Livestock ??s How long from birth to sale time?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by TinaNWonderland, Aug 13, 2004.

  1. TinaNWonderland

    TinaNWonderland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    61
    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Western Kentucky
    Okay, I need to know approx. how long it takes to grow different types of livestock from birth to sale time. We have a couple of acres and are in the process of fencing off a large chunk for farm animals, so I'm trying to get an idea how much grow time some of them need. The "food" type animals would be sold when they are big enough for meat (We're vegetarians, so we're not gonna eat 'em :cool: ).

    We have chickens already, and I'm sure we're going to get a few pygmy goats because I've always wanted some, they're just so cute. I know how to raise cattle because I did when I was a kid, I just don't remember the selling age. So, if y'all could tell me the avereage age of sale for the following, it would help me plan things out:

    Steers and cows
    pigs
    Boer goats
    Sheep

    Thanks a bunch!
    Tina
     
  2. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,731
    Joined:
    May 31, 2002
    Location:
    No. Cent. AR
    Goat are goats whether Boer or other. 155 day gestation. I had a buyer for all of my Boer cross doelings for $40.00 at 24 hours to a registered goat dairy. Boers are ready to butcher at 6 months about, but only the males so you can build up your herd for a year or so and use the milk yourself and make cheese and sell that also if you want. If you only have a couple of acres you better figure out which 1 breed of animal you want, no way can you raise all you listed. Goats would be better than cattle or sheep but it all depends on the market you have available in your area. If there is no market for what you raise you are just wasting time and loosing $$$. Find you market (buyers) FIRST and figure out HOW you are going to market them - on the hoof? delivered to the processor? processed at home? Is there even a processor in your area and what animals do they do? Sure hope you can afford pet goats as the pigmys are useless and really need tight fencing to stay home. Also prime target for dog and bigger varmits.
     

  3. TinaNWonderland

    TinaNWonderland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    61
    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Western Kentucky
    We are defineately going to raise chickens and goats (mainly dairy goats with a couple of pygmys) but the reason for my question was that I would like to have a couple of other animals to simply raise and sell to earn a little extra money, like maybe 2 steers to raise from birth to sell age. We live in Western KY so there is definatly a cattle, pig, and goat market here. Like I said, we won't be processing anything ourselves. I am wanting to know how long it takes the other animals to reach "selling age" because I don't intend to breed them, just raise like 2 or 3 at a time and sell them. I know cattle are good for this, I just don't know the optimal age to sell steers. I don't know much at all about sheep or pigs, so thats why I'm asking. I had an opportunity the other day to buy 2 baby pigs, but since they were still bottle age and I don't know how long I'd need to keep them, I passed them up.

    Right now we are just starting out, we bought the house nearly a year ago, are just now getting the farm area fenced, so if y'all could help me answer my question, and maybe give some suggestions, I would be really happy! :) I don't intend to raise all that I listed, mainly my chickens and some goats that I'm fixing to buy; and I'd like a couple either cattle, pigs, boer goats or what ever that I can do the most with in a short period.

    Thanks,
    Tina
     
  4. Zuiko

    Zuiko Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    124
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Not sure about the specifics but I know most cattle and pigs are that you buy weaned in the spring are ready for butchering in the fall. Keep in mind, the more animals, the more outsourced feed. We have a total of 10 acres, lots under the driveway/trees/buildings. I am mostly keeping pets, or animals for meat for us, for now. We got 3 steers a few days ago, and I would like to get some pigs. You may want to try a few of each for a year, or you may want to try one kind a year, just see how it goes. Worst case, you lose a little money for a couple years, but then you know what works best, in your situation. Are you keeping jobs? If so just go slowly spend what you can afford, without counting on profit from the meat, then when you do get money, you can figure out costs. Most of what you will buy will be good for any of the animals listed (the for meat animals).
     
