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  #1  
Old 12/27/11, 08:12 AM
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Jersey Bulls

At what age do Jersey bull's temperaments start changing?

We have several Jersey cows and not being able to find a bull to borrow or a vet to do AI, we bought a bull last year. He is now 3 years old or so. We've bred him already and will be moving him down here from a friend's house this week. I'm wondering about when they change because thus far he has been the quietest most laid back bull I have ever seen, although we absolutely never take him for granted, take unnecessary risks or even go in with him if it can be helped, but I said the day he starts changing is the day he goes in the freezer. But I was kind of wanting to know about what age they start changing? I said as long as his temperament holds, I'll keep him, but I do watch him very carefully and I never allow the kids near him at all. We take the same precautions with him that we do with the pigs for safety's sake. I don't trust him at all. But thus far he has not given us a lick of trouble.

Any guesses on age that I need to think about getting rid of him?

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Old 12/27/11, 09:03 AM
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I recently had to get rid of my bull because he turned on me. He was around 1 1/2 to 2 years old. Luckily all my girls are currently bred but I'm going to be in a bind this spring. I don't have a replacement. He had just hit the stage where he stopped looking like a scrawny teenager and he really looked like a bull. He had just started getting some good size on him and really filling out when he turned. Anyways, if he's 3 and still not showing any signs of aggression I would say you are good to go. That's not saying that there won't be some change in circumstances that lead him to change his behavior but at 3 he should be done growing and pretty much set in his ways.

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Old 12/27/11, 09:11 AM
 
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Rookie question but can I assume that it is only the actual bulls with the bad reputation? We are considering getting some bottle Jersey calfs from a local dairy and then banding them at some point. Jersey steers for beef shouldn't be agressive, right? I have a choice between strait Jerseys or Holstein/Jersey crosses. Thought the strait Jerseys might do better for us since we are going to try almost all grass fed.

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Old 12/27/11, 09:30 AM
 
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Bulls usually begin to show bad traits about the age of four go to sale barn and you see a lot of them in this age range. The dairy breeds are handled (usually) more than beef breeds and people tend to forget this and get hurt, It seems the Jersey is #1 because when small they are so lovable and people make them pets.
This past summer my halter broke gentle 4 1/2 yo bull decided over night that I did not belong in pasture (no I did not lead him he was shown by a young lady). He chased me around truck,I got him back to holding pen shipped him to sale. End of story you NEVER trust a bull.

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  #5  
Old 12/27/11, 09:40 AM
 
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CoachB, we have raised many Jersey steers never had a mean one, we band all our bull calves as soon as both testes drop this is usually first few days after birth. Less stress than cutting at a later age but the steer seems to gain slower than a bull calf of the same age and breed. And to us we feel the safety for all is well worth it.

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Old 12/27/11, 09:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by glenn amolenaar View Post
CoachB, we have raised many Jersey steers never had a mean one, we band all our bull calves as soon as both testes drop this is usually first few days after birth..
Thank you! I figured that was the case but wanted to make sure as we are newbies to cows and will be getting three or four in the spring.
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  #7  
Old 12/27/11, 10:19 AM
 
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I would buy a bull calf right now, keep the bull long enough that you believe that the bull calf will make it, and then ship the bull. That way you eliminate the potential problem and have a ready made replacement. If your cows are close to calving keep the bull long enough to rebreed and then ship.

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  #8  
Old 12/27/11, 12:52 PM
 
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CoachB, do you know if the dairy will be selling more? Trying to find one for spring, hopefully will succeed with it this time. Lost last one to freak accident, if it happens again, neighbor will be buying me a full sized steer!

6e, also make sure you have a very strong fence, sometimes keeping the kids out isn't enough. A mad bull can go right through most fences. I would probably do the raise and replace thing, too

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  #9  
Old 12/27/11, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by CarolT View Post
CoachB, do you know if the dairy will be selling more? Trying to find one for spring, hopefully will succeed with it this time. Lost last one to freak accident, if it happens again, neighbor will be buying me a full sized steer!

