Nucleus Herd or Bad Investment?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Apr 30, 2004.

  1. My little herd is finally here and I am delighted, disillusioned, and disgusted.

    The lead cow is approaching 11 years old and supposed to be with calf. She has a huge frame and a gentle nature but could use couple of hundred pounds to slick her up a bit.

    Her calf from last year weighs maybe 250 pounds; little in the way of flesh just a big hay belly.

    The next best cow is 4 years old and again has the frame to make a great duel purpose cow but she is a might thin. She has a new bull calf of about a month and a half old. He is doing great so she is giving lots of milk. I’d like to try to milk her but she can be frisky to say the least; maybe if I was 20 years younger and my barn was built a lot stronger?

    The next cow is also 4 years old but very thin. She is supposed to be bred as well and was due 2 or 3 weeks ago. The vet says she isn’t and may have lost her calf due to her poor condition. Who knows? There may be a 35 or 40 pounder hidden somewhere in there, but I wouldn’t bet $.02 cents on it. Our bull is chasing her around the paddock with a silly "grin" on his face.

    Her last year’s calf is much as the one described about: about a year old and about 250 pounds.

    There is a 3 year old cow due in July but I cannot see her having a calf. She is all bones and moves very slowly. I have good hay and 16% supplement for her and all of the cattle but fear they couldn’t stand much of the supplement, so I’m giving them all of the good Timothy and Clover hay they can eat; no supplement to her just yet; maybe in a few weeks or two after she puts on some pounds.

    There is a bred heifer that will be 2 years old in October but is due with a calf in August. She is very small but seems healthy.

    The bull is fleshing out nicely. He is nearly 2 and of a different blood line than the rest. I’ve read that a Milking Devon bull ought to weigh 1400 pounds at 3 years old to fit the standard. He will need to gain another estimated 800 pounds during the next year to make it.

    I may sound like I’m unhappy with the little herd, but they are registered Milking Devons and I place no fault or blame on anyone for their condition up to now. Who knows what happens in other peoples lives that adversely affect their livestock?

    Now they are mine and the bull will not have access to heifers under 2 years of age, nor will any heifer be allowed to mature without being gentled or halter trained so that they may be milked as adults. I mean really, they are a triple purpose breed of cattle, not pets, and not Beef Devons. If the cows cannot not be milked then the whole idea of the perfect house cow with a great beef bull calf is missed.

    Haggis @ Wolf Cairn Moor
     
  2. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    you might want to chrck and see if the calves have bailing twine in there gut, i had one that got that way after it was sold the buyer let it in the corral with his horses and it picked up the twine. if thats the case the won't ever get much gain.vet mite get it out if you try. is there a mineral deficency in you are? you mite want to seperate the calves and feed and work them seperatly. just a thought.
     

  3. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    I wish you luck with your herd. It sounds like they have ended up in a good place where they will be well taken care of. :)
     
  4. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    Some of those calves may not ever make up the difference. I can't see a bull that weighs 800 pounds at two years ever amounting to much. Some of the damage may be permanent.

    I learned (the hard way) to always have bred cows preg checked before purchase and if I can't go see them in person...I don't buy them!

    I ended up with a bunch of cows I used to call the losers. Good feed and health care did help, but it was too little, too late for their calves that year. Sick, small, stupid and dying...it was a mess. I ended up throwing good money after bad.

    If they don't come around in short order, consider culling the ones that aren't responding to good care. Save the money to buy better animals.

    Jena
     
  5. Bluebonnet

    Bluebonnet Active Member

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    did you discuss with your vet the possibility that these cattle may need to be wormed? along with what apprears to be an obvious lack of nutrition that could be a contributing factor. also make sure they have a good mineral supplement available at all times.
     
  6. To help put weight on a skinny cow, you might consider using (1) wet beet pulp. and (2) a horse supplement "Source", along with (3) some bull ration.

    We used it on our favorite old (19 years old now) cow a couple of winters ago, and it really helped her.
     
  7. renabeth

    renabeth Well-Known Member

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    If they were mine, I would worm them heavily. I bought a starved shorthorn at the auction for a 113.00 dollars about 5 years ago.Cattle were cheap then. And she has made a pretty good cow and calved a number of times. With home dairy type breeds beef farmers buy them and don't feed them enough so they nearly starve and then complain that they don't do well. Dairy cattle just don't do well in a beef management system. Lot's of starved to death dairy cattle go through the sale barn. Just feed them well, but don't over do it. You'll be able to tell in a couple on months.
     
  8. I started the Milking Devons off slow with the best quality hay I could find (140 miles round trip and $5 a bale for small square bales.). Most of the cattle picked up stamina quickly but one 3 year old supposedly bred cow just seemed to be doomed. I started giving them a calf ration recommended and prepared by our local feed store (the owner has been in the dairy business over 30 years). At first it was a pound morning and a pound in the evening; all but the 3 year old cow wolfed it down with gusto. She would eat about half a pound and lay down to rest. I had already separated her from the rest of the herd.

