Am I out of line?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by mamahen, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. mamahen

    mamahen Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When we had cattle/cows/calves we always bought from a few day old calf from the farm. Be it a beef (angus or hereford..etc) or a dairy calf. The farmer was always willing to deal with you. :shrug:

    That was a few years ago. Now I'm being told that you should NEVER ask a farmer with beef calves you would like to buy one to bottle feed. :grump: That they never sell them. To be honest, at first we were looking for an older calf. We have since decided we want to go back to bottle feed, for ease of handling.

    So now we are looking for a young calf. Not a dairy calf, that is per DH. So no holstein, jersey or guernsy (we've had all those at some time in the past). So any beef or beef crosses.

    I was told to go to the auction to get a beef calf to bottle raise. Ok, why would the farmer ship it & not sell it, if we're willing to pay market price. I really don't want to get one there due to the chance of illness (pretty high in this area).

    I can't start with a full grown cow. While we do have a brand new barn with a stanchion & a stall, a wild/not tame cow would rip it to shreds. It's one of those metal deals.
     
  2. Barb

    Barb Well-Known Member

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    Ranchers do sell bottle calves if they don't want to bother with them themselves. They frequently sell a twin so the cow only has one to raise and enough milk. They sell them if the cow rejects the calf (usually only a heifer will do this) or the cow dies giving birth or shortly after.

    It all depends on the rancher/farmer if they will sell a bottle calf. People here put an ad on the radio in the spring at calving time saying that they want to buy bottle calves. And some ranchers put bottle calves for sale on the radio also.

    But some do not want to bother with an ad or feeding the calf so they haul it to the auction. The trouble with auction calves is you don't know if the calf has had colostrum or not or how long it has gone without anything. It's risky buying from the auction.

    There is NO reason you couldn't ask someone who raises beef to buy a bottle calf. Tell them to keep you in mind when they calve.

    But no one will sell you a bottle calf just to sell a calf.
     

  3. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    I couldn't explain it any better than Barb has done ! I don't think you are out of line to ASK, but don't expect results unless some odd situation arises whereby beef farmer has a "bum" calf that must be bottle fed.

    In the event you are not able to find a bottle calf, I will throw out an alternative. Some grazing dairy farms are cross breeding their cows to Dual-Purpose breeds such as a Normande - These calves carry a lot of flesh and make good cattle that will put on weight on grass much better than straight dairy stock. The bull calves are usually sold off. Just a "fallback" option for you.
     
  4. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    Do they mik fairly well too?
     
  5. mike

    mike Well-Known Member

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    If anyone has or will have a bottle calf ( near Mich. thumb ) to sell let me know, we have wanted a cow for sometime but could not afford one. I did not know that one could get a bottle calf, we could afford that kind of cost.
     
  6. Barb

    Barb Well-Known Member

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    Mike - ask your local feed store or vet who might have a bottle calf to sell. They usually know who sells them. But if you are looking for a heifer from a dairy type cow you are going to pay a good price. They don't give them away cheap and usually keep them for replacement.

    Sometimes you can get a dairy/beef cross for a reasonable price and they can be a good milker. If not - well, eat her.
     
  7. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    The only calves we see at auction around here are feedlot calves, so your success with raising one is a huge gamble. Dairies do sell beef cross calves, but anymore I think all the dairies use as much medicine and junk in their cattle as the feedyards do so that I don't know if I even want to mess with one of those, anymore!
     
  8. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    YES! They bring in strength & Fertility. They are easy keepers, carry flesh well and have a reasonable disposition. Kinda pretty too. We like 'em.
    We do only breed Normande Semen to mature cows, as the calves tend towards being Holstien Bull Calf size. They are about 1450-1550 pound cows in the F1 Holstien/Normande crosses. Milking 4 of them at present. Cheers.
     
  9. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Cat- Assuming SW Kansas dairies are mostly the larger commercial drylot dairy farms, what you have stated may be true in your area. It may or may not also be true with large(200 cows +) commercial dairy farms in the rest of the country.
    There is, however, a grassroots movement of dairy farming that uses little or no "medicine and junk" in many parts of the country. If one purchases a dairy bull calf or a dairy-beef cross bull calf from an Organic Grazing Dairy farm there would be few if any traditional medicines used. There is also the certified Humane dairying movement, which uses only the bare minimum of traditional medicines needed to keep cattle alive.
    Not totally disagreeing with your viewpoint, only clarifying some alternatives.
     