  5. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,977
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Location:
    East TN
    Chickens can be sold from day one and on. It depends on what you think you want to sell them for. Meat chickens 6 wks. and up depending on breed. best money is in fighting cocks or fancy breeds. Pigs can be 8-10 mo. for slaughter. Cows 18mo-24mo.
    If you have little or no experience start with chickens. You probably won't make any money but you will learn a lot at a good pace for little investment. You're probably not going to make any money with raising animals on a small scale.
     
  6. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,489
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    I don't know anything about goats and sheep except little pygmy goats are near impossible to keep in (my experience).

    You do not have to keep cattle or pigs until they are big enough to slaughter. Many people make their livings raising these animals to a certain point, then selling them.

    Hogs take 5 months to reach slaughter weight. You can sell them after 6 weeks (or any other time) as feeder pigs. You probably don't want to try to sell any hogs that are more than 100 pounds, but not big enough to slaughter yet. You'll get nailed on the price.

    Cattle take 12-16 months to reach slaughter weight. You can sell them as feeder calves (right after weaning at 5-6 months). You can also sell them when they get to about 700-800 pounds (9-12 months). At that point they are ready for finishing and buyers will snap them up. If you sell after they are bigger than that, but not ready for slaughter, you usually get dinged on the price.

    Alot of people find selling calves at weaning saves alot of headaches...sick calves, keeping them away from mom, etc. A lot of people buy feeder calves, put them on grass for the summer and sell them to be finished by someone else (that's called a stocker operation). Stockers are said to make the most consistent money as there is not a cow to feed all winter, nor lots of expensive feed to finish a steer.

    If you plan to grass finish only...your times are going to get longer. I think it takes 18-24 months to finish a steer on grass alone.

    Jena
     
  7. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Messages:
    19,463
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Truth is a couple acres you should stay away from Calves or Hogs.Then the only thing you might make money on will be Rabbits and Chickens,the only way on Chickens would be Eggs.

    Couple acres if you was wanting extra money,I would go with Berries and Truck Crops.

    big rockpile
     
  8. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    960
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2002
    We sold our wethers at 2 months of age. You can raise hogs in a small pen. If you have extra garden produce or goat's milk they should grow real fast. We plan to add them this year. Sheep can be butchered fairly young also and they should eat the excess the goats don't want (grain and hay). My goats also eat the extra garden produce and the weeds. They pay for themselves during the summer; not sure about the winter but we like having them anyway.
     
  9. Look carefully at your resource (land with vegitation on it) and decide how to best use that resource. Cattle use a _lot_ of grass between 400 & 1000 lbs, they use other resources before & after those weights - most of the time.

    Do you have enough grass land to make cattle worthwhile? Might want to think smaller livestock. Be lucky to make $100 each, and takes probably 2 acres each in your location or you need to suppliment feed in dry times....

    Do you want to raise any of these livestock over winter, when you will need to buy feed? Or do you just want to buy in spring, sell in fall? This is a good option, you will get lower prices, but have almost no expenses and much less work.

    If you are near city horse people, and can put up with demanding people, boarding horses can really pull in the money on an operation your size. You need to sell yourself & your nice operation & price becomes no object in the right locations.

    --->Paul
     
  10. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,731
    Joined:
    May 31, 2002
    Location:
    No. Cent. AR
    Truth is Tina a couple acres is really not enough to raise large animals for sale. With good management you can raise enough for your family. You MIGHT be able to raise a litter of pigs if you have a well-fenced, sheltered area set up. birth them in early Spring and sell in the fall so as to have only the sow to winter over.
     
  11. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    936
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    If you're vegetarians, why don't you grow a garden instead of trying to raise animals? I'm really not trying to be a smart aleck... I'm just wondering?
     
  12. TinaNWonderland

    TinaNWonderland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    61
    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Western Kentucky
    Hi, and thanks for all the answers and great advise! I really appreciate it!

