New to cows...some questions..and miniatures?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Mommyto5, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. Mommyto5

    Mommyto5 Well-Known Member

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    PA
    Hi all...
    We're new to farming and just getting started on our livestock. We're considering starting with some beef cattle. My hubby's dream! :) We've been advised by an "old timer" to get a mother with a calf....then butcher the calf and breed the mother...then do this in a cycle. Eventually, keeping a calf for breeding, butchering that calf...etc. What are your thoughts on this? Is this a good plan to start with??

    Also...do beef cattle require milking? We've heard NO.

    Here's another one...I saw and fell in love with miniature cows. My hubby says they're only "pets." Is that true? Can they be butchered? I'm thinking they could, why not? :shrug: But, are they any good? What are the pros and cons of miniatures? Anyone???

    Lastly...any suggestions before we start? We'd like our children to do 4H....what suggestions can you give regarding our first purchase if that's our desire??

    Thank you all in advance for your help! I just love this site...and everyone's been so kind in answering our many questions. :angel: Looking forward to the time that we can return the favor!!
     
  2. CountryGoalie

    CountryGoalie Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    NY
    I have been researching Dexters (the "miniature cows" you spoke of) lately and last night I came across some good websites. Here are some of the most informational ones...

    Dex-Info : Dexter Cattle Information Resource

    If you click on the link at the above site that says "Small Breed" it will lead you through a series of pages talking about the different aspects of the uses for a Dexter. :D

    Dexter Articles

    There were a handful of interesting articles at that farm's website.
     

  3. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    Northern Arizona
    We've been advised by an "old timer" to get a mother with a calf....then butcher the calf and breed the mother...then do this in a cycle. Eventually, keeping a calf for breeding, butchering that calf...etc. What are your thoughts on this? Is this a good plan to start with?

    It sounds like you are talking beef cattle. If you are, I would remember cattle are herd animals and get two cows one bred and one with a bull calf to slaughter. That said, enough of us have only one cow.


    Also...do beef cattle require milking? We've heard NO.


    You're right, beef cattle don't require milking. If it's milk you are aiming for, get something different.


    Here's another one...I saw and fell in love with miniature cows. My hubby says they're only "pets." Is that true? Can they be butchered? I'm thinking they could, why not? But, are they any good? What are the pros and cons of miniatures? Anyone???


    They are basically hybrids that cost a lot of money. Everyone here will steer you to dexters. They are a dual purpose (beef and dairy) breed. With miniatures you aren't going to want to butcher something that cost you both arms and a leg for only a little bit of meat.

    Glad to know there is one more family out there that is going to enjoy cattle.
     
  4. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    What you do depends on your resources, needs and abilities.

    Doing what the oldtimer suggests involves having the means to keep a cow/calf over winter, finding a means to breed the cow, etc.

    What can you do? What are you willing to do? How much will it cost you? Those are questions to consider.

    I suggest you start with a feeder calf to raise. Plan to raise it to butcher age and see how that goes. It's easier than dealing with cows and bulls to start with.

    For 4-H, think carefully about what your kid's goals are. 4-H can be very competitive, though that is not the stated purpose. It can be a real bummer for a kid to go to the fair, only to find their project is "weird" (not within the norms). Ideally, go to the fair and see what the other kids are doing first. You also need to learn the rules, so you pick an appropriate animal. Contact your local group for help. If your kids want to do something "different", that's fine, but they need to know upfront where that will put them in competition.

    Jena
     
  5. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Location:
    VA
    I have a Dexter in the freezer now, but he's going fast.

    Dexter meat is as good as any breed. It varies more by how it is fed and conditioned than it does from any other reasons. If you feed a Dexter just like you feed an Angus, you'll get the same quality beef.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm