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Old 06/02/08, 04:31 PM
BlackWillowFarm's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 1,313
Holstein bull calf for beef?

My neighbor down the road runs a dairy farm. He stopped by today to see if he could rent some of my pasture land. Times are tough around here because of last years drought, among other things.

We were talking and I thought he might be able to help me get a calf to raise up for the freezer.

I asked him about possibly getting a weaned bull calf. He said he would sell me one for $100.00. This would be a first for me so naturally I have a ton of questions....

He said it would weigh about 140 lbs,and that he would castrate it and de-horn it for me. Is $100.00 a fair price? I know almost nothing about raising a steer. What I do know I learned here or online. Getting a steer to raise for the freezer is something I planned to do this year, but I've held off basically because I don't have a clue what to expect or how much it's going to cost me. Do you think this would be a good way to get started?

I know the price of grain is high so I think I'll just feed hay through the winter with some grain added. Is this a reasonable idea? I read somewhere that dairy bulls are meaner than beef bulls. Should I stay away from the Holsteins since I'm a beginner?

I originally though about getting started with Dexters, but I don't know of any close by. This guy is just down the road and would be available to help me if I have questions. It seems like the easy solution, but I don't know. Help.
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Old 06/02/08, 05:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: CHINA
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Holst. grow the fastest...A Jersey cross is good meat

$100 is a very fair price for weaned (about 6 weeks old). Actually cheap!

A little grain and plenty of good hay and he'll grow all winter...
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Old 06/02/08, 05:05 PM
ErinP's Avatar
Too many fat quarters...
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SW Nebraska, NW Kansas
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If he's going to castrate for you, then he won't be a bull now will he...
I'm going to guess he won't fill out like a beef breed would, but hey, cheap is cheap. I'd think about it, too.
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Old 06/02/08, 07:06 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Middle TN
Posts: 2,569
We pay $100 for a week-old, unweaned, uncastrated calf, so $100 seems like a good deal for what you are getting.

As far as meat, we sell our beef calves at market and eat a Holstein every year. The meat is fine. We feed hay, but supplement with about 2-3 cups of feed twice a day, particularly when they are young.

I've heard that Holstein bulls are nasty, but your calf won't get that old (18-20 months) before it's eatin' time. One theory I heard is that since Holstein (or any dairy) bulls are often bottle-raised, they tend to see humans more as something to confront rather than something to be a little afraid of (like beef cattle seem to be). FWIW...


The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work. --Thomas A. Edison
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Old 06/02/08, 07:33 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Idaho
Posts: 4,332
A friend got a Holstein steer and put it on pasture. He grained it and hayed during the winter. He kept waiting for it to fill out some before calling the butcher, but being a dairy breed, it never finished. He finally called the butcher and the thing weighed 1900 lb. Whoops. But he said the meat was great.
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Old 06/02/08, 07:52 PM
Jhn Boy ina D Trump world
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: NC
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I sell my weaned, castrated, and dehorned two-month old holstein cross calves for $300.00 to $350.00 each, so sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
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Old 06/03/08, 02:05 PM
francismilker's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Oklahoma
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An article in the May 25th issue of Hoard's Dairyman magazine shared how one feedlot out in Arizona has went almost exclusively to holstein beef for finishing. I was very surprized to read that an average of 15% of holstein carcasses graded choice or better compared to only 2% of beef carcasses......

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" James 5:16
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Old 06/03/08, 02:43 PM
MullersLaneFarm's Avatar  
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: NW-IL Fiber Enabler
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The first beef we put in the freezer was a holsein. He wasn't fully steered and got real bully at 11 mo, so he went in the freezer early. Good eating!

Holsteins are known as fence jumpers, so watch out for that.

We have a couple of jersey steers lined up for the next two years for freezer beef.

One was castrated early (last falls calf), but the other is over a year and was castrated just last month. Now, I would never turn my back on him,(as with any large livestock), but he's a real sweetie.

He was taught respect at an early age and it was enforced over and over.

As for horns, we've only had one bovine that was polled. Got to watch for them when their swinging their heads to move flies.


Last edited by MullersLaneFarm; 06/03/08 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 06/04/08, 06:40 AM
BlackWillowFarm's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: West Michigan
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Originally Posted by MullersLaneFarm View Post
The first beef we put in the freezer was a holsein. He wasn't fully steered and got real bully at 11 mo, so he went in the freezer early. Good eating!
You answered my next question. I didn't know if butchering so young would affect the flavor of the meat.

So far, from all the positive responses, and what I've been reading online, it sounds like we should do it.

Now I have to find a freezer.
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Old 06/04/08, 09:18 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Northcentral Ohio
Posts: 655
We had two holsteins last year. We bought them as three-day-old calves for 130.00 each, so I'd say 100 bucks for a castrated, weaned and de-horned calf is a good deal!

Our mistake with our holsteins (and thus their early demise) was we did not think about minerals after they were weaned. Totally stupid on our part. Anyhow, both holsteins ended up breaking one of their back legs. We had a friend come over and he killed them and took them home to butcher, so at least it wasn't a total waste. But we really kicked ourselves for not htinking about minerals.

They were our only two holsteins. We have been getting jerseys and jersey/holsteins as the dairy farmer that sells them to us sells them for 10.00 each. Can't beat that! We had some trouble with them last year (scouring), but so far the ones we got this year are healthy as can be.

Got off on a tangent....sorry! LOL! Good luck with your steer!

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