6e, also make sure you have a very strong fence, sometimes keeping the kids out isn't enough. A mad bull can go right through most fences. I would probably do the raise and replace thing, too
thank you for the tip. He usually does not stay here. He is usually housed at another farm, but will be coming here for a couple of months or so to breed and then sent back to the other farm. There are no kids at the other farm, so that's why he is kept there. But all the same, we absolutely do not try to "make a pet out of him" nor do we trust him. We tried taking the cows down to the bull, but Sweetie, my Jersey cow wouldn't breed and started losing a lot of weight. Brought her back here and she's looking better, but thinking we need to bring the bull here instead of upsetting the girls.

I thought about the breed and replace thing, but it is so hard to find Jersey bulls of any size around here. All the bull calves sold are little bottle calves and it's so expensive to get them up to size to breed and they're such a pain in the neck in the mean time. There is only one Jersey dairy that I know about and it is close to 3 1/2 hours away.
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Old 12/27/11, 01:30 PM
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Ever thought about using a Dexter bull?

Mine is six years old and still mild mannered. Has thrown some nice looking bull calves (steered) from the neighbors Jersey.

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Old 12/27/11, 02:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Rookie question but can I assume that it is only the actual bulls with the bad reputation? We are considering getting some bottle Jersey calfs from a local dairy and then banding them at some point. Jersey steers for beef shouldn't be agressive, right?
I have raised four bottle steers over the past few years. The Jersey steer "turned" at only 8 months old - he was evil. He was slaughtered that week. And at 2 years, one of the Milking Shorthorns charged my dad and played "hide and seek" around the chicken tractor for 30 minutes before giving up. He also ran down and stomped one of our hens to death.

I've come to believe that anything can trigger an animal at some point (for example, the MS slipped in the mud and got mad, and began snorting and pawing the ground, then charged) - never turn your back, and always carry a stick.

The other two steers were very mellow and kind.
And the two cow-raised calves (one steer, one bull) were/are mellow and very respectful of humans.
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Old 12/27/11, 03:58 PM
 
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3 is as old as I would keep a Jersey bull. Have seen too much of 'em at that age and older.

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Old 12/27/11, 05:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 6e View Post
I thought about the breed and replace thing, but it is so hard to find Jersey bulls of any size around here. All the bull calves sold are little bottle calves and it's so expensive to get them up to size to breed and they're such a pain in the neck in the mean time. There is only one Jersey dairy that I know about and it is close to 3 1/2 hours away.
Do you raise calves on the cow? If so it would be pretty easy to graft a day old onto a cow and in my experience they are much easier to raise this way.
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  #14  
Old 12/27/11, 06:42 PM
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Do you raise calves on the cow? If so it would be pretty easy to graft a day old onto a cow and in my experience they are much easier to raise this way.
We did this year because this heifer's teats were SO tiny I couldn't milk them and thought the calf would help stretch them out a bit for me. I probably won't do that again since that calf if wild as a march hare! LOL
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Old 12/27/11, 06:48 PM
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Ever thought about using a Dexter bull?

Mine is six years old and still mild mannered. Has thrown some nice looking bull calves (steered) from the neighbors Jersey.
We did have a Dexter bull.........for about 2 months. He was, by far and large, a bigger pain than the Jersey. The lady we got him from told us how sweet he was, and he was ok to work with, but a tad testy and then on top of it, he got out constantly. He would jump every fence and end up in the neighbors pasture after jumping their fence and would hang out with their steers. LOL I kept asking him if he realized they were all steers and not cows. He was clearing 6' fences. Should have entered him as a jumping bull. I don't know how these ranchers keep those HUGE Angus bulls behind 4' barb wire fences with cows right across the road.

I may go with a Dexter bull again someday, but for right now, we're sort of stuck.
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Old 12/27/11, 06:51 PM
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I guess even within the breeds their are variations. Mine has never given me a lick of trouble.

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Old 12/27/11, 08:52 PM
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My bull would have been four in Jan. and he went to the freezer in november. He started getting a bit testy, so I made the choice of him and not me. I have decided to breed to a beef bull next year as I don`t need extra heifers. So just be very careful, and never turn your back. > Thanks Marc

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Old 12/27/11, 09:16 PM
 
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6e, it is possible that you won't have any warning.

