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Old 02-06-2013, 12:19 PM
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More please. I know I have a tremendous bias but this is my favorite thread.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:08 PM
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Difference between quiet cattle and cattle that are easy to handle. Really dont want them to quiet, if they dont fear you a bit they will have no respect for you. Most people fall into 2 camps when dealing with livestock, they are either to gental/soft with them or to agresive. The trick is you have to be both. Most of the time its better to be gental with them but the trick is you have to be able to ramp up the agression instantly when the need arises, and as soon as you get the desired response you have to go straight back to gental mode. Its harder than it sounds, many people handle stock all there lives and never get the hang of it. Its no coinsidence that people that are good at handerling animals are ussally good with kids
I think the best way to put it is you need to be firm with cattle. Be nice, but don't let them walk all over you.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:46 AM
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Everyone new to raising cattle should have a keen respect for their herd. Any full grown cow can hurt you with no malice intended. My biggest problems have always been "bottle babies" or ones I've had to feed due to lost of the mama. I have one for years that I had to put her mother down due to a snake bite. After feeding her three times a day for weeks, now she at full grown size still sees me as her "mama". When I pen them for doctoring I have to do her alone since she likes to sneak up on me and butt me for attention. She wouldn't hurt me on purpose for anything in the world. The best part was when I took her home nearer to my house from the pasture where we keep our cows then which was a 20 mile trip thur two cities with her sitting in the passenger seat of my jeep. People beside me at stop lights got a real chuckle out of it.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:39 PM
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Question Shade Question, and "Crazy" Cows

Growing up we had a small Angus herd, with a herd bull. They were kept on pasture in the orchard year-round and fed hay in the winter. They did have access to shelter in the barn, but none of them ever took advantage of it. I guess the pecan trees provided enough shade to keep them from getting heatstroke? That's a question because we want a bull and cow who would have tree shade but nothing else. With temps getting over 100F for weeks at a time in the summer, would that be sufficient?

Also - some of those Angus cows were just plain crazy. I can't tell you how many headcatchers (made of stout iron) they tore up. Through the years I also saw them: go over an 8' corral fence made of 2 x 10s; go through an opening in the side of the barn that was half their size; trample their own calves to death when penned awaiting pinkeye treatment (Dad separated cows & calves after that - he was learning, too); and literally climb over their tightly-packed neighbors to get away from me, a small child. I'm just sayin'...
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:20 PM
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some breeds and strains of breeds are harder to andle than others. Old saying here that angus cattle can stand on one leg and kick with three. Haveing said that, if your haveing that much trouble handerling and they are dangerous, it is virtually always human error. To big a topic to cover here and there is plenty of better people than me that can describe what to do and what not to do.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:22 PM
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Tree shade will be fine for cattle. They do better in hot weather than cold weather.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:33 PM
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Anyone know a good book on raising drop calves? In the 30 years that I have been raising them, I have yet to find a good book?
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:51 PM
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Cattle tips 101.

Never move cattle South very far. You can move them North, but not South. The native grasses on the plains are stronger in protein and TDNs than Southern grass.

If you move acclimated cattle 500 miles South, they will under-perform and figuratively starve to death on green pastures.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:19 AM
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Cattle tips 101.

Never move cattle South very far. You can move them North, but not South. The native grasses on the plains are stronger in protein and TDNs than Southern grass.

If you move acclimated cattle 500 miles South, they will under-perform and figuratively starve to death on green pastures.
I was always told that you can move cattle uphill, but not downhill.

Grass at higher elevations is stronger than grass at lower elevations. Usually there is more grass at lower elevations, but just not as stout.

Tex
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:29 AM
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Growing up we had a small Angus herd, with a herd bull. They were kept on pasture in the orchard year-round and fed hay in the winter. They did have access to shelter in the barn, but none of them ever took advantage of it. I guess the pecan trees provided enough shade to keep them from getting heatstroke? That's a question because we want a bull and cow who would have tree shade but nothing else. With temps getting over 100F for weeks at a time in the summer, would that be sufficient?

Also - some of those Angus cows were just plain crazy. I can't tell you how many headcatchers (made of stout iron) they tore up. Through the years I also saw them: go over an 8' corral fence made of 2 x 10s; go through an opening in the side of the barn that was half their size; trample their own calves to death when penned awaiting pinkeye treatment (Dad separated cows & calves after that - he was learning, too); and literally climb over their tightly-packed neighbors to get away from me, a small child. I'm just sayin'...
If you get cattle from someone in your area then the amount of shade that you have will probably be fine, as the cows will be accustomed to the climate. I know from experience that given woods over a barn cows will generally choose the woods. I have always assumed that it had something to do with the evapo-transpiration from tree leaves that made them feel cooler.

