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Starting small cow operation ?'s

This is a discussion on Starting small cow operation ?'s within the Farm Forum forums, part of the Barns, Boarding, and Farms category

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        01-23-2013, 03:44 PM
      #21
    Weanling
    Are you planning on selling them live or sending them out to get slaughtered and selling the beef yourself? In my area there are restrictions on how much you can sell yourself although I would like the idea of slaughtering at least one animal and selling it to friends and family.
    I'm not sure about where you are from but in my area grass fed beef is huge! You can make a lot more money that way even though growth is sometimes slowed a bit. Don't try to do it unless you are going to make sure not to overstock your pasture or you have excellent quality hay to supplement with.
    If you're planning on getting newly weaned calves they should be given grain for a couple of months... their rumens aren't functioning efficiently enough to digest strictly hay although they would do well on quality grass. It's not like horses either..you want to make sure they have access to feed at all times. The more they eat the faster they grow.
    Vaccinations in your area may be different as well but we vaccinate for respiratory disease and BVD (using Bovishield Gold) pinkeye and rabies. You probably won't need to deworm because they will be slaughtered at a fairly young age and won't have time to develop a large parasite burden. If you notice that they are not gaining you can deworm them... We deworm our dairy cattle once a year with a pour on solution (Eprinex).
    As far as breeds I love herefords! I don't have any experience with Angus but I like the idea of them too. Don't fall for getting a beef breed crossed with a dairy breed..it's really not worth it. Dairy cattle are not meant to have a lot of meat on them so a cross is less than ideal although they are cheaper to purchase. Also, it pays to ask the farmer you're buying them from to dehorn and castrate them if you want that done because they are simple procedures for most farmers to do and it will save you quite a bit of money by not having to pay to have a vet do it.
    And the best part about having cattle is you get to chase them with your horse ;) Have fun with your new bovine hobby!
         
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        03-06-2013, 02:49 PM
      #22
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by laurapratt01    
    Are you planning on selling them live or sending them out to get slaughtered and selling the beef yourself? In my area there are restrictions on how much you can sell yourself although I would like the idea of slaughtering at least one animal and selling it to friends and family.
    I'm not sure about where you are from but in my area grass fed beef is huge! You can make a lot more money that way even though growth is sometimes slowed a bit. Don't try to do it unless you are going to make sure not to overstock your pasture or you have excellent quality hay to supplement with.
    If you're planning on getting newly weaned calves they should be given grain for a couple of months... their rumens aren't functioning efficiently enough to digest strictly hay although they would do well on quality grass. It's not like horses either..you want to make sure they have access to feed at all times. The more they eat the faster they grow.
    Vaccinations in your area may be different as well but we vaccinate for respiratory disease and BVD (using Bovishield Gold) pinkeye and rabies. You probably won't need to deworm because they will be slaughtered at a fairly young age and won't have time to develop a large parasite burden. If you notice that they are not gaining you can deworm them... We deworm our dairy cattle once a year with a pour on solution (Eprinex).
    As far as breeds I love herefords! I don't have any experience with Angus but I like the idea of them too. Don't fall for getting a beef breed crossed with a dairy breed..it's really not worth it. Dairy cattle are not meant to have a lot of meat on them so a cross is less than ideal although they are cheaper to purchase. Also, it pays to ask the farmer you're buying them from to dehorn and castrate them if you want that done because they are simple procedures for most farmers to do and it will save you quite a bit of money by not having to pay to have a vet do it.
    And the best part about having cattle is you get to chase them with your horse ;) Have fun with your new bovine hobby!
    Excellent information! Thanks so much. I am looking forward to getting them!
         
        03-06-2013, 02:53 PM
      #23
    Weanling
    Also can I get someone to elaborate on feeding weaned calves?
         
        03-06-2013, 03:01 PM
      #24
    Green Broke
    I would start with preggers cows or cows with calfs. This way you know the cow can be bred. Some cows are not fertile. Also where will you get the Bull when its time to breed ? I think the shorthorn and hereford are pretty cows. Limosine are sposed to be more heart healthy leaner meat . Many people think a beef cow has to be black tehy realte it to Angus. Charlois are pretty cows also. Go to your local auction and see what breed or crosses are selling for the highest dollar before you start your herd. My neighbor did Longhorn and also slaughters them, says they are really tasty.
         
        03-07-2013, 10:30 AM
      #25
    Weanling
    Feeding Weaned Calves

    Usually dairy calves are weaned at around 8 weeks old although assuming you are keeping the babies with their moms to nurse out on pasture as most beef producers do it will be very different. If you are buying weaned calves to start it depends on what age and what feeds the farmer has been using. I can tell you what we do with dairy calves that we separate from their mothers immediately...At 8 weeks they should be eating at least 2 lbs of calf starter (specific grain) a day but you want them to have it free choice, always making sure they have access to grain. They will consume more grain as they grow and by 3 months they are likely to eat 4-6 lbs of starter a day. Usually, around 3 1/2 mos we'll start mixing in a heifer grain with the starter until they are only eating the heifer grain. Alot of farmers will not introduce hay into the diet until they are on the heifer grain at around 3 months but we offer them access to good quality hay from the beginning. We like to give them a taste for it and they seem to like to chew on it and it also keeps them from eating their bedding at times.We don't give them alot (maybe a couple of handfuls) while they are still on starter so that they don't fill up on hay (they don't actually have a fully functioning rumen to digest the hay until around 3 months of age so the hay is of very little nutritive value until then.) After 4 month they should be fully digesting and breaking down hay so you can give them it free choice and cut back on grain...although I'd still give them about 4 pounds a day (more if your hay is of poorer quality). I'm sure that it will be different for you with beef breeds and depending on the age that you buy them at but I just wanted to give you an idea.
         

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