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.
~Your decisions are only as good as the information you base them on~
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!
moserfam6: I am in the Kansas City area and need some comfrey to make a poultice and/or feed to a cow that broke her leg. Anyone know where I can find some comfrey?
Dec 7, 2013 17:44:35 GMT -5
jettat: Need help yearling bull calf got into pig food sometime since yesterday and is down with diarrhea. Vet didn't come out but said only thing to do is give it Kaopetric (SP) but don't give us much hope. Any suggestions would be a big help.
Dec 8, 2013 15:26:03 GMT -5
hroewe: Just finished Joann's book. It was fantastic!
Dec 12, 2013 23:11:17 GMT -5
milkingoneand: Contact me off group and let me know exactly what you're looking for as I'm currently looking at heifers ready to breed soon. I have a couple of farm visits on my list, and might be able to help you out.
Jan 31, 2014 14:24:44 GMT -5
brassj41: Good morning folks!
Feb 1, 2014 7:52:41 GMT -5
brigitte: Contact me by PM I have a fancy MS registered heifer 10 months old
Feb 2, 2014 20:11:38 GMT -5
fordkevint: Hello, I am looking for a family milk cow in Southern KS this spring. Anyone have a reference out there?
Feb 13, 2014 10:59:18 GMT -5
littlebirddog: Getting some calves ready to be weened any good ideas
Feb 14, 2014 12:33:01 GMT -5
whitegas: I'm looking for our first family milk cow. We live in Michigan. Anyone have suggestions of where to find one?
Feb 16, 2014 20:02:00 GMT -5
FarmBoy66: Littlebirddog, get them started on grain, free choice. They also need to have water. Try to get them interested in it and then in small steps start taking their milk away. They should be fully weaned in about 2 weeks or so
Feb 17, 2014 20:21:25 GMT -5
fairfarmhand: I love this place. No one else, even my husband understands why I'd do all the work, spend all the money, just to milk a cow.
Feb 19, 2014 14:29:45 GMT -5
frauline214: oI am new to forum. I have a jersey/beef cow cross who is due to calve shortly. I plan on adding other calves to her after she calves. This is a first time freshener and she has been raised to let me milk her. Any suggestions how many calves I can add?
Mar 2, 2014 19:10:43 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?'