Jersey bull/steer calves for beef?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by CountryGoalie, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. CountryGoalie

    CountryGoalie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    636
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    Hello!

    My family would have the opportunity to purchase a very young Jersey bull calf this coming spring from a Mennonite dairy near us. I have heard that Jersey steers raised on their mother's milk are very good for beef... what about if they have had to be raised on milk replacer? Also, how many times a day do they need to be fed (or "nursed", as it were)? How early on would you castrate them? Is the meat as quality, if the calf has been raised on milk replacer rather than his mother's milk?

    If we decide that it might be for us - which hinges mainly on the willingness of my father - we will be purchasing more informative literature. I've done quite a bit of reading on the internet as far as family milk cows go, just not much on raising a calf from that young of an age. So, I'm just trying to get some info.
     
  2. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    17,240
    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I raised mine on replacer. I think it was 1 qt twice a day. The meat is good, but they do not put on a lot of muscle compared to other breeds. Some people are put off by the yellow fat, but there is nothing wrong with it.
     

  3. annie716

    annie716 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    280
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    We raised 2 this past year, they were free from a farmer my son worked for, I wouldn't recommend it, if I did it again I'd put my money into a beef steer. We just sent them to the slaughter house last week & will get the meat later this week or next but I doubt it will be 200# a piece and not worth the money I have in feed and replacer. They just don't grow fast and are very lean so prob won't be to tender either. Ours were just over a year old and just weren't growing so I decided to quit dumping money into them. They're also a little to playful in the pasture and could be dangerous to children or others that might not be paying close attention or be used to animals. One of ours took a dislike to my 2 yr old grandaughter (who of course loves animals & has no fear & I couldn't let her within 10 feet of him or he would try to rip the fence or stanchion down to get at her. I got them each when they were about a week old and fed each one a bag of milk replacer (a quart twice a day) to the tune of $50 a bag, then the hay and grain all year as we didn't have a large enough pasture to support alone. I'm afraid to add it all up (not counting the hours spent feeding & cleaning up after them) cuz my meat will probably be more per # than it's worth.
     
  4. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

    Messages:
    2,601
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Location:
    mo
    we almost exclusively eat jersey
     
  5. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

    Messages:
    4,843
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Monterey, Tennessee
    I have two Jersey steers who were bottle fed. No real complaints, other than they grow slow, with that in mind they also eat less. I will not slaughter my Jersey boys until they are two years old. The Holsteins that I raise hit the freezer @ 12-18 months old depending on how much meat ya want. Jersey meat is outstanding if you don't mind the wait. I band the boys @ about one month old. In the attached photo, the Holstein is 1000 pounds @ 12 months old, the Jersey's are 5 months old. Quite a difference in size I'd say....

    [​IMG]
     
  6. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

    Messages:
    4,843
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Monterey, Tennessee
  7. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

    Messages:
    4,843
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Monterey, Tennessee
    [​IMG]

    enjoy the pics, they should give folks ideas and perspective regarding these two common cattle breed.
     
  8. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Good Jersey beef can come from a slaughter priced cow being culled out of the milking line just as readily as from a steer with a lot of input costs.

    If you are going to bottle feed I'd recommend Holstein over Jersey.
     
  9. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,747
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Like Jerzeygurl, we eat Jersey or Jersey X exclusively and that is by choice. We have enough other breeds to be able to pick and choose but the Jersey gets the thumbs up every time.

    What you feed it as a calf will have little bearing on the taste by the time it comes to killing it. Yes, they are slower to grow and never attain the huge weights of breef breeds but as already pointed out, they also eat less and have the added advantage in that they don't pug up the paddocks so badly when reared on wet country. We've killed Jersey steers out at 400lbs meat as 2 year olds. Don't think that's anything to complain about.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  10. henfruit

    henfruit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Location:
    new hampshire
    annie are you sure they both castrated? could be why he was mean.i had one i thought i had done properly with a band.but he was always mean.when he went to the butcher they told me he was still intack less the bag.het did not have much fat on him.
     
  11. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

    Messages:
    2,246
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    Location:
    Northeastern Minnesota
    It seems that many of the beef breeds do provide Cadillac beef, but also at Cadillac prices, while the lowly Jersey steer will provide Mercedes beef at Volkswagon prices.

    The guess is that it all depends on what one has the most of: money or time. If one has plenty of money, one may pour it into a beef breed to be done with the growing in short order, but if it is time one has in greatest quantity, get a Jersey steer, let him into a paddock to graze, give him some hay his first winter (he won't eat much), and butcher him the second winter.

    Of course, if one is buying the calf, bottle feeding with bought milk replacer, renting pasture, buying hay, feeding grain from the feed store, and letting the butcher do the final work (for no small fee) any beef will be spendy.
     
  12. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,246
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Location:
    Missouri
    Jersey is the best beef in our family's opinion. The older cows make excellent roast and hamburger and the younger steer makes for excellent steaks, roasts and hamburger.
     
  13. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    For reference material I suggest Raising a Calf for Beef by Phyllis Hobson. A Garden Way Book. Likely you can find it on eBay, half.com or one of the Internet book sellers.
     
  14. Oregon Julie

    Oregon Julie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    587
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    We raise Jersey drop calves on our three cows, two Jersey cows and a Brown Swiss/Jersey cross. The calves come free from a local organic dairy, as did the two Jersey cows. Since they cannot treat with antibiotics if they have a mastitis issue they are culled. We bought the Jersey cows with three quarters functioning and they have raised two calves at a time each wth no problem. The Brown Swiss X came from a local 4H girl who decided she no longer wanted to show a dairy cow. Taffy is 4 now and has been owned by this young lady since she was a couple of weeks old, so very gentle and halter broke well.

    I would NEVER raise drop calves if I had to bottle them. Too much work, too much money in replacer. We have such a low amount of expense into our steers as they grow up that the aspect of keeping them longer and getting less meat then a beef breed is not a problem for us.

    We may just be darn lucky but our Jersey cows just take any calf we toss in with them. They are dry right now, due in April/May to freshen. The Brown Swiss X has a single calf on her and is due during the summer, so he will be pulled in another couple of months to allow her a rest.

    BTW one thing about raising up drop calves is that, IMO, it is very important to get them with a good start. The wife of the dairy farmer that we get ours from makes certain that they have gotten a good dose of colostrum and that they are thriving. She does not call us the moment they hit the ground and say come get them, she gives them a few days to be up and running well. I see people buying day old calves at the auction and while I realize they are cheap I do wonder how many survive because they look like they fell out of mom, got tossed in a truck and hauled to the sale. Not a good way to start out life.
     
  15. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

    Messages:
    2,601
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Location:
    mo
    get better gains if left bulls, we eat them as bulls...

    jerseys are also known for good returns for the ammount of feed given, they are smaller grow slower, but also eat a lot less
     
  16. luvrulz

    luvrulz Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,232
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Our ext office highly recommends jersey calves for beef. They usually rate as prime beef according to our guys. Bottle calves are always slower to grow and put on weight - doesn't matter the breed. Their usually more friendly and eager for himan company..... We love our jerseys and most everything in our pasture is a jersey or jersey cross.

    If we were only doing this (raising our own food....) because it was cheaper, we'd be out of business. You can't consider the overall cost per lb as the only factor - we also factor in something for better and healthier eating!