Dumb question... Pet cows?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Mountaineer, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking about trying something new. Something that would alance as a friendly large pet and something to keep down the field close to the home. The smaller things like sheep/goats don't attract me, and I think I have just about every other small creature. I have bought books on sheep/goats then decided against them.
    So what about getting a dairy calf to bottle raise? I'm not interested in the milk for the most part I'd never be able to consume it all. I just gather jerseys (found here locally) are smaller than the herefords which are much too large.
    Dexter would be ideal but they are hard to find/inbred out here.
    Would a single cow be happy? Would it kill me with vet bills like a horse would? In a long winter area would I be shelling out heaps for hay?
    Does anyone else have a huge useless pet such as a cow?? I'm thinking ahead for next spring, so definately not set on this- just looking for yays or nays, thanks!
     
  2. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Why not 2 calves that way they would have A friend. And you could then sell them both come fall and start again in the spring. That way NO overwintering .
     

  3. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Well you see I am terrible at the selling for meat part. Fact is, if I knew it was going for slaughter I wouldn't bother wth the project.
    I am a slave to those big dumb eyes.
    I'd like two calves but I imagine HUGE winter bills which I'm not ready to take on at this point.
     
  4. Sprout

    Sprout Well-Known Member

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    Believe me by the time two calves particularly two steers are ready for the market you'll want to do it yourself. Not to be blunt but cows don't make the best pets. You can get a great pair who are docile and gentle as anything but 10 to 1 you get a hellion pair that will show you that red bulls really do have wings and they fly over the fence and all over you, and don't care about you unless you have something to eat. Also a large cow that is allowed to be a pet can be dangerous because when you consider her a pet she'll push your buttons until she's gotten into a position where she has dominace. Get a feeder calf and eat it when winter hits. Remember they don't stay cute forever.
     
  5. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Joe you missed the point. If you buy heifers (girls) you sell them As breeding stock. No slaughter that way..
     
  6. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Sprout- Some excellent points there. Yeah a large pushy animal is pretty much not gonna work here.
    James- I was originally considering breeding some fancy breed for breeding and sales. Thing is I'd flood the market fast and be stuck with the next emu/alpaca, jokes on me.....
    Thanks both of you!
     
  7. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    James was saying to buy two regular heifer calves. There's always a market for dairy heifers. That way, you could sell in the fall and not have those huge hay bills you talked about.
     
  8. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

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    Our Dexter cows are big pets. We've had them for 4 years now with no problems. They don't run the farm and they love to be petted and get treats and they will follow us like dogs. :)
     
  9. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Rescue a retired dairy cow. Just make sure you get a friendly one. They're out there. Talk to some farmers, especially small farmers. Most have an old girl they're fond of, but who isn't breeding back or for some other reasons ought to be culled. Yes they will think you're crazy, but ,,,,,,,,,.

    I'm a herd tester, I have some rescued cows ... my producers are always bugging me, teasingly, to buy cows they know they have to cull but don't really want to.

    I call mine "therapy cows," because when I get stressed, I go out and hang with the girls. Yeah, they cost a few bucks to feed, but they're still probably cheaper than actual therapy! :)
     
  10. lgslgs

    lgslgs Well-Known Member

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    Our cow Connie is a freemartin (sterile female born twin to a bull calf) and is very much a pet, even though she is also being trained as a riding cow and Lady Ox.

    We only have one cow and she was raised as a bottle baby. She does have 8 goats for company and spends most of her time hanging out with them. She sleeps in the goat house with them as well, and they have taught her since she was tiny to be very careful with her hooves and tail.

    She is sweet and gentle. Very good company, a pretty lawn ornament, huggable, and she can pull the wood chipper to the top of the hill or pull the lawn tractor out of a ditch. If one of us ever gets hurt on the far side of the land, she'll carry us back. She has a lifetime home here with us - and if she never did anything more than nibble the grass and be a good pet that would be enough. She's saved us a lot of gas money by keeping the various back yards and stream beds trimmed. I'm glad we did the riding training and basic ox with her, though. Cow Power could come in handy.

