. Don't expect to be able to haul them in a horse trailer, either. Some horse trailers CAN be used, but many cannot - they are too small, the dividers and padding gets damaged, the doors/ramp are not compatible with the chutes at the vet/processor/sale barn.

post #5 of 37
Thread Starter 

thank you everyone I got a pair of twins jersey cattle theres a boy and a girl hey don't have any signs of horns yet but will it grow in?? and yes its for the family...im planning on maybe getting a dexter too...to mix for the meat but idk if I should keep back the female or male?? and they were for meat but I found these guys and they were a good price that's y I took them :))  and im bottling them :)) ill post up pics when I can...so when can I let them in the pasture?? and when will they be weaned of bottle?

post #6 of 37

Unless you have a need for a bull, you'll want to get the bull calf castrated ASAP. You can band him yourself at home, or have a vet come out (or take him to the vet). You can do the old  "slice and dice" method of castrating, but, IMO, banding is cleaner and less traumatic.

 

Generally, we keep the heifers to produce more calves. We either sell the bulls/steers at some stage of their lives, or fatten them for our own freezer. Even if you do not own a bull, you can still get your heifer or cow bred - by A.I., or borrowing a bull or taking the female out for a "date".

 

Horns can grow at different rates on different breeds. You may be able to feel little "nubs" and if you part the hair you will see the horn buds. Another alternative to dehorning them is weighting the horns so they turn down and cannot puncture anything.

 

At some point soon, you'll want to transition from the bottle to a nipple bucket, and then to a regular bucket. It will save you the frustration and mess of having to hold a bottle for a rambucious calf.

 

How much pasture you have, and what condition it is in, will help determine when you will turn them out. You cannot turn them out into a poorly conditioned pasture and expect them to thrive and grow. They will starve to death. You'll want to ease them off the bottle and onto hay and pellets and into pasture. Don't do anything cold turkey.

 

You can raise dairy breeds for beef, but do not expect to get huge, well marbled cuts of meat off of them, like you see in the grocery store. They tend to be leaner muscled with less marbling. But, in the end, it really makes no difference in the pride factor of knowing YOU raised the meat in your freezer, and YOU know that it was fed a healthy diet and lived a healthy life. You just might be using the crockpot a little more! ;)

post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlebluefarm View Post

thank you everyone I got a pair of twins jersey cattle theres a boy and a girl hey don't have any signs of horns yet but will it grow in??

 

 

Both those calves are for meat.  Get the bull calf castrated ASAP.  Jersey bulls are dangerous.  The heifer will be a freemartin because she is a twin born with a brother.  She will never breed and if she can't calf, she will never produce milk.  So both of those calves are headed for the freezer.  Jersey meat is excellent.


Edited by Oregon Blues - 12/28/12 at 10:50am

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post #8 of 37
Thread Starter 

so the female is infertile? and castrate the boy?? so since they are twin both are infertile? and how old should I butcher them then?? can I keep the boy?? or is he infertile too?

 

if so what should I fatten the up with? to fatten them up?

post #9 of 37

Do a google search on freemartin heifers, you'll get good info.

Really, not feasible to keep a bull on a small farm, or for one or two cows. Use AI for breeding or transport your cows to a bull for a month or so to get them bred. Plus, if you're wanting milk, you'd want the female to be the jersey and the bull to be meatier.

 

Your male calf isn't infertile, that's why you need to castrate him. Jersey bulls are big! and steers are much better for meat.

 

Run them on pasture with hay when theres no grass until 18 months or so. Some folks feed corn or grain the last few months to add fat to the meat.

 

I'm not positive on how long to bottle feed a calf............four months maybe? I'll let someone else take that one.

Rachel BB

 

"and I'll praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands,  for You are who You are, no matter where I am. Every tear I've cried, You've held in Your hands....You never left my side. Although my heart is torn, I will praise You in this storm"

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Rachel BB

 

"and I'll praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands,  for You are who You are, no matter where I am. Every tear I've cried, You've held in Your hands....You never left my side. Although my heart is torn, I will praise You in this storm"

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post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon Blues View Post

 

 

Both those calves are for meat.  Get the bull calf castrated ASAP.  Jersey bulls are dangerous.  The heifer will be a freemartin because she is a twin born with a brother.  She will never breed and if she can't calf, she will never produce milk.  So both of those calves are headed for the freezer.  Jersey meat is excellent.

Jersey bulls are among the meanest I have ever seen.  Rutgers University used to have a herd of show Jerseys.  The bulls would try to hook you over the top of their box stalls much like Mexican fighting bulls - have him castrated as suggested.  Female twins in conjunction with a male twin have been affected in utero hormonally and are infertile.  Listen to Oregon Blues.


Edited by sourland - 12/28/12 at 8:13pm
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