Sale barn calves

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by HoosierDeb, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. HoosierDeb

    HoosierDeb Well-Known Member

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    Went to the sale barn yesterday... that could be a big mistake if I had a few dollars in my pocket. I've been wanting some cattle... want Highlands eventually but would like to raise a couple of calves for beef. They had a bunch of Holstein bull (I'm assuming)calves in yesterday. I know that baby calves like that, especially once they've been thru the sale barn, die very easily but I almost couldn't resist. I'm assuming that all of them in the same pens came from the same farms. There was one pen where there were only 6 or 8 babies and they looked perky and healthy.. in fact, a few of them were bucking and running around playing. I almost stayed and if I had I probably would have brought a couple home. Anyone here buy calves at the sale barn and have any advice... besides "don't"? LOL I know that one already. I'm assuming that these babes are only a few days old and would need milk replacer and bottles. How long before you can wean them to grain and hay? How many times a day do they need to be fed? I work 12 hour shifts so am away from home a total of about 14 hours/day, 3 days/week. I may try to find a dairy farm around that would sell me a couple of bull calves. Also, I'm not salebarn saavy... do they sell them by the pound or how? some of the older feeder calves were going by the pound I know and I'm assuming that some were by the hundredweight but I didn't stay while the babies sold.

    DebF
     
  2. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    Buying from a sale barn can be a good thing, if you know what you are doing. Looking for healthy calves is good. Find out if they have had colostrum. If not, then don't bother buying them.

    Learn how to care for them before you bring them home. Be sure to learn about vaccinations and illness so you know what to do for them. Ask your vet what they would recommend and when.

    They would need two bottles a day and those 14 hour days would be awfully long for them. It is possible that you could feed them in the morning and come home to dead calves that evening. They can go down quickly. If you do this, it is really important that you know about illness so you know the early signs to look for and how to treat them.

    You can offer hay and grain from the beginning, but they probably won't eat enough calf starter to be weaned for at least a couple months.

    Good luck

    Jena
     

  3. Wanda

    Wanda Well-Known Member

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    Deb
    If there are dairy farms near you buying direct could be cheaper, but you would have to be ready for calves when they call you! Baby calves are sold on a per head basis. You need to leave your money at home and watch them sell a couple of times ;) This will tell you what the average price is in your area. Also pay close attention to what the high priced calves look like so you have some idea to go by. When youget milkreplacer make sure it is NOT soy based, this is one place you shouldn't scrimp on price!!!! When you are all set up and ready to get your calves remember to buy with your EYE'S&MIND NOT WITH YOUR HEART!! This will save you a lot of grief later.
    Mr. Wanda
    Mike
     
  4. lilsassafrass

    lilsassafrass Well-Known Member

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    DebF

    Your right , dont !! :) , much better off if you can find off the farm bottle bulls
    all teh calves in one pen are not nessarily from the same farm , different sale barns pen them differenttly , at our local barn , all teh beef type 3 day calves go in one or two pens depending on how many and are sold by the hundred weight , each ,through the sale, the dairy calves are seperated out according to breed and grouped together in small pens , and dont even go through the sale , but are sold "neath the stairs " in otherwords prenside as a pen of calves and mostly to as vealers , if you didnt know the ruitine you would not know when they sell .. so check in the office for time of sale of dairy calves
    First , you dont know if the calves have recieved colostrum .. sometimes not
    on teh bigger dairys around here if its sale day tehy load atruck with calves born in the last few days and off they go , sometimes the navels arent even dry yet ..so have some extra colostrum to feed them first off.

    I dont rutinely vacinate , but I do anything that comes to the farm or leaves the farm , I like triangle 9 , it covers a whole spectrum of common calf diseases
    but not everything .. be ready for scours from simple stress .. and have on what ever product you like to take care of that ... it can almost be a given that salebarn calves are going to scour sometime in teh first two weeks or so ..
    just because of stress , if not you are lucky then ...

