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  #1  
Old 11/12/12, 02:14 PM
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Jersey/angus heifer

So I have a question. We have the opportunity to purchase a heifer, weighing about 650 pounds. She is a Jersey/Angus cross and she is bred back to a Jersey bull. She is expected to calve in February. We can get her for $650

Two questions actually here.

1. Isn't this kind of small for a FF?

2. What do you do with all the milk you get from her, after the baby has its fill?

3. Can you milk while she has the baby on her, and if so, how do you know how much to take. I apologize for the questions, but I'm new at it!

Thanks!

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  #2  
Old 11/12/12, 02:53 PM
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I would say she still has over 3 months left to grow before she calves. How old is she? If she were bred too young, then she might not reach full size. I have milked two Jersey/Red Angus cross cows and they milk really well. She will not milk as well in her first lactation as she will with each succeeding one. A Jersey calf may not take all of her milk until he/she gets older. Even if the calf does take all the milk while it is running with the cow, you can pull the calf off at night and milk out two quarters the next morning and then turn the calf in to nurse. If she is not runty and looks healthy, I think that is a good price. Make sure the seller will have her tested before you pay for her. Hope this helps as it is just my opinion.

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Last edited by linn; 11/12/12 at 02:58 PM.
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  #3  
Old 11/12/12, 02:57 PM
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Not sure

On her age when bred. The seller is a friend and will do whatever is right on her in that respect, but can you tell me what you mean by having her tested. Tested for what please? Again, this is pretty new to me. We have had steers and bulls, but never a heifer. Mostly just raised a few for meat. Now we are looking at milk and meat.

We may get to go look at her this evening. Let me ask this as well. About how much milk do you think we could expect reasonably from her on this breeding?

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  #4  
Old 11/12/12, 02:59 PM
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If you are going to milk her, the vet should test her for TB and Bangs.

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  #5  
Old 11/12/12, 08:54 PM
 
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I thought I'd bone up on TB and Bangs (Brucellosis). Probably doesn't hurt to test for them, but very unlikely to be affected.

Scientists counter brucellosis threat to livestock and wildlife
Bangs article:

Quote:
Currently, no cattle herds in the U.S. are known to be infected, although some near Yellowstone have tested positive in the last decade, with elk being the suspected source.
Here's some maps of the TB and Brucellosis cases in the U.S. If you were to have an affected animal, you would get some major attention, as both diseases have been nearly eradicated.

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_hea...d_map_8-12.pdf
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  #6  
Old 11/12/12, 10:46 PM
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well

We did go see the heifer, and it turns out he also has a little bull, that supposedly bred this heifer. I'm kind of doubting that she's pregnant, although we did like the looks of both of them, and we are getting them. I'm going to have the vet out to check her, but according to our friend, (who actually bought them from someone who was dispersing his cattle because he couldn't afford to feed them this winter), she is just going to be 1 year old in February. Now that means, if she also calves in February, that she was bred at 3 months old by a little bull that is not probably 8 months old just yet by the looks of him. He is smaller than she is, probably about 350 pounds. If you do the math, and she was bred at 3 months old, and is now 6 months along, he would have had to have been about 2 months old, so I'm not quite buying the she's pregnant (at least by this bull anyway).

Is my thinking correct on this, or could this be a possibility? If she is pregnant, I'm thinking she was with another bull. I don't know much about cattle, but I know math (or at least I think I do! LOL) I think someone is pulling someone else's leg.

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  #7  
Old 11/13/12, 06:35 AM
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Our heifers don't usually come in their first heat until around 6 to 9 months of age. Then, it's very unlikely that a young heifer would actually conceive at a first breeding. We often have to breed our first timers more than once to get them to take. It think it sounds a bit suspicious and I'd want a vet to preg. check her first.

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  #8  
Old 11/15/12, 07:34 PM
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I've had some accidental breedings pretty early on jersey heifers in the past. One was 5 months old at breeding and I worried about her for a whole month once I realized she was bagging up and springing. She laid down and had a healthy heifer calf without assistance. I still try all that I can do to keep them apart but when you have a MS yearling bull that can jump a corral fence you're kinda paralyzed.