  10. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    You're right... 'all' was a poor choice of words. I used to work for an animal health supply distributor and one of the dairy-calf raising companies nearby purchased as many if not more meds for their young calves as the feedlots do. I'd never bought a sick dairy calf back when I raised them, but I've seen a LOT run through some heifer-replacement programs in more recent years when I was processing cattle that were half-dead and each one got a dose of Micotil upon entry into the program. Vaccines were hard to give as you'd hit bone, it was NOT pleasant! I also hate to see cattle with their tails docked and constant scours due to the feed they're being given. I'm all for programs like you mention - that movement can be found in all areas of livestock production and I think it's high time!
     
  11. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

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    Post a notice at your local feed store and talk to any nearby cow/calf operators, just let them know you would be happy to buy any orphaned or bottle calves they don't want to deal with...
     
  12. augila

    augila Well-Known Member

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    =mike]If anyone has or will have a bottle calf ( near Mich. thumb ) to sell let me know, we have wanted a cow for sometime but could not afford one. I did not know that one could get a bottle calf, we could afford that kind of cost

    I was in the Dairy buisness for many years. When I sold out I started raising bottle calves, between 200 and 300 a year, mostly Holstein heifers. If you have never bottle fed calves before, it is not as easy as it seems. Every year while I was in the Dairy I would have people come by wanting to buy x number of 3 day old calves. I would sell them what I had on hand at that time and they would ask me to call them when I had x number more ready to go. 9 times out of 10 when I called them to say their calves were ready to be picked up they would say , I don't believe I want anymore, some, most, all of the ones I got last week have died. I made sure my calves nursed and stayed with their momma for a min. of 3 days. These people did not have a clue about raising baby calves. They learned an expensive lesson. They would have been much better off to have bought a weaned calf to start with.
     
  13. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I am the farmer that does not like to sell to individuals. I am going to be blunt as to why. The reasons are many. Often the buyer knows little about dealing with the calf and I do not want the calf to starve or die from disease or lack of attention. The buyer will show up ill equipped to transport the animal or brings a trailer full of manure/disease from who knows. The buyer will not let me loose ownership, it is like selling a car to a relative that keeps coming back for a repair. If the calf dies, the buyer will tell that they bought a calf that was not healthy regardless of the circumstances. Often I may be asked to take a check that could bounce. When I sell through the sale barn the buyer, usually and experienced calf raiser, understands the risks, the calf was transported for a fee without my having to assist, the previous owner (me) has no connection with the new owner. The sale barn sends me a good check within 24 hours of the sale.
     
  14. mike

    mike Well-Known Member

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    Augila, we have never raised a calf but, we have everyother farm animal, my wife is very good with babies, she would have it on the back porch(lol), but we do understand the work and the risk. Thanks for all the info!
     
  15. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

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    Agman, as usual, is right on point. There is no way that an inexperienced individual can be anything but "chancy" when handling his first bottle calf.

    On the other hand, most ranchers around here who have more than a few cows have, every year, an orphan, a reject or a twin that they would be glad to be rid of. Females in a bull/heifer set will never breed and are sometimes rejected by the cow. First-calf heifers sometimes reject a calf and then there are the orphans. As Agman says, most ranchers would carry these to the sale barn, but if you contact several and appear to know what you are doing one of them will sell you a calf when he has one. Just be sure to call the others then and tell them that you have the calf you wanted.

    Right now, in this area, bright-eyed and spunky beef calves are higher than a cat's back and even sickly-looking dairy calves sell quickly.
    Ox
     
  16. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Generally beef folks are raising the calves for themselves and would not be keen on selling off a bottle calf. No harm in asking, but it would be rare to be able to pick up a beef bottle calf. Would need to wait until a momma dies or something, take the calf at a moment's notice or so? Or some other odd thing that creates a calf at the wrong time.

    Now, dairy calves are much easier to find - many dairies don't want the bull calves esp. If you want a female calf for a cow - be warry of freemartins. These are the twins of a bull calf, & their hormones get messed up & 90% are sterile - that is why the dairy will get rid of a female calf.

    Some dairies cross breed heifers with a beef breed to make calving easier. You can pick up these mixed breeds fairly safely & should be available if you check around.

    Going to the auction barn you generally are buying the problem calves, plus they are dragged through every disease available as they all co-mingle. Ugh.

    Agman mentions a real issue and a reason it may be difficult to find one-off sales to a newbie.

    I would look for an arrangement with a farmer - but be patient & have to wait to find the right deal, right time. It's not like shopping at a store. :)

    --->Paul