Just wondering in advance. Don't even have cows yet. Any advice is apreciated....whatever questions you asked me, I need help with. My husband is very against a milk cow ( I REALLY want one), but is open to raising some for beef with his family, but he is wondering how long we would have to raise (and pay to feed) them, so he can figure out if it is cost effective. We would be raising 3 cows for 6 families, he isn't looking to make money from it, as long as he at least breaks even. How much should it cost to buy a calf? What breed should we get? Is picking one the same as selecting a milk cow, or do you just take what is there, because all you want to do is get them fat?
I'm suspecting you'd rather eat meat than fat -- so you want a calf with a lot of natural muscling. You can make any animal fat but you can't put muscle on an animal that genetically just doesn't have it.
Beef calves can run from 12-16 months at butchering if grain fed to 24+ months if solely grass fed or run on poor quality hay/pasture.
Basics needed to answer questions: age, weight, breed, sex, species. If health Q, take the temperature! Number affected vs number in group, feed type/amount, prior vaccinations, deworming, antibiotics, any recent changes....
We just butchered a 12 mo Jersey/Holstein cross steer. Yum, yum good.
Home to Fern (Jersey), Paprika (Shorthorn/Angus heifer) Pierre and Melvin (steers); Candy, Star (horses); Louie (Doberman) Gypsy (LGD mix); 4 cats & a variety of chickens.
RIP to these special ones:
Belle & Emma (Jersey) Brody (Doberman) Lady (Holstein) Poco (QH) Skittles (pony)
The least expensive and most effecient way, imo, is 1)get a milk cow 2)get 2-3 very young calves to go on her (or just 1-2 if you want to milk) 3)let her raise them to 5-6 mos of age, wean them (and get 2 more). 4)feed out your calves on grass, good hay or some grain to 12-18 mos of age (depends on age and size).
Calves that have had a start on a cow will be larger, healthier and more robust faster than bottle fed ones. (again my opinion) This allows you to keep her in milk (and milk once a day), which gives you all the dairy products while raising your beef. I don't know that 1/2 calf is enough for a family unless it is just a couple, no kids. Or if you raise a large breed (beefmaster, simbrah, angus, etc). If you raise dairy calves for beef they tend to take a little longer and do not have the same amount of meat--they are dairy after all, different genetics. Are all the families willing to help pay for the calves and the cow and feed, etc, up front? If so that helps your initial cost, be sure to write a contract and enlist them to help with farm chores that is part of keeping a calf! (spread manure--free fertilizer!, fix fence--think curious george!, give vaccines, dehorn, trim hooves, etc) If they are not really interested in helping, then they need to pay you for the work you will do. Good luck!
Live fully. Love life. Go play outside. It works for me!
lew92: Just a note: Use the 911 area for emergencies. This is more of a chat area...
Apr 1, 2014 9:39:33 GMT -5
madameecho1: Brand new to the site, and jersey cow and bull will be arriving today! Cow is 2.5 years old and 5.5 months preggers with first calf. Any suggestions greatly appreciated...
Apr 5, 2014 10:01:02 GMT -5
treatlisa: Welcome!! You will get more activity if you start a thread of your own. Good luck with your new ones!!
Apr 5, 2014 14:23:00 GMT -5
YounkerHomestead: I am sooo glad I found this site! I don't know many people in my area interested in owning a family dairy cow. I am really enjoying reading the threads from like minded people Good luck to everyone calving!
Apr 8, 2014 12:27:00 GMT -5
dextergal: Ya ikr?!? The people on here are really sweet also!
Apr 8, 2014 23:29:49 GMT -5
Janene: Hello folks! Don't forget to look through the Tree of Knowledge! Loads of information there with photos in some sections!
Apr 13, 2014 18:38:44 GMT -5
hadassah: Hey guys check out my new post...
May 18, 2014 16:24:27 GMT -5
faithwingnut: Can someone give advice in the 911 section please!
May 20, 2014 22:37:10 GMT -5
cheyne: Hi anyone here?
May 20, 2014 23:00:50 GMT -5
mama1ruby: please help me identify a scaley round ringworm looking spots on my calves head and neck
May 31, 2014 13:08:10 GMT -5
7kremerz: Need to rehome adult pyrenees in south wisconsin
Jul 3, 2014 10:14:47 GMT -5
jennyinwexford: Cow with nose bleeds shakes head any ideas on why?
Jul 5, 2014 13:57:47 GMT -5
cathymb6: I have a new calf, not sure when to start milking heifer. Saw somewhere within the first 12 hours. Is this correct?
Jul 6, 2014 13:32:48 GMT -5
mommamary: Researching dual purpose milk and fiber goats. Does anyone have recommendations?
Jul 7, 2014 19:01:46 GMT -5
mommamary: I am researching goat breeds that have Both good milk and fiber for spinning. Are there any good ones?
Jul 7, 2014 19:03:44 GMT -5
Jenny at Sagehill: Problem w/fiber goats is they put their energy into fiber, not milk. Cashmere goats might work, but their fiber needs a special dehairing machine to remove a LOT of coarse hair from a bit of cashmere.
Jul 13, 2014 12:05:01 GMT -5
Jenny at Sagehill: Angora goats might work except they aren't bred to milk much or longer than their kids require. They're rather smaller animals and can be finicky.
Jul 13, 2014 12:08:13 GMT -5
beelady: i had an angora doe that was a precocious milker. huge udder too... right now im crossing angora buck on nubian does saving the doelings that show mohair/cashmere and breeding those onto angoras..
Jul 16, 2014 7:42:26 GMT -5
romal: hi there..does anyone know if the Heifer Diary will continue & how Joann is doing?
Jul 17, 2014 14:16:14 GMT -5
This book is intended as an inspirational manual for keeping a family milk cow. A lifetime of practical experience has been bound into one volume. Practical advice for the everyday and procedures for cow emergencies. Plus, answers to FAQ's like, 'Should you get a cow?' and 'How Much Space do I need?'