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Old 11/15/12, 08:03 PM
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I would err on the side of not bred, and pass on purchasing the bull unless you plan on freezering him after he gets the job done once.

Bulls are a pain and a half and it's not worth the time, trouble and expense to feed one to breed one cow once a year. I'm sure there are folks that have darling jersey bulls, but I grew up on farm stories of jersey bulls who were too smart and too mean for their own good. (I host a very good tempered Dexter bull for one month out of a year for 3 cows and that is quite enough for me.)

If the heifer has good manners and will let people handle her then she may still be worth the 650, but if she's too wild to catch--- that's a project and a half. When you buy a family cow you are buying for health and temperament first.

Better a low producing friendly cow than a high producer that's a total terror. You spend so much time with a dairy animal I think it's imperative that you *like* her, or milking really stinks.

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  #10  
Old 11/15/12, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dusky Beauty View Post
I would err on the side of not bred, and pass on purchasing the bull unless you plan on freezering him after he gets the job done once.

Bulls are a pain and a half and it's not worth the time, trouble and expense to feed one to breed one cow once a year. I'm sure there are folks that have darling jersey bulls, but I grew up on farm stories of jersey bulls who were too smart and too mean for their own good. (I host a very good tempered Dexter bull for one month out of a year for 3 cows and that is quite enough for me.)

If the heifer has good manners and will let people handle her then she may still be worth the 650, but if she's too wild to catch--- that's a project and a half. When you buy a family cow you are buying for health and temperament first.

Better a low producing friendly cow than a high producer that's a total terror. You spend so much time with a dairy animal I think it's imperative that you *like* her, or milking really stinks.
Lots of wisdom there.

A good producer with a bad attitude is no match for a poor producer that you can lead and milk easily. I'm sure there are Angus as calm as a nice Jeresy, but I've never seen nor heard of one.

Angus have been carefully selected for growth and calving ease. Temperment hasn't been in the top ten for a long time. A dairy animal that jumps a gate or runs through a fence, gets culled quickly.

When people have a nice quiet Jeresy and start thinking they'd like to raise a calf for meat, Angus is a common choice. Fine if you have a bull calf. Castrate and chuck into the freezer at 18 months to 2 years. But when you get a sweet Angus/Jeresy heifer, it becomes harder to look at her as a beef animal headed to the freezer in a couple years. Easier choices when you stick with crossing Angus to angus and Jeresy to Jeresy.

But, now you have (possibly) a half Angus, half Jersey bred to a Jeresy. If her calf is a bull, it won't be much of a beef cow, being 75% Jersey. But if it is a heifer, you'll have a harder time marketing a cow that doesn't quite measure up to Jersey milking standards, has a wilder attitude and isn't much of a beef cow, either.

No "friend" sells another friend a heifer that at was bred at 3 months old. Standard is to breed at a year. If I find that one swallow of milk is spoiled, I assume the rest of the jug is spoiled, too. Same thing when dealing with someone that I know nothing about. When one part of the deal is a lie or at least not factually correct, I assume the whole deal is spoiled. Bred heifer? Hardly.
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  #11  
Old 11/16/12, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by haypoint View Post
Lots of wisdom there.
When one part of the deal is a lie or at least not factually correct, I assume the whole deal is spoiled. Bred heifer? Hardly.
While I agree with your post, in this case it may not be the heifer's fault, especially if she's been a quick flip situation and if the "friend" doesn't know beans about cows.

I see you've already agreed to purchase the animals OP, and that's OK--- please keep us updated on how they work out for you. A milk cow is the "sacred cow" in homesteading-- a lot of people see it as a badge of honor of serious hobby farming. As I always tell people about my farm for the first time; "I milk a cow, and everything."

But for other first time cow buyers I would advise:
Judge the animal on it's own merits in my opinion, and offer like you would on a secondhand car. Check the price on a locally available premium purebred family jersey, and the price of beef on the hoof, and go up and down the scale accordingly.

Best case scenario, your potential milker is dog gentle, has had a calf at least once before without complications, has a well formed and attached udder, has teats that fit your hand, is in milk and bred back to an acceptable bull, and the seller has proof of pregnancy in hand either from a vet or a lab.
The cow should have current negative test results for all of the dangerous communicable bovine viruses and milkborne pathogens. If tests are out of date/mislaid/or never been done and the cow is otherwise healthy at bare MINIMUM you have to pasteurize any and all milk.
My grandmother got brucellosis from raw milk. I gather it was not fun.


