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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 8 yr old dexter had a bull calf on New Years Eve. He is healthy and active and seems perfect. My question is will he get all his nutritional needs from the cow or does he need access to water (the water tank is too tall for him)? What rate of gain should we expect from a dexter bull calf nursing and then will have access to pasture grass/hay?
He will be castrated in a couple months by the vet when he gets shots/worming.
 

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You do not need a vet. You can band, worm and administer shots. Use the money to buy protein supplement and minerals or improve his pasture as he grows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a bander for goats....would this bander with the little green bands work for the calf also? Aside from a pour on wormer what shots are needed?
I live in western IA and have no neighbors within a mile or more...so no stock to contaminate mine.
How much could I expect my calf to weigh in 6 months time? He is about 40-45lbs currently.
I (obviously) have little experience with cattle and this is my first calf born at my place. I am just trying to get an idea how long it will take to get this calf to slaughter weight. I would like to try grass fed with just a small amount of supplement if needed. I supply the cow/bull with 37% protein blocks, red mineral block and salt at all times. My pastures are mainly brome grass. But without supplemental feeding my bull and cow are in excellent body condition.
I read this site daily and really appreciate you people sharing all your knowledge.
 

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You won't want to eat a Dexter at 6 months old... it will be very small steaks.
We've got a 17 month old bull and steer and some younger steers. We plan on harvesting our first at around 23 months old. I'm partly timing it on his size and the other variable is the pasture. I want to harvest him after he's been on great pasture for a couple months at least so I'm not going to harvest him in the winter, or the hottest part of the summer. I want him to be fat and healthy on grass only.
There are people with alot of experience finishing Dexters on http://dextercattle.proboards84.com/index.cgi

I forgot to say, the little green band will work for Dexter calves as long as they are pretty young. It doesn't take them too long to out grow them. We had a vet band one because he was about 9 months old and way too big to fit in that little bander.
 

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My bander will work with two sizes of bands - so check and see if yours will too. Same as with the goats give a tetanus shot at the time of banding.
 

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Congratulations on your new calf! The rate of gain will depend a lot on the size of your cows. Genetics also plays a huge part in growth rate. From the sounds of it you have a larger Dexter . I raise larger Dexters that are about 55lbs when born they grow fast and even, my calves will weigh in a range of 450-550lbs at 6 months. They are not creep fed just out on grass until weaning. I use a weight tape because I do not have a scale for the larger calves just one for when they are born.

You should be able to use the little green cheerio type bands to castrate him. I would suggest doing it while he younger. I know that some will argue that a calf grows better if not castrated younger. I find that they have a set back any time they get castrated so I like to do it while they have plenty of milk and when I can manage the calf easier by myself. It also seems like it takes less time to fall off when done within a few weeks of being born.

As mentioned before make sure to give a tetanus shot show when you do it. As for other vaccinations you can check with your vet but a basic 8 way should take care of things since you have a closed herd.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies. We'll probably band him and give shots in the next week or so. We are not looking to slaughter at 6 months...just curious about what he might weigh. Was figuring we'd have him at least 18 months prior to his trip to the butcher.
 

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I vealed a Dexter bull calf last year, non-carrier 35lb birth weight at 12.5 weeks he was 250 ~ live weight, going on that I would guess that he would have been about 450/475 at 6 months. The rate of weight gain of any calf depends on how much milk/food he has access to. Liz
 

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Your Dexter calf will be able to survive just on Mama's milk, but will benefit from access to water. I see mine drinking, and he was born just before Christmas.

Put a bucket next to the water tank and dip him out a bucket full.

Genebo
Paradise Farm
 

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I never let calves have access to such a deep tank, be aware he can probably get in it, they get in the darndest places, and if he does, he can drown. Don't want you to lose your baby.
He needs access to water, just a bucket full, changed every day will suffice.

Carol K
 

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I can't believe that a Dexter would be over 450 at 6 months. The only animals we've actually weighed on scales were 3 Belted Galloway calves at 6-7 months old. They averaged 460 lbs and looked to be MUCH bigger than our 7 month old dexter steer. Do other breeds get to be half their mature weight at 6 months old? A dexter bull at 450lbs would be about half its mature weight.

Also, a long time breeder (30 some years) told me to expect weaned steers to be about 300lbs.

I could be wrong though...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I will try to keep track of his weight at various stages of his development using a weight tape. Not sure accurate these are but will give it a shot and in a year or so will post my results. Our plan is to track each animal through its time on our place and record weights/etc. plus weight of packaged beef we get when they are butchered. I appreciate all your replies!
 

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Well you could also be right about 450 being too heavy at 6 mos but.... I was calculating on the same weight gain for the second 90 days as the first and that would be 2.37lb/day. I don't have the data since I have actually never vealed anything above 15 weeks or beefed anything below two years, just extrapolating on the first 3 months. Liz
 

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Sorry for barging in on this thread, but I'm not very good with these things and could not find a place to start a new thread about Dexters... I have an 8 month old bull calf who has crud on his back. Have no idea what it is but I have some stuff the vet gave us for worms, delouser, etc. - Eprinex (?) Since we just got him a few months ago I figured I would use this product on him just in case. It says 1cc/22#(pour-on) but I have no idea how much he weighs. Does anyone have an idea what he might weigh? Thank you.
 

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prinelli, at 8 mos, you aren't going to hurt him if your weights aren't spot on. I'd worm him like he weights 500 lbs. Having said that, "crud" on his back isn't going to be worms, so you might want to find out what that is first, before you pour wormer on it.
 

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I agree with copperhead46 about finding out what the crud is....but also, if the calf is 8 months old and hasn't ever been wormed, it's time to do that.
 
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