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kait18 11-09-2011 12:06 PM

beef and dairy questions??
my folks want to make our 21 acre farm more self sufficient. so knowing that we already have chickens lol and thats it besides my horses who are useless in that department :)

but what type of beef cattle and dairy cows would you recommend.

and what suggestions do you have when it comes toraising them and feeding them.. i have done some research it already and like the jersey cow but for the beef cattle i have no idea :)

any help would be appreciated... my mom wants to have two beef calves next summer and a dairy cow as well.


Delfina 11-09-2011 12:38 PM

Angus... they are YUMMY!

I have an Angus steer and heifer right now, they are both quite friendly and easy to take care of. They get free choice Timothy hay (horse quality, so these cows are in heaven) and about a pound of grain that they share. The grain keeps them friendly and really easy to move around, just shake the grain bucket and they come running. They also have a heated auto-waterer and a 12x12 run-in.

Angus bulls tend to be very mean. Not sure why but I've been told this by man experienced cattle people, so our friend bought a Hereford Bull (who is extremely friendly, eats out of your hand) and we're going to breed our Angus heifer to him next spring.

Speed Racer 11-09-2011 12:58 PM


Originally Posted by Delfina (Post 1227697)
Our friend bought a Hereford Bull (who is extremely friendly, eats out of your hand) and we're going to breed our Angus heifer to him next spring.

Angus/Hereford crosses are very popular, and yes, the Hereford side will make the cattle more tractable. They're both beef breeds, and tasty. :D

OP, I've heard that Holstein dairy cows produce a lot of milk, but they're nasty. Guernseys are supposed to be sweet and docile.

kevinshorses 11-09-2011 01:14 PM

How you handle a cow effects thier disposition more than the breed. I've been around angus cows that you could walk up to on the range and pet and I've been around herefords that would chase you over a fence. As far as dairy cows, I wouldn't buy any. If you have one milk cow you might as well have a hundred because you have to be home every morning and every night to milk them. Forget about vacations because finding someone that can and will milk the cow properly is next to impossible. For the amount of milk most families use it's cheaper to buy it. It's also safer because it's tested for bacteria and disease and pastuerized.

RoosterDo 11-09-2011 01:31 PM

I recommend doing a goat for milk purposes, they are smaller and easier to handle than a cow. Goats generally need to be bred each year to continue producing milk and you can butcher the unwanted offspring (usually the boys) and so you have meat and dairy! As with cows goats need to be milked twice a day at a 12 hour interval for at least the first 3-4 months of lactation after that if they are making more milk than you need you can drop them down to once a day. When we chose goats over cows we did it because we new our family wouldnt need the amount of milk a cow produces and because we like the cleanliness and generally easier aspect of taking care of dairy goats. We raised a pig last year and we are raising a cow this year on our excess goat milk!

mls 11-09-2011 01:49 PM


Originally Posted by kevinshorses (Post 1227733)
How you handle a cow effects thier disposition more than the breed.

To a point - however we treat all of ours the same. Some are simply more easy going than others. We have full siblings that are night and day different in attitude. Born, raised, handled and fed the same way.

We raise purebred and commercial Simmental.

kait18 11-09-2011 02:45 PM

wow... lots of info. thanks for your input.
so you know not sure if it helps but we are starting the self suffiecient thing for our entire family not just immediate.. so we are talking like 24-30 people.

so we were going to do 2 beef and 2 dairy.
dairy i was looking into a creamy milk that way i can make yogurt and a few other things with it. thats why i was thinking jersey cow... but i never thought of goats. i will have to look into that section.
as for beef we were looking at angus but had mix reviews. but you guys made a good suggestion with a cross of hereford and angus... never thought of mix breeding a cow. :)

now some of you might have both or one side of this operation. but what is your normal feed schedule for the animals???
i have been told and found anything from only hay to needing grain to only grazing on grass... so any tips in that sectionwould be helpful.
thanks again

kevinshorses 11-09-2011 02:56 PM

It depends on what you have that you can use to economically meet the needs of the animals. Dairy cattle or goats will take much more feed than the beef cows or meat goats respectively because they have to produce the milk in addition to maintaining wieght.

mls 11-09-2011 03:04 PM

2 of each isn't going to go a long way for 24 people. Steers are typically butchered between 18 months and two years. We share one with 6 people. If you want them to gain weight to be butchered, you will want them in a confined area and fed grain. Walking off pounds in the pasture won't garner you much beef.

Our steers are grained daily. Cows are grained while nursing. Heifer calves are grained for a few months after weaning to help discourage weight loss with the life style change. Our steers and heifers we aren't keeping are sold between 600 and 800 pounds. All have hay 24/7.

A cow will need to be milked two times a day. Preferably 12 hours apart. Holsteins are the largest producers - under ideal circumstances can produce up to 100 pounds of milk a day.

What are your local rules on housing cattle? You may want to check into rules and regulations before you get too far ahead of yourself.

kait18 11-09-2011 03:05 PM

we have 15 acres fenced in now. and are fencing in another 3-4 acres next spring. i thought the animals would have enough roughage from grazing from the summer with little grain. and in the winter add hay for roughage and grain still.
we have 3 horse now and getting another. then add 2 beef cattle, 1 dairy to start with and possible 2 sheep.
you think that 15 acres would be enough with proper rotation or should i plain on giving hay in the summer too?

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