    Goatlady, here in KY it's done all the time, raising just a couple of cattle in a small area. Alot of people will bottle feed a couple of calves and raise them up to sell, giving them supplimental hay and grain. Maybe you misunderstood what I'm planning to do: I'm raising chickens and am going to raise Nigerian Dwarfs (mini dairy goats), plus I'm wanting to raise a couple of larger animals, just a couple or so at a time, to sell (not breeding the big ones). I have plenty of room for that, since the chickens and mini goats take up very little space, and since I'm just going to start out with only a few goats this year, I have a lot of space left over. Nigerians are great for a smaller area, and will give a great deal of milk for their size, which I plan to use for cheese and goat soap. Plus I'll get eggs from the chickens.

    bgak47, I appreciate the question! I was born and raised in the country so I love farm animals. We do have a garden, but the goats and chickens will give us eggs and goat milk, and I love to watch them. That's why I'm going to raise dariy goats as opposed to the meat goats, too. The 2-3 larger "meat" type animals I'd like to raise up to sell should bring in a little extra cash at the end of the year (next year).

    Also, My family (dad and grandparents) have always raised cattle on a large scale, so I should be able to get a really good deal on baby ones. :) And I'm wanting to learn all I can about pigs and sheep, in case I ever want to opt to get a couple of them.
     
  13. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    Lambs can be ready for market (butcher weight) at 3-4 months and don't need half the fencing goats do. Real goats I mean. We have pygmies and they were a bit harder to fence in but they were fun while we had them. 2 acres begs a rabbit operation, you can use your land to grow plenty of higher value foods and buy cheap rabbit food and sell rabbit meat. I agree with Goatlady (except where she says goats are better, cuz sheeps is way better :p ) 2 acres isn't really big enough to raise marketable animals.
     
  14. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    PS if you want to raise sheep by all means ask the regulars on the sheep board. Wool has money making potential or even the hides!
     
  15. pygmywombat

    pygmywombat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    233
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    I don't know about sheep, goats, or pigs, but you can raise cows or steers on a few acres with no trouble, as long as you have a good source of hay for winter and relatively good pastures.

    Steers can be butchered at 12-24 months, depending on breeding (dairy steer vs. beef) and feeding (pasture/hay only or grain-fed). We just sent our 12 month old Guernsey steer to the butchers. He weighed over 1000 pounds (grassfed and nursed by mom until the day he left), hanging weight was 525, expecting 3-400 lbs of meat back. Beef animals usually bring more meat because they have been breed to put on more of it.

    If you have dairys in your area heifers can be an excellent money maker. They will generally buy them at any age, I sell mine right at breeding age (12-15 months). Purebreeds bring more, but with milk prices up dairys are snatching up anything they can.

    Rule of thumb for pasture space for cattle is 1-2 acres per animal. I grazed a mature, milking dairy cow and a 1000 pound steer on 1 acre without trouble. the pasture is seperated into 3 paddocks so they can be rotated around.

    Buying young bull calves in the spring, bottle feeding for a few weeks, castrating, grazing them summer and fall, feeding hay over winter, grazing spring to fall and butchering is pretty easy.

    Claire
     
  16. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

    Messages:
    2,053
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Location:
    KY
    Hi Tina!
    If you've got an aversion to meat (I've had to quit most of it due to ill cardiac health), Why not get a brood mare? They're pretty cheap to buy (unless yo go for "bloodlines") and you can usually find a good racking mare for around $1000.00. They can produce a foal every year (gestation is 11 months) and as long as you feed them hay and grain, they do fine on a small paddock. Besides, you can even ride the thing if it suits you. If you breed locally to a reliable stud (Stud fees can run from $0.00 - $1,000,000,000 depending on the "Bloodlines" and the disposition of the owner), I've found that I've rarely paid more than $100.00 to get my mares serviced. If you want to have a sellable foal, I'd recommend you breed for Color and conformation. People around KY seem to love the Paint look and the saddleback blacks and whites or sorrel/white. I've got a mare that's probably the stupidest thing that God ever put hair on, but she has a blaze, 4 white stockings and a white splash on her sorrel rump. Everybody tries to buy her because of her color/markings. Also, handle your foals from the day of birth on so that they're imprinted and gentle toward humans...that's another good selling point.