Steer question!

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Steer question!

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    12-14-2008, 02:08 AM
Steer question!

Ok, so we decided to buy a little bull calf a couple of weeks ago to raise for meat. I know next to nothing about cattle. He has already been to the vet and been made into a steer (castrated sounds so horrible! Lol) the vet laughed at me when I said I wanted him "gelded". He was also dehorned at the time and wormed. I don't know his exact age. A couple of weeks at a guess. The vet said he was a dairy/dairy cross. It is my assumption that ALL cattle can be used for hamburger right? I mean, I know/guess that beef cattle have more muscle than dairy but they must do something with the bull calves besides selling them to suckers like us! ok, a couple of questions. For now, he is in a stall in the barn and we have a "cattle pen" with an overhang for shelter when he gets older. How much should we feed him? Currently he is getting a scoop of "calf starter" 2x daily with fresh water and free choice horse quality hay. Should I give him more grain than that? Less? The vet asked my hubby about bottle feeding him (hubby took him for the de-manning) but the guy we bought him from said he hasn't been on the bottle and we haven't bottle fed him. Should we start supplementing him with formula? At what age should be send him to the "processor"? A year? Longer? Also, the stuff the vet put on him for worming (a topical wormer) he said was good for 6 months. Should be do it again in 6 months? How long until it is out of his system and we can have him processed? Thanks in advance.
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    12-14-2008, 03:16 AM
If he is not much older than a couple of weeks, then I would still have him on formula and a bottle. It has been a long time since I raised a bottle calf so I am a bit rusty. Yes, any bovine can be used for meat although holstiens don't make the best beef cattle. He should be at least a year old before you send him to the packer if you want a substantial amount of meat. If they used Ivomec to deworm him, just check with the vet to see how long it must be since his last treatment until it is safe to process. Mostly, just check with the vet because they know best. One warning about bottle calves; don't hold the bottom of the bottle against your ribs or stomach while you feed him. He will 'bump' the bottle and it can hurt, even knock your breath away.
    12-14-2008, 08:08 AM
Thanks! I'll get some formula asap. Should I continue on with the calf starter? He is eating it and some hay too.
    12-14-2008, 10:11 AM
Good luck being able to butcher him after keeping him a year, bottle feeding and all, especially if you have children.
    12-14-2008, 06:04 PM
The bottle feeding part will be hard. My original plan was to keep him in food and hay and not have too much contact with him other than that. He would have comforts, shelter, vet care if needed etc. But I'm not going to "make friends" with him. My youngest is 15 so she will have to deal with it or go hungry. That may sound mean, but it is a fact of life. His name is "hamburger" in spanish. Not sure how its spelled something like hombregeso. To remind us what he is for.
    12-14-2008, 11:59 PM
Eh, if he is only a month or so old, I think I would hold off on the calf starter for a while. What age does it say on the bag? You could go ahead and leave some average quality hay in his pen just in case he decides he wants to munch. Your daughter is lucky. I always had to feed ours and I always got attached. They tasted good anyway though. :)
    12-15-2008, 12:05 AM
Poor little steer! At least I know he will live a comfortable life before being killed for consumption.
    12-15-2008, 09:58 AM
I would skip the bottle and try to feed out of the pail...

Growing up we raised dairy steers, We would band them when they were a couple days old and would burn the horns off. He does need to milk replacer, The milk needs to be warm but place you hand in the water to see how hot it is... if you can't stand the warmth it is too warm, and then mix per the instructions. He wont want to drink out of the pail at first because he doesnt know what you want, but we would stand over the calves and put the pail in front of the calves... they will try to fight you, then stick you hand into his mouth to get him to start sucking and then keeping you fingers in his mouth put the pail so he can start drinking the milk

(sorry if you are confused)
After a few times he will just go nuts for the pail... we used to have 15-20 calves to feed so after the initail few days we could just go down the line dumping the milk in the tubs. Over time you can start to lessen the amount of replacer to wean him off.

I would make hay and feed available for him to munch on... also a small pail of fresh water. We would buy sweat feed and then put a handful or two of calf mana on top.

Dairy steers make good meat, they just arent as much has beef type. You should be able to butcher between 12-18 months depending on his development. For deworming we would buy the stuff that you poor on their backs and it is absorded through the skin (you just can't pet the calf for a few days) but their is an a time frame that you can't de-worm prior to butchering... can't remeber the time but it is on the bottle. Once the calves were off the milk we didnt play with them much... have you thought about getting two for company???

When he is older you will want to get him on some corn and concentrate... but the concentrate can be harmful to horses so keep it in a secure place. The hay lessens also and the grain is increased, hay is more of a filler where the grain puts on the meat.

Good luck!!!
    12-16-2008, 12:26 AM
Thanks Angel! We did have an orphan foal once who wouldn't take a bottle no matter what kind we tried. We ended up feeding him from a bucket, so I think we can do that with the calf. I am a little confused about the concentrate. What do you mean by that? Is there a brand you could recommend? Thanks!
    12-16-2008, 12:50 AM
Chat Moderator
If he is a steer is is concentrated. We sent our calves to our feedlot at roughly 6 months, our calves were born in Feb to April and we had them weaned around Sep./ Oct. And in the feedlot around Nov.But while the calves were being backgrouned they had the same basic food as our animals in the feedlot, silage.

Brands are a legal mark of ownership,and can be registed in all state and in several western ones must be.

If you're talking about milk replacement forumal, what ever your local feed store has will work.
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