An open cow or heifer (unless she has a calf at her side) should be considered a half a cow.
The dubious manner in which farms sell off culls-- it's safer to assume that all female bovines are barren until proven otherwise.

Disclaimer: I am not some big cattle rancher or dairy farmer, but I have just safely navigated through those "first hobby cow" waters safely thanks to advice from experienced voices and lots of reading.

You can gamble on breed, you can gamble on lab tests, you can even gamble on a never been bred heifer, but never gamble that you can gentle a mean tempered "wild" cow to stand calm for a hand milking and not kick your head off.
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  #12  
Old 11/16/12, 08:38 AM
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okay

Well, sorry I didn't get back here. Been busy with a sick goat. Lost him last night.

Anyway,here's the deal with the calf.

OUR friend, Pete, had a man (let's call him Joe, I don't know his name) contact him and ask him if he would buy these 3 animals from him because he no longer had hay to care for them and didn't want to see them starve (good choice here). He had a full grown Holstein/Angus cross cow that was in milk, he had this little Jersey/Angus heifer that is pregnant, and he had a jersey bull that he bought to breed this little J/A heifer on a yearly basis.

Okay, Pete didn't want the animals, but he agreed to pay for them and bring them home (he raises angus cattle) and feed them till he could sell them because he also didn't want to see them starve. Joe told Pete that he had seen the bull do his thing with the heifer and that he believes her to be pregnant, but of course didn't have the money for a preg check or anything.

So, Pete is going from what he was told by Joe. Now, on our part, we misunderstood the ages, and both the heifer and the bull are a little older than what we at first thought. We are purchasing both of them and will make meat from the bull, but we are going to do a preg check on the heifer first and if not pregnant then we will let the bull do his thing and then make a steer of him.

The big milk cow, which I would have purchased if it hadn't already sold was a cow with a very nice tempermant.

No one lied to us here or is trying to give us a bad deal. Pete knows we want a Jersey that we can milk, but he also knows we can't pay $1200 or up for one, which is what they go for around here and the ones that are available are normally snatched up so quick you can't get close to getting one. So this was just a win/win situation for all of us. The heifer has not been handled much, but she will get that when she comes here. We have a little time before the milking begins, so I'm (and I may be an optimist here), going to work with her and try to gentle her, so I can milk her.

The only problem I now have with these 2 is that they do still have horns. I would have preferred those be gone, but can you remove them at this age? I don't want to have either of them hook me. I got hooked by a big Jersey steer a few years back. One that was trying to play tag with me, which we had done when he was a baby and when I was stupid enough to teach him that game. I've been on the farm long enough to know that's not a game you teach them! LOL

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  #13  
Old 11/16/12, 09:23 AM
 
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yes they can be dehorned at any age . If you have a head chute you can do it yourself with a callicrate high tension bander or a keystone dehorner . the bander is no blood no mess no fuss . keystone dehorner is not for the faint of heart .

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  #14  
Old 11/16/12, 09:24 AM
 
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You CAN dehorn an animal at any age. The earlier you do it the easier it is on the animal. At this point, I would have a good vet do it. I am guessing the heifer must be closer to a year old. It is very messy when they are older. If not done correctly, the heifer can bleed to death. It will be traumatic for the heifer and you. She might be a little "stand offish" after the experience.

Before everyone jumps on me, I said it CAN be done, not that it SHOULD be done. Personally I hate horned animals and I breed all mine to be born polled. Horn genetics are not very tricky to figure out.

As a side note, if the heifer is truly an angus/jersey cross that heifer would NOT have horns. Angus, as a breed, are homo polled. Meaning you can't have a horned angus and all angus cross calves (in which either the sire or dam is purebred angus) will be polled. More than likely the cross was the result of a black bull that looked like an angus or was already a crossbred bull from an angus and some other horned breed, so the bull carried one pair of the horned gene (hetro polled).

Another side note - this place has become very negative in the past few months. What is up with that? I am afraid to post anything here because someone will jump on you because your opinion differs from theirs. I am about done with this forum.

