Getting into cattle...

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Carrie C, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. Carrie C

    Carrie C Well-Known Member

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    Hi! I'm Carrie from around Sumner, WA. I am getting a Jersey steer after the goats kid in mid-April. I found a Jersey dairy in Enumclaw (that's pretty close) that will sell me a young steer. Just wondering, what do 4 day old Jersey calves go for 'round here in Pierce county, Washington State? Also, what kind of good, cheap fencing would you guys reccomend? Feeding program (milk and after milk)? Thanks!
    ~Carrie C.
     
  2. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I recommend your obtaining the book "Raising a Calf for Beef' by Phyllis Hobson. It is a Garden Way Book. Should be available on places like Amazon.com or half.com.

    On fencing, two strands of electric wire with a high strength charger works nicely for me most of the time.

    While the steer will take longer to grow out than a beef-type breed, the beef produced should be excellent. See some of the stickly threads at the top of the forum.

    On price, it varies greatly from area to area, year to year and even during the year. Several years ago there were a glut of calves and some dairies were giving them away for pickup.
     

  3. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Carrie,

    You asked one of the right questions, about fencing. Good fences are a necessity. Electric fence is the cheapest way to keep your stock in. How many strands and what type of charger depends upon how well trained the cattle are to avoid electric fences.

    If you're raising your own calf, he'll walk right through an electric fence for a while. I don't think calves can feel the shock or don't get shocked. It helps to keep the calves if there are other cattle that they want to stay with. A calf alone probably needs field fencing to keep him in. Fortunately, the area that requires field fencing doesn't need to be very big. You can make a small pen for him until he gets bigger and then introduce him to the larger area with electric.

    Young dairy steers are very popular, but you have to be prepared for a fairly high loss rate. Sometimes the steers don't get enough of their mama's colostrum or they don't get the right amounts of milk replacer or something else goes wrong. All in spite of the best efforts.

    Here on the other side of the country from you. steers like you're getting sell for $15 to $100. Watch for someone selling you a newborn and passing it off as a 4-day old. The newborn didn't get enough colostrum and will probably not survive.

    Be prepared to feed milk replacer for two months, minimum. Four months is better. Feed hay at the same time. The steer won't eat much at first, maybe not until it's two weeks old, but it needs to get some as soon as possible. You'll see when it begins to eat as much hay as milk and then you can begin to taper off of the milk.

    People who think this is too much trouble buy weaned calves instead

    Good luck

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  4. Carrie C

    Carrie C Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, guys! Here're some more questions I thought you might be able to help me with.
    Is it okay to but the steer-calf next to a few goats?
    What kind of fencing would be good besides electric? (Electric fencing, though nearly perfect from the sounds of it, is not an option). What about barbed wire? Or just strands of wire? Chicken wire?
    How does goat colostrum and milk compare with cattle colostrum and milk replacer? It would be part of the calf's feed program before weaning.
    Also, exactly what kind of hay do you feed? Alfalfa? Orchard grass? Timothy?
    Thanks and hope to hear from you soon!
    ~Carrie C.
     
  5. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Thanks, guys! Here're some more questions I thought you might be able to help me with.

    Is it okay to but the steer-calf next to a few goats?

    Yes, you can even run the calf with the goats.

    What kind of fencing would be good besides electric? (Electric fencing, though nearly perfect from the sounds of it, is not an option). What about barbed wire? Or just strands of wire? Chicken wire?

    There is an old saying about a goat fence. If you throw a bucket of water on it and any gets through, it isn't goat proof. Might raise that question on the goat forum.

    How does goat colostrum and milk compare with cattle colostrum and milk replacer? It would be part of the calf's feed program before weaning.

    Colostrum is only effective for about 18 hours after a calf is born and I doubt goat colostrum would be effective on a calf even then. Different species, probably different antibodies. When a calf is born the first stomach wall is 'porous', allowing the antibodies in the colostrum to pretty well pass directly to the blood system. With each hour it ages, the pores close, until they are pretty well closed after some 18 hours. If the calf was left on the cow for at least a full day it should be fine as far as colostrum.

    Goat milk though would be excellent for the calf. When I use milk replacer for the first week or so I add one to two raws eggs to it, both for the additional protein and that it help firm up the stool. On one calf I soaked calf grower in water, stirred well, strained out the larger pieces (e.g., oats) and added it to the milk replacer (sort of like chocolate milk).

    Also, exactly what kind of hay do you feed? Alfalfa? Orchard grass? Timothy?
    Thanks and hope to hear from you soon!

    Hay type doesn't matter as much as it should be the finest (a bit different from best) you can find, rather than stemmy. All of the above are fine. Essentially think 'horse hay'. Try to avoid long stem Johnsongrass and such.
     
  6. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Goats are considered the surrogate mothers. Their milk is the closest in form, shape, contents to just about every mother's milk. From cats up to horses.
    Goat's milk is commonly used to raise steers since in most places we can't sell raw milk.
    We've raised kids completely on cow's milk from the colostrum in the first 12 hours up until they were weaned. The goats turned out just as they would have if they had been raised by momma.
    I would suggest finding a trusting farmer to buy direct from. A good farmer makes sure every calf gets their needed colosrtum regardless of their future and if they didn't give it themselves they let you know that and let you know what they think about the momma's abilities and what not. We sold two bull calves to the same person who raises her bulls on goat's milk (she bought two last year from us as well). One we found immediately after birth, bottle fed him and left him with momma for close to a day. The other one we weren't sure had been born. The mother never tried to leave (our fences aren't all that sturdy) and I finally let her go and tracked her two days after she had been put with the herd. Her spunky little bull calf drank like there was no tomorrow when we finally got to him. Am I fairly confident he got his first colostrum? Yes, to have survived the cold shower and two days without momma, I believe he did. Did his price affect the chance he wouldn't make it? Yup. She got a great deal on those two bull calves because that calf, almost four months later is thriving just like the other one.


    The goat's milk would contain some antibodies specific to your farm. If you were picking the bull calf up in teh first 24 hours I don't think it would hurt to offer him a bottle if you can spare it, but I would make sure her received fresh cow colostrum from his dam, preferrably, first though. We send the leftover colostrum with the bull calves if they are picked up while there is some left. Not much we can do with it except feed it to the cats.
     
  7. Carrie C

    Carrie C Well-Known Member

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    Hi!
    The plan for calfie is to get him when he is three or four days old, colostrum fed, and raring to grow, with the proper feed program.
    I read that sticky about the Jersey cattle having one of the better end products. Pretty cool! I know it will take a while and such, but quality is more important than quantity right now so...
    I already have the goats (and have had them for the past, oh, eight years or so) and I already know about goaty fencing. My question was 'bout fencing for the calf. See, I've got a small barn fror the goats and there is no way I am letting that calf destroy the barn so he will be in a seperate yard. What should I fence that yard with? I've heard chicken wire is ok it you put it up right.
    ~Carrie
     
  8. evermoor

    evermoor Well-Known Member

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    Chances are the new calf is not going to be neaarly destructive on fencing as a goat. As mentioned before if it will hold a goat then it will hold a calf, so obviously use the same type of material. Young calves aree often tethered with a chain and a hutch. You can make a pen out of cattle or hog panels commonly sold at farm stores. It alsso might be benifitial to put a goat with him for a companion or get two calves. It also depends which side of the mountain your on. If your getting a lot of moisture and the temp rises and falls this can be a real calf killer.