He might be perfectly fine up until the second that you find yourself on the ground with broken ribs and a horn through your gut. Jersey bulls have the reputation of being the most dangerous and they have a history of being the bull that has killed the most farmers.

Be very careful around him.

You can't find frozen semen? Vets don't normally do AI on cattle. The frozen semen company will have an AI tech and that is who does the AI for you. It's pretty cheap. Much less than the cost of feeding a bull all year.

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Old 12/27/11, 09:33 PM
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For those that use your bull for the freezer, is there a taste difference in the meat? I have a 7 month old Jersey bull right now that will go to the freezer in about a year. I'm debating on having a vet castrate him or not first.

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Old 12/27/11, 09:46 PM
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in my experience the dairy bulls have a far worse temperment in general than beef breeds.we had a holstein that was the devil in the flesh lol.if he caught you anywhere in the pasture he would charge regardless if he was on the other side of the field,needless to say he didnt stay around long

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Old 12/27/11, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by oregon woodsmok View Post
6e, it is possible that you won't have any warning.

He might be perfectly fine up until the second that you find yourself on the ground with broken ribs and a horn through your gut. Jersey bulls have the reputation of being the most dangerous and they have a history of being the bull that has killed the most farmers.

Be very careful around him.

You can't find frozen semen? Vets don't normally do AI on cattle. The frozen semen company will have an AI tech and that is who does the AI for you. It's pretty cheap. Much less than the cost of feeding a bull all year.
I do not know anyone around here that does that and I've looked. The vet will, but not for less than 10 cows. There is an AI school that teaches you how to do it, and I've seriously thought about it, but I don't have the equipment to lock a cow in TO AI her, plus we have a geriatric cow and from what I read, they do better with live cover.

I'm curious....do the mini Jersey bulls have the bad reputation of the full size bulls? I would LOVE to find a mini Jersey bull and bring the size of my cows down.
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Old 12/27/11, 11:56 PM
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6e, a bull is a bull, don`t matter what he is, they CAN get mean. Do you have a neighbor that has a beef bull near by, when she is in heat just take her for a walk to the neighbors. ( better ask first ) I am not fond of the mini cattle for milking, I don`t like getting any closer to the ground than I have to, to milk. > Thanks Marc

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Old 12/28/11, 07:48 AM
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6e, a bull is a bull, don`t matter what he is, they CAN get mean. Do you have a neighbor that has a beef bull near by, when she is in heat just take her for a walk to the neighbors. ( better ask first ) I am not fond of the mini cattle for milking, I don`t like getting any closer to the ground than I have to, to milk. > Thanks Marc
No, we've already been that route. The ranchers aren't going to risk their $4,000 beef bulls and frankly, I highly doubt my little Jersey's could hold up those ton+ bulls they have around here.

Thank you so much all of you for your input. We're revisiting the AI thing, but it would cost a lot of money for all the equipment to get started, so it'll take some thought. We are extremely cautious with the bull and are by no means stupid. Seems we're sort of stuck though with him at the moment.

It's interesting, the man rancher 7 miles from us, he has 5 BIG Angus bulls and the way he moves them from pasture to pasture is he puts a halter on them and walks them. He's walk those mammoth bulls down the road and in town to wherever he wants them. If they didn't get so big, and if I didn't want the calves to be pure Jersey, I might consider a beef bull, but as it is, I want the calves dairy.

I'll keep you posted on how he does. Whether he stays a bull or ends up hamburger.
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Old 12/28/11, 07:54 AM
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Oh and Marc, I love your website. :-) On the mini's, I don't know that short bothers me all that much. We'll see. Maybe someday. :-)

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Old 12/28/11, 11:32 AM
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Just as Jersey bulls are at the top of the list for mean bulls, so the Dexter is at the other end of the list.

There are exceptions to every rule, and some people have successfully raised a Jersey bull without any problem. Some people have also found themselves with a Dexter bull that misbehaved. Reputations are born from the majority, so your chance of getting a well behaved bull are much better if you chooses a breed with a reputation for gentleness.

