Blind Steer

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by angus_guy, Mar 19, 2005.

  1. angus_guy

    angus_guy Well-Known Member

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    Jun 22, 2004
    I am thinking of purchasing a blind steer approx 600# from a friend of mine to butcher this fall Price makes it seem attractive

    Has anyone had experience w/ blind calf ? He seems like a normal calf size etc except he is blind we think mostly

    just curious??
     
  2. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

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    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    MN
    Angus_guy,

    I've had a couple experiences with blind cattle.

    About 30 years ago, I had a Holstein heifer calf born (Robin), and we first discovered her blindness when we took her out of the crate after weaning her. She kept running into walls in the calf pen. The vet confirmed she was blind from birth. She was out of one of my better cows and a typey-looking heifer, we kept her. We never babied her and she was in a variety of lots. She always got by, but you could tell that she was disoriented in a new space. After seeing her run-ins with walls in new spaces, I decided I would walk her around in new lots the first few days. Put a halter on her and walked her around the lot fence, to the bunks and waterer and shed. She was always a very gentle animal. Did this twice a day for 3-4 days, usually and she always seemed to adapt well. In the tie-stall barn, I would lead her in and out of her stall the first couple days, but after that she always found her stall flawlessly. I milked her for 8 lactations, and got three heifer calves out of her. None of her calves were blind.

    More recently, I had a Simmental bull calf (#2744, but we started calling him Hud) that was also born blind. I noticed him fairly early on, walking into fences, sometimes circling around a bit and staying with his mother all the time in the pasture. Pasture is a bigger place, and he was only about 6 weeks old when I decided to wean him and pull him in out of pasture and just sell his mother. She was 12 and her weaning weights had been going down.) I raised him with the Holstein bull calves for the remainder of the summer, but he wasn't as good as Robin was about navigating. I put him in the dry cow barn and kept him in either a tie stall or the maternity pen while feeding him out. He was probably more work than we has worth, but he became our freezer beef late the next summer.

    He ought to do OK if you keep him in a pen or small lot, he'll figure out the layout. He might get into trouble out on rough pasture.
     

  3. KesWindhunter

    KesWindhunter Well-Known Member

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    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    NE Washington State... finally!
    A neighbor gave me a blind angus heifer at weaning...I kept her with my milk cow in a hundred acre pasture. When we would bring the big bunch of cows in to the corrals, that blind cow could find my milk cow by smell! She had 8 steer calves and finally had a heifer before she didnt breed back.
    There was just no way I was gonna put her on a truck and can her, so I overwintered her with her milk cow friend and the following fall I had her butchered and made into hamburger. She never knew it was time to go.
    She was a good cow, and really she was pretty easy to keep around, just took a little extra thinking and planning on my part.
     
  4. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    New Zealand
    I too have kept blind cattle and they manage very well.

    My only advice would be to keep him in a safe paddock. I lost one over a cliff that wasn't fenced - not the way I wanted it but the situation was that I had had to move and was grazing him on land that wasn't mine.

    They can smell water and find their own way to the trough. When moving them, keep talking to them as they seem to pick up sound bouncing off other objects and know where they are if they've been there before. Guess it comes back to the other senses becoming more perceptive.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  5. angus_guy

    angus_guy Well-Known Member

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    Jun 22, 2004
    Well I went and got him this week end and his name


    "Billy Ray Valentine.....Capricorn"