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  #15  
Old 11/16/12, 11:58 AM
 
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Jersey Angus cross can have horns. Angus have horns but polled is a dominate. I have a high-angus cross with horns so it does happen. But the bull if you plan to beef leave them it don't matter. The heifer if you are mindful of the horns it should not be a issue. I also know people with reg. Angus that when 2 certain animals get together the calf has horns. they have a case when 2 get together (2 blacks) a red calf. So if everything lines up just right anything is possible. Yes these cases are not common but sometimes it does happen.

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Old 11/18/12, 10:43 PM
 
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You can get horn weights and make the horn turn down. Holly my new heifer has horns(4 1/2 mts old) my vet will not dehorn. I could band but it's still so warm and there is still flies. So we will weight her horns when they grow. They will be less harmful.

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Old 11/19/12, 08:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SpaceCadet12364 View Post
Jersey Angus cross can have horns. Angus have horns but polled is a dominate. I have a high-angus cross with horns so it does happen. I also know people with reg. Angus that when 2 certain animals get together the calf has horns. they have a case when 2 get together (2 blacks) a red calf. So if everything lines up just right anything is possible. Yes these cases are not common but sometimes it does happen.
I feel it is necessary to respond to this information quoted above. It is not correct.

http://www.angus.org/pub/Advan.pdf

"Angus cattle are naturally polled, allowing producers to use Angus
bulls to genetically dehorn without the increased morbidity and
impaired performance associated with traditional dehorning."

That is a quote from the second paragraph from the bottom of page 4. If you have a registered "angus" that has horns the american angus association would love to get a hold of that pedigree. I can guarantee you the registration of those animals would be immediately revoked.

Also American Angus Association - Angus History

"When two of the George Grant bulls were exhibited in the fall of 1873 at the Kansas City (Missouri) Livestock Exposition, some considered them "freaks" because of their polled (naturally hornless) heads and solid black color (Shorthorns were then the dominant breed.) Grant, a forward thinker, crossed the bulls with native Texas longhorn cows, producing a large number of hornless black calves that survived well on the winter range. The Angus crosses wintered better and weighed more the next spring, the first demonstration of the breed's value in their new homeland."

Scurs are a different gene and scurs can resemble horns in appearance. However, animals with scurs cannot be registered with the AAA either.

http://www.angus.org/regapp/reg_app_inst.pdf

In the upper left corner you will see the note:

"Animals with SCURS, or RED IN COLOR, or with WHITE SKIN above or in front of the navel, or on leg, foot or tail shall not be eligible for registration."

Once again, I can assure you that if it were a horned animal it was NOT a registered angus. I can also assure you that if you cross a registered angus animal with any horned animal the result will be that the offspring do not have horns.

Once you cross an angus with something else, you no longer have the registered angus and the results are much less predictable. Horns are a recessive gene, so you can end up with two polled "angus" cross animals that throw horned calves. Those are called hetro polled and they would each carry one pair of horned genes. The resulting offspring would be 25% chance of visible horns. 50% chance of hetro polled. 25% chance of homo polled.

As for color, angus cattle did carry a recessive red gene until recently. It is considered a genetic defect (RDC) and DNA tested for. With red recessive genes, it is possible to have two black animals have a red calf. Every angus breeder I know got rid of all of their RDC carriers years ago. Red angus cattle on the other hand do obviously carry the red gene. But that is essentially a different breed, even though the blacks and reds started as the same breed. but the reds were selected against because the breed founders liked the black animals.
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Old 11/19/12, 05:10 PM
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Polled angus is a mutation that is dominate. It still is a gene so some times things work out just right and there you go. It is like two parents with black hair have a redheaded child it is rare but it does happen. And that is also why allot angus ranchers will cull a calf very quick. And your point on registered angus I don't think there is such a thing as true fulblood angus in the us anymore. That is 100% true angus the way they left Scotland.

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  #19  
Old 11/24/12, 12:33 PM
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You can also cut just the tips off the horns or fasten something rounded over them. I would hesitate to dehorn a full-grown cow that I wanted to like me. We're going to try horn weights on my heifer this year, I love my Dexters but man, do I hate the horns.

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