I believe that the meanness inherent in a Jersey bull is sex related, and that the same gene exists in the cows, but isn;t expressed. Therefore, the calves from a Jersey bull and a Jersey cow will all inherit the genes from both parents. However, a cross between a Jersey and another breed will only give the calf one of the Jersey mean genes, and the first generation calves will not express the Jersey meanness.

That's a good reason for crossing your Jersey cow with another breed, especially one with a reputation for gentleness.

If you're more interested in raising a beef calf that another milk calf, it makes sense to cross with a good beef producing breed. The quality and yield of beef is what makes a beef breed what it is. No dairy breed can match it.

Using a Dexter bull gives you a big advantage in calf size. Most Dexter calves are much smaller at birth, so your cow will have an easier time. My Dexter calves range from 23 to 54 pounds. Only two have been over 35 pounds.

Here's an 8 month old Dexter/Jersey steer, grass fed.

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Old 12/28/11, 05:41 PM
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A plus would be that a Dexter, Jersey heifer would become a pretty good milk cow in her own right.

Or at least that is what I hope come the end of April.

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Old 12/28/11, 06:36 PM
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I bought a Dexter bull a few years ago to cross to my Jerseys. He was to good of a deal to pass on, my plan was to let him breed my girls and put him in the freezer, but 3 seasons later. I still have him. He is a awesome bull to be around! He always moves away from me. I can reach out and touch him, but I do not make a point of him being a pet. He is a bull and gets respect for that.

I have a waiting list for Jersey X Dexter heifers! I am getting $500 each for them at weaning age. I sold everything and I still have 3 people on a wait list.

I was AI'ing and still can easy enough, the AI tech lives about a mile down the road. I always have had great luck with AI. But a bull is even easier! I personally would never take a risk with a Jersey bull. I have young children, and a small business I do not want to have the risk of a high risk bull.

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Old 12/28/11, 07:14 PM
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I bought a Dexter bull a few years ago to cross to my Jerseys. He was to good of a deal to pass on, my plan was to let him breed my girls and put him in the freezer, but 3 seasons later. I still have him. He is a awesome bull to be around! He always moves away from me. I can reach out and touch him, but I do not make a point of him being a pet. He is a bull and gets respect for that.

I have a waiting list for Jersey X Dexter heifers! I am getting $500 each for them at weaning age. I sold everything and I still have 3 people on a wait list.

I was AI'ing and still can easy enough, the AI tech lives about a mile down the road. I always have had great luck with AI. But a bull is even easier! I personally would never take a risk with a Jersey bull. I have young children, and a small business I do not want to have the risk of a high risk bull.
I would love to have another Dexter bull. We had one. Bought the most beautiful polled red Dexter bull to use on our Jersey cows. But he was such a PAIN!! He was a little moody, would not stay behind any fence you put him behind. Even with other cows, he was determined to get in with the neighbors steers. I still regret selling him, but he would jump panels, barb wire, hot wire, and on and on. Those steers would get across the road and start mooing at him and he'd start getting restless and pacing that fence and then boom, over he'd go. No matter how high the fence or how well grounded the electric fence. He was a real pain in the neck.

I wish I could find one with a bit more laid back temperament!
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  #29  
Old 01/05/12, 11:14 PM
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I have some jersey bull calves, the oldest is almost 2 months now. He is the sweetest thing you ever did see! I know he is young but he follows me around like im his momma. Everyone tells me I need to start watching him closer as I am a small framed woman and he could catch me off guard one day. I dont want to cut him because I want to breed him, but I will be cutting the other ones. What about crossing him with a hereford? What I found so far seems to be pretty good, nice color, size, temperament, etc. Anyone with any experience in the jersey hereford cross?

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Old 01/06/12, 03:12 AM
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Christyernst, all I know is that when you cross Jersey with Hereford you get a brindle calf. But I'm guessing the calf, if a heifer, would grow up to be a good dual-purpose cow. But that's as much as I can tell you.

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