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Next Spring we're going to start raising a few beef cows...for our consumption and to sell to people at my husband's workplace. I thought we were going to start with three or four, but hubby said ten wouldn't be any more work. He's never raised or been around cattle. My dad never had more than three when I was a kid. We have two pastures, one 20 acres, one 30 acres that we can keep the cattle on.

Is there a significant difference in raising four versus raising ten?
 

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There really isn't much more work involved in caring for 10 than for 3 or 4. There's more expence to feed, worm, etc., but you make more when you sell more calves, so it all evens out.
 

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The difference between four and ten is six. With all that pasture you could keep a few brood cows and raise them from start to finish but that means caring for them the year around. The price of cattle is too high to get to involved in building a herd right now.
 

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We have a couple of dairies near us and I was thinking we could buy a few male calves from the dairies. One of them owes us...we let him cut our 96 acres of hay for two years. He said he'd pay us and never did.

I know dairy cows aren't as good for meat and beef cows, but what you get is better than what you buy from the store.

Guess I'll be caring for 10 cows next year. :eek:
 

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If you will need to sell these to recover your expenses, you are far better off sticking with beef cattle. Dairy breeds bring far less at the sale barn, even when finished and customers might end up disappointed with the meat they get. They also take longer to finish.

Prices are exceptionally high right now (sold some off-color 500 pounders last week for $108/cwt). They might not be when it's time to sell.

Jena
 

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(debt free in Missouri with 100 plus head -started with ONE cow - but a good one!)

Only get what you can pay for in cash

Only get what you have the resources (room, feed money, fence, etc) for

The best deal and fastest herd building - buy an aged cow (over 8 years) with a calf at her side, bred back to calve again - this way you are getting the potential of 3 animals for the price of one money.

It is not much more work for 10 than 3 or 4, as long as you have resources to move hay in the winter, water that won't freeze or you don't have to carry by hand, etc. More cows eat more food and drink more water - depends on how you are set up if you can handle it.

Make sure you have excellent fences. Good fences make good neighbors.

More cows make buying a bull more economical.

Black may not be "best", but it will sell best. A red cow that raises a black calf is a cheaper bet.

Find a good farmer and ask alot of questions- they love to share wisdom and it's better than what you'll find in the books. Farmers who have raised registered animals would be a good source - they stay in business by offering good seedstock.

We have never purchased a cow at a salebarn - you are getting others culls and problems. Do yourself a favor by buying some good old cows from a reputable farmer, many sell older cows when cutting down their herds. If they've been around on the farm that long - they must have been good to start with. Don't buy anything crippled, thin in weight, etc.. Ask for any records (birth date, breeding, etc). Any good farmer will have all of them and may even have their calving records. I can tell you the 5 great grand dads and grandmothers of everything on the place here, and a listing of every calf and performance every year and any health issues. Ask for the same.

I'm only 31, but have rigid beliefs when it comes to raising cattle. Treat it like a business, and treat your animals the best you can and they will make you all kinds of money!

Good Luck!
Sharon

ps the one cow we started with is now 12, has a bad cancer eye, but is still fleshy and raising two of the best heifer twins on the place by herself. We're hoping she will live to have another calf. The good weather in Missouri has helped her out alot. I will be sad when she gets bad, but right now, she's still the boss cow at our home herd.
 
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