caring for bull calves??

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by RockyToggRanch, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. RockyToggRanch

    RockyToggRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2008
    Upstate NY
    I believe my husband, who has complained for 2 yrs about my pets, is thinking about getting 2 cows for meat. I told him it would be him doing the cow chores, not me.

    How much space do they need? If I build a shelter (3 sided) in the field (which is about an acre) and fence it off, would that be enough? Would they need to be in the barn at all? How long before they can be processed? The field has not been cut for several years, could there be anything harmful to look for? Any input would be apreciated.

    There were deer with liver flukes in the area this year. I think that effects cows. Would it effect more than the liver? Is there anything we can do to prevent them?

    I'll have 3 horses and 3 goats on the property as well as my poultry.
  2. she-earl

    she-earl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2009
    Lancaster County PA
    What age will they be when you get them? If you are getting them as newborns, it would be good to get them by mid-February. The calf will need to be on milk or milk replacer for 6 weeks. If you have a neighboring farmer that uses a quarter milker when he is milking, you may be able to get 2 quarts of milk twice a day for each calf that you get. If not, you will need to buy a bag of milk replacer. One 50 lb. bag will feed two calves for six weeks. You don't want to feed more that 2 quarts to each calf at each feeding. You should give them access to some type of calf grain right away. They should get no more than 2 1/2 pounds twice a day. They will not eat much at first but it needs to be in front on them. They should also have fresh water available. While it is winter, you could offer them some lukish warm water at mid-day. The calve should also be kept separate from each other for six weeks minimum and even a couple of weeks more after they are off of milk.
    Our neighbor grew theirs for a several months and they were pleased with the amount of meat they got. Our other neighbor grew their two for a year and a half and obviously got more meat. We supplied both neighbors with the calves they raised.
    If you have two, I would think the acre would be a nice amount for them. The neighbor with the two calves had an acre or so and the other neighbor basically had a small backyard which was hardlly enough.
    If you are getting bull calves,the meat will be better if you bad their testicles or have them castarated. Another option so that you will not to have to do this, is to find a "free-martin" heifer calf. This is a heifer twin calf that has a bull twin. It almost every set of twins like this, the heifer "girl" is sterile. I raised one like that and she grew just about as big as a bull will.
    Hope this is helpful.
  3. bheila

    bheila Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2008
    Kent, Wa
    I would suggest getting calves who are already weaned. Milk replacer can be costly. It is a lot of fun bonding with them when bottle feeding them but that wasn't my point since I knew our boy would be butchered. I would also make sure to castrate them. We butcher our steers at 2 years old. For the last 2 months before butcher we grain them twice a day and that seems to bulk them up quite a bit. Sorry I don't have any answers for your other questions. Good luck, home raised meat of any kind is soooo much better then what you get at the supermarket.
  4. RockyToggRanch

    RockyToggRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Thank you both. I know they are weaned. Not sure the age. Your info has helped me start my list of questions for the seller. Thanks.
  5. bheila

    bheila Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2008
    Kent, Wa
    Another thing to think about, are they polled? If not do you plan of letting them keep their horns? Just something to think about.
  6. RockyToggRanch

    RockyToggRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2008
    Upstate NY
    I think they must be. I saw no sign of horns. Definately going on my question list.

    They are the cutest things with huge eyes far too big for their faces. They are about the size of a very large dog right now.

    I waste a lot of hay with my horses. If it's dusty or brown, I throw it away. The cows would have lots of 2nd cut hay.
  7. bheila

    bheila Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2008
    Kent, Wa
    We sell hay so it's nice to have a steer who can use the chaff(sp?).
  8. loftkeeper10

    loftkeeper10 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 6, 2009
    I have several ? are you talking about dairy calves or beef if you are i would ask ? to the people you buy them from on the best way to raise them for what you want . Horses and cattle do not mix well in a small area one acre is small if you do not feed them seperate and they can eat with out being harassed by the horses . STEER the calves makes them more docile and they will gain weight better go to the feed store that knows what they are doing and get what they recomend to feed them . You need to really ask the people in your area what to do again. I live and work on a large ranch in texas and every day is a new learning day with animals you can learn by others knowlegde and your own mistakes . But my first impression one acre of land for horses and cattle is to small must do a lot of feeding and have free choice hay all the time Again horses and cattle do not mix well .
  9. RockyToggRanch

    RockyToggRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2008
    Upstate NY
    The one acre would be for the calves. The horses are in a seperate area. I have 60 acres, but most is wooded. The field is approx an acre, maybe a bit more. My horses do have free choice hay and grazing area. I'd only have the calves until they're big enough to butcher.
  10. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    One acre will be enough for them as long as you remember you will have to supplement the grass with hay when they get older. The recommended pasture for cattle is 1 to 1 1/2 acres per head-as breeding size and larger.

    As for size of butchering, it really depends on you. I believe veal calves are done at 400-450 pounds. Regular beef, I would say most start at 750 and go up.

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