    Lynda

    Oh - she's also been quite the contributor to the compost heap. :)
     
  11. lgslgs

    lgslgs Well-Known Member

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    It isn't a bad idea to make sure your pet cow clearly has a job from the start. The job may be as simple as being expected to stand for grooming while haltered or to pull a Walmart sled using a collar made from an old bedsheet. In the course of that work, do your basic training to set expectations about having her respect your space and authority.

    Lynda
     
  12. lgslgs

    lgslgs Well-Known Member

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    One other thing. If you plan to bottle raise, once the calf learns how to find the nipple be sure to use a bottle holder of some kind. (We have one built into the calf hutch.)

    You don't want to spend two months teaching them to eagerly rush into your space and then try to untrain that when they get big. Either use halter/tying or a bottle holder to ensure that you maintain a dominant position during the excitement of bottle time.

    Connie was not allowed to rush in and take the bottle directly from us. She was allowed to move in and take the bottle at her place in the calf hutch only.

    It isn't all that different than training good manners to a dog - except that if you do a poor job of it you can get damaged by a much bigger animal.

    Lynda
     
  13. needstoknowmore

    needstoknowmore Rattlin Rock Ranch

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    I've got 2 pet cows!! Ok, so they are still both calves but they will be cows someday. Just like with the rest of my animals, I don't let them get away with anything when they are little that I wouldn't want them to do when full grown. I do have to watch out for Ellie walking into me, but she is blind, so I talk to her and let her know where I am. She still comes looking for food and loves, but is more careful about it. Just like with any species, there will be good ones and bad ones.
     
  14. Whatcom Webfoot

    Whatcom Webfoot New Member

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    We just put a deposit on a nearly weaned Dexter heifer. The plan is for her to be a milk cow when the time comes, but is there any reason we couldn't also teach her to pull something like a stone boat or hay sled (lightly loaded of course!)?

    Any suggestions on reading material for cow psychology?
    I'd like her to be a pet, but in a safe way. This thread has given me some food for thought, and I'd like to learn more before we bring her home.

    --Joanna
     
  15. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Hey, Joanna, Congratulations on your new heifer!! Anybody I know?
     
  16. Whatcom Webfoot

    Whatcom Webfoot New Member

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    Island Dexters on Orcas. Josephine Bangs and Bob Egan. They just happened to have a heifer from their new bull and didn't want to keep her since they couldn't breed her back to her dad. She'll be 4 months when we get her home, and as much as I hate to wait, I think starting young is our best bet.

    Did your group find a home yet? They sure are nice looking!
     
  17. dunroven

    dunroven Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have 4 jersey steers that are pets. Nubbin, prancer, dancer, and spot. (yeah spot, LOL). They were bottle babies and they don't rush us or do anything like that. They just want to be petted and lick you to death and they keep our biggest pasture mowed down. Now they will eventually become part of our food chain, and go to freezer camp, but they are so friendly when they got out while we were away to a funeral once, the friend who was looking after our critters said, you didn't tell me these steers couldn't be driven, they have to be led! LOL

    They are a joke here and people drive by just to look at them. I think we will always keep some of them here. They are really pretty and I love them, but I also think of why we decided to raise them. Wasn't intentionally to be pets, so I have to keep that in mind, but I don't mind having 4 great big pets running around here.
     
  18. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Just to follow up on what people have mentioned --

    It is very possible to take a steer and train it to be a decent work animal. Steers (oxen) are SLOW but hard workers.

    You can also break them to ride. I used to see a guy who had a brahma steer broke to ride; he did some pretty decent reining on it.

    Leva
     
  19. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    let me warn you not to try to make a pet of a bull calf. as it grows it will consider YOU as part of a herd. when you are part of a herd, you have to have a little fight to establish pecking order. in my book anyone that goes up against a 450-700 lb bull is asking for trouble....
    (i'm sure i'll hear back from someone on this)
     
  20. SmokedCow

    SmokedCow Well-Known Member

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    I SOOOO AGREE! only mine are my chickens! hahaha and cows..(and birds alike) no when somtthing is wrong..and the listen..i love that they can talk back or tell u to can it...they listen..or run away! so true!
    AJ