    Yes you would need replacer unless you are milking goats or have a dairy cow .. i have raised bottle babies on all three types of milk .. when it comes to replacers , buy the best you can afford , the higher the fat content the better
    I liek carnation , but there are several good ones out there , 2 x a day is fine to feed , directions should be on teh bag , other wise a bottle a feeding at first, but i would choose a nipple pail , or even train tehm over to a pail soon , for convience .. there is the idea that calves need to nurse though to help develop the ruman (hmm for got how to spell it .. sheesh )
    I have weaned off calves from milk , as soon as 4 weeks .. but I like to keep them on for as long as possible .. and if you have a milk suppley all teh way to butchering can produce a good quality meat .. but thats only if you have free milk to do that ... actually once they are eating hay and supplemnt well you can wean them , I would wait awhile longer in the winter ,
    as to times , well regularity is the best on feeding them , 12 hour shifts would be best , unless you want to feed them 3 x a day ... when you go against rutine you are setting yourself up for stress = scours , but its a judgement call for you
    When you first bring them home , feed colostrum , then for a few days i like to feed a weak milk mix with elctrolytes added , there are many good ones on the market today , but 25 years ago , there wasnt to much choice , and i used to use gator aide :) in a pinch , and if they scour take them off milk and feed electoytes and start over with teh weak milk going back to full strenth ..
    all this goes for off the farm calves as well , the better thing is they havent been exposed to such a wide variety of salebarn bugs ...
     
  5. HoosierDeb

    HoosierDeb Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone...

    I was watching them pen the animals as they came in at the barn and they did seem to be keeping them together and penning each batch seperately. One pen had probably 30-40 calves in it. Most of them looked okay but a few were kinda iffy-looking. I think I'll go see the guy down the road. He's not very big and he's been known to keep milk in a refirgerator in the barn that just happens to leave, seemingly on its own and money appears in a jar there when it happens (wink, wink) so he might be the guy to go to. My friend knows him and some of his milk has found it's way to her refrigerator from time to time. Maybe some of that milk would find it's way down here for the babies too..

    I know how fast calves can go down. My brother used to have friends who had a Jersey dairy in WI and he'd get bull calves for free from them. It sure doesn't take them long to die.. sometimes before you even have a hint something was wrong and I know those calves had colostrum and were taken care of. I watched them handle them and they were good, caring people and good husbandmen. Their dairy was much cleaner and the cattle were much healthier looking than another of his friends who had a grade A holstein farm. The Jersey folks could only sell to the cheese factory because they didn't use pipeline milkers, only bucket milkers but I'd have felt much safer drinking thier milk than the other guy's, who was grade A.
     
  6. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Was you at Topeka or Shipshee? Rochester sell quite a few dairy veal calves, The calves that come in to Rochester are all comingled in the same pens.. They have an ID number stuck on their back. There is a weight sign above the clerks desk. Calves under 100 pounds are sold by the head, but the ones over 100 pounds sell by the pound. That is confusing but not so much when you get used to it. The veal houses bring calves back to the sale that look like a poor risk for survival. They sell cheap, but they are over priced if they were free. They also have order buyers that try to buy all the good calves they can for the veal barns. That makes you outbid them for the better calves.
     
  7. HoosierDeb

    HoosierDeb Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I was at both Topeka and Shipse on Weds. The Spring Draft Horse sale was this week at Topeka. The cattle I saw were at Shipse though. Are you near Rochester, Uncle Will?
     
  8. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Don't know how warm it is in your part of the country, but I'd definitely wait until springtime to buy. Less chance of the calves getting pneumonia ... we have lost quite a few this winter on the farm where I work.

    Better to buy from a farmer you trust ... For instance, I have heard of some farmers feeding the bull calves they're planning to send to the sale the milk from their "bucket" cows (sick cows, cows with mastitis, etc.) just to save a few bucks. :(
     
  9. HoosierDeb

    HoosierDeb Well-Known Member

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    That's probably a good idea. It was spring here yesterday but we're back to winter today. It's been snowing off and on although no accumulation, thank goodness. I think it's supposed to warm up again this week. I have to believe that one of these days it will get warm and stay warm.
     
  