    After about a week she was eating her ration pretty well; now bear in mind she won't weigh more than 500 pounds at 3 years old and is said to be 7 months pregnant. Anyway, once they were taking their ration well I wormed them using a pelleted worm medicine sold to me at the feed store at the rate of 1 pound to the thousand of live wieght.

    The main herd had a bit of the runs for about a day and a half. The young cow had come to me with runs so bad she hardly even lifted her tail to defecate. Her waste was the consistancy of water. But within a couple of days after being wormed her appetite picked up and her waste firmed. Now when I go to the barn and call "Suk Heifer" she is the first to me to see what new yum-yum I have brought.

    I am still giving the lot unlimited high quality first cutting hay, and up to 3 pounds of ration morning and evening. It does the heart, if not the purse, good to see how well they have responded.

    Of the 3 bred cows and 1 bred heifer I bought, I think only the oldest cow and the heifer are with calf.

    The little bull's fate is still in the wind. Either I will try to sell him to someone looking for a small/mini Milking Devon bull, or he will have "the operation" and end up on the family table.

    I really do appreciate all of the advise and support in this matter. There are not a lot of these cattle around and as a retired History teacher, I feel good about having them here to brighten my day if not to lighten my bank account.

    The cow with a young bull calf has about 6 1/2 or 7 months left on this lactation. The fellow at the feed store is trying to locate a few locking stachions for me. Once I get something set up we'll start the real wrestling match. She is the wildest of the lot and looking to bugger.

    Haggis @ Wolf Cairn Moor
     
  9. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Have these cattle been tested for Johne's?
    The thin condition, combined with the diarrhea, sort of scares me ... :confused:

    Anyway, it sounds like all but one are responding to the good care. :)
     
  10. The "runs" have departed from the herd entirely. Little Autumn, the pitifully sick 3 year old cow, is doing really well on the calf concentrates and first cutting Timothy/Clover/Alfalfa hay.

    Her eyes are brighter and she is trying to make friends with me. My son and his wife had not seen her in a while and they couldn't quit talking about the changes in her.

    I think the cattle will do well when they finally have access to fresh grass and a continued daily dose of concentrates.

    The big nice 4 year old with the best frame, best head, great Milking Devon horns, and best color may have to go. Due to the cow's size and attitude, my wife doesn't want me to try to break her to milk. She will always throw a good calf. Her udder is almost perfect and she produces a lot of milk; if looking at her young calf's growth rate means anything. I think she is the finest example of what a Milking Devon should be: or will be once she puts on a couple hundred pounds. She's out of a herd in Missouri originally. Maybe I'll sell her and use her bull calf as my future sire. That would ease my wife's worries about me trying to break the cow to milk; and I will if I keep the cow, or get my brains kicked out. The big cow is of a different blood line than the others in the herd, so it could work to keep her bull calf for a sire. (Were it entirely up to me, I'd sell any of them before I'd let her go! But 33 years of marriage has taught me that compromise means doing what my wife says.)
     
  11. Sorry, I forgot to sign my post!

    Haggis @ Wolf Cairn Moor
     
  12. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Haggis, if she has the qualities you're seeking, what about just keeping her around as breeding stock? You can always break her heifer calves to milk ...

    It seems a shame to get rid of the most promising of your cows. :(
     
  13. You are perfectly correct of course. Maybe she'll come around, and maybe I can resign myself to just using her as a brood cow. She is a beauty.

    Haggis @ Wolf Cairn Moor
     
  14. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Haggis, I'm wondering if there's a commercial dairy in your area that might be willing to take the Dexter for a month or so and break her to being milked.

    I know where I work, it usually takes about that long for the heifers to get used to being milked, and settle down and become nice dairy cows.

    Once she was accustomed to having her udder handled, and being milked by machine, it should be relatively easy to get her used to hand milking in a stanchion.

    My Jersey girl came off a small farm ... had always been parlor-milked, and made the transition quite easily.

    Good luck! :)
     
  15. Jackpine Savage

    Jackpine Savage Well-Known Member

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    Haggis, good to hear they're coming around. I might have ended up with some of those cattle, but I think you called a couple days before I did. I'm guessing you're the guy up on 'the range' :) .

    I'm in NW Todd County, central part of the state. If you get down this way I've got some stanchions laying around. A kicker might help: http://www.animart.com/cgi-bin/details.cgi?sku=627&line=Restraint

    If you decide to sell that cow let me know.
     
  16. JS,
    If you are interested in the cow "Kira of Schoenridge [1/1/00] #942" you ought to run up here and see her. I'm always home, well except for a few hours a month. I figure it's less than 200 miles up here to Eveleth and you would know more about whether or not you would care to have her. She is lovely, but I guess, pardon the highjacking and butchering a of a common idiom, "beauty is in the eye of the holder."

    Haggis @ Wolf Cairn Moor
     
  17. Mullers Lane Farm

    Mullers Lane Farm Well-Known Member

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    Haggis,
    I'm glad these cattle went to a good home and that they're progressing well under your hand. We had considered them also, sight unseen. It is very possible that we may be interested in offspring in a year or so. Things are too up in the air around here right now - too many projects!!

    Please keep up posted on this herd.