As far as the crazy angus cattle, I was raised around angus cows and the temperament of the animals is a direct result of the amount of human interaction that they have. Out of nearly 100 full grown cows there are none (except the bulls) that I would not get into a confined space (barn, corral pen) with to work. I know the dangers of working cattle, I have been kicked, headbutted, run over and knocked out cold by cows, but there are none of ours that I would be afraid to be near.

Like I said the key to having good tempered animals is to spend time with them. Many of the cows that we have were raised on the grounds from birth. In fact many of the cows have never set one hoof off of our property from birth to death. But the crucial time to associate with the animals is when they are calves. In raising heifers, we feed them grain daily as a way to familiarize them to humans. It is from then on that they recognize you as "friend" not foe.

Although we have as much interaction as possible you can see the difference in the temperament of calves that are born in the winter vs the summer. The winter calves follow the older calves and come in the barn frequently to get grain and are used to humans. The summer calves are a little more skittish at first because when on pasture they are not around us as much, but when cold weather comes and they follow their mommas to the barn to eat, they quickly warm up to you.

The craziest breed that I have seen as a whole have to be Charolais, the all white animals. I know of a couple of people who have them and even the show calves that have had lots of human interaction are hard to control. Any breed will have the wild ones from time to time and it is usually best to sell or eat the ones that have a wild hair about them before they hurt you. From my experience angus and herfords are relatively tame, if you do your part. But just remember to have a healthy respect for the animal when working with them. And always look for signs that the animal is getting agitated and about to go rambo on you. There is a fine line that you have to learn between exerting your dominance over the animal and knowing when you are out matched.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:23 AM
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On the subject of dangerous cattle the Brahma is infamous for being the worse but having been raised around them, pure bred and crosses I've seen another side to them. I've got a close friend who is very involved with the breed. He has a great reputation and sells his bulls and cows all over the world. I've watched him move on foot in a pen with his young bulls and cull them by disposition only. His method has improved the reputation of the breed.


A couple years ago my partner and I bought sight unseen 12 heifers that until the day they were penned lived in a swamp their whole life having never seen a man or horse. I had to move them fast to their new pasture because we were afraid they were going to hurt themselves, each other or destroy the new trailer I put them in. They were roach crazy and dangerous. Within 2 weeks I could handle them in pens on foot and my kids hand fed them from the back of my truck with ease. Just like a dog it's all how you handle them and train them.
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:01 PM
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Tree shade will be fine for cattle. They do better in hot weather than cold weather.
Been an interesting read...will keep checking it.
We raise Hereford cattle here in north-eastern Wyoming and have been working with cattle for a while...there are definitely some people here who are more knowledgeable than me.

I would disagree with the statement that cattle do better in hot weather than cold - it depends on the breed. I wouldn't want to run a herd of Brahma in Wyoming, nor a herd of Scottish Longhorns in southern Arizona. We have to be careful even here in Wyoming not to over-work our cattle in the heat - it is very, very easy to overheat cattle especially when they get stressed. We do most of our summer work in the early morning before it heats up, and when we round-up or drive cattle we do it slowly. All of them do very well in Wyoming winters.

On the subject of bulls, the most dangerous animal is a tame bull - they are never predictable and I would never trust one.
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:11 PM
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Hi - newbie here who hasn't been around cows since hanging on my great uncles' dairy farms when I was a child...

We are getting 30 acres in West TN. It has a year round stream, fully fenced, lots of hills, a few flat areas/pastures, and a few ponds.

I was thinking of getting two calves to raise for beef (I didn't want to get one and have them be lonesome!). The problem would be that we would be there full time in the summer, and then only around one week out of every four to six weeks. I do have my best friends who live one hour from the new property who could check on them (as they will buy one, I will buy the other) occasionally but it wouldn't be everyday.

Would I be able to raise them for a year free range without direct daily supervision? I figured I would plant a few of the gardens (that are fenced to keep the deer out) with a type of hay or alfalfa so that they could munch on that as well as provide hay. There is a shelter (three sided) where the current owners (we close in a few weeks) have kept their houses and it is also fenced in but no grass in that corral.

And, what kind of cows are best for this type of ranging/beef if it is feasible?

Thanks for your patience while I learn! I have read all sorts of books but would rather hear directly from people who actually raise them since I keep getting conflicting information, depending on which book you read..

Randi
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:21 PM
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I personally wouldn't leave any animal without supervision - there are too many variables regarding illness injury even with daily/weekly checks. Cattle are a huge investment. For example I just had to put a horse down because she broke her leg, and we check our animals everyday. Would you really want this to happen to one of your cows and have them like that for a week or more? Illness is the same thing. Even big ranches with thousands of acres have someone checking cattle on a frequent basis.
Fencing a garden is unlikely to keep determined cattle out unless you use pole panels, and even then I've seen them compromised so your home-grown vegetables are likely to be toast if you aren't there (low chance in the winter).
If you want to buy and raise like a yearling operation - buy in spring, feed and slaughter in the fall you would be certainly in a good position for that. I think this would be the way to go. Some ranchers do fall breeding which is the kind of calf you would need for this set-up - it would be weaned in spring. Any breed is good for this, but check your area for what does well and is suitable for your needs - don't buy holstein if you want beef. We raise Herefords and Black Baldies so I am partial to those - generally easy to handle with good weight production.
Just my opinion and I hope it makes sense to you.
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:06 PM
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Thanks Dune! That was what I was really thinking - I didn't feel comfortable leaving them alone but didn't know if that was just because I am a woose and haven't learned to not think of them as pets yet or if it wasn't safe for them. I don't want to accidentily put an animal in danger through incompetence and lack of knowledge.

One other question - how do you tell when they weigh enough? It's not like I can pick them up, step on the scale, and then weigh myself when not holding them like I do the dogs! Although that might be amusing for a "new farmer out take video"..
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:56 PM
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Ha ha. Generally there is no set weight for slaughter and meat production - a trained eye will usually be able to give you a fairly accurate estimate of weight. We now run a cow-calf operation but we started out with yearlings because, like you, we weren't at the ranch during the winter.
If you have a local auction house you can often load them up and take them to their scales to get a weight, or to the local truck stop (weigh the truck and trailer first, then add cattle and weigh again and do basic math). At a year old, which is generally what you will be looking at come the end of summer you are looking at around 700-800lbs depending on the breed, the bull and the cow, and how early in the season you slaughter. Generally weanlings (fall calves in your case) are bought at around 400-500lbs, fed on grass all summer to achieve the 700lb weight. Honestly, you can slaughter at any time, it just depends on how much beef you want out of it. What you might want to ask the seller is for low birth weight, high gain beef cattle. This is what we look for with breeding, but you also want it if you are putting meat on the table.
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:26 AM
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Ms. RandiTS I wish you luck on your venture. You asked some excellent questions. Been around cattle operations big and small all my life but I literally learn something new EVERY day. If I may give some advice -- The best source of answers for most questions and problems are neighbors and ranchers in the area of your operation. Feed stores, large animal vets, and sale lots but ONLY in your area!. Ranchers in your area deal with problems that are problems to them. A problem in Texas and it's solution means nothing to me in Fla. and vice versa. Breeds are good only where you are. For example a brahma in Fla wouldn't be a good choice for Montana. The grasses in Montana wouldn't even grow in Fla. etc. etc. Let me know if I may help you but again your best source is next door to you.
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:52 AM
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Thanks Protector! I am just so excited and trying to plan ahead for when we get our property. We were suppose to close last Friday (although some strange way of doing business in TN meant that even though I owned it, they don't have to move out for a period of time between 30 - 90 days that we had to agree upon - I chose 30!) but now there is an issue with the bank wanting a signed right of way from the historical church and cemetery that we share a road with because technically, it is on the church land. Of course, the county paved it, the mail is has been delivered at least for the past 40 yrs to the driveway of the property that I am buying AND the church only holds services one a year for homecoming and upkeep (it is a "retired" one room church from 1877) - UGH.

The people around there are SO friendly so once I finally GET there, I will do just as you suggested and get right to the feed store and also just roam around looking for cows and then introduce myself :-)

Ya'll are a font of information and I appreciate your sharing of your knowledge!
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:02 PM
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Glad to have found this thread as I will be moving back home and getting back into the cattle ranching/farming lifestyle. (we have herefords) I will be doing my best to build the herd back up to what it was before my grandfather died (we had around 50 head, now down to 20 since my grandmother sells a cow everytime she doesn't have shopping money-grrr)
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:22 PM
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Spring is soon coming to my area in the north. I am concerned about preventing bloat in my calves. Has anyone some helpful tips?

I have heard that I must wait for the grass to grow to 8 inches before turning them out to the pasture. Is there anything else I can do to make the transition from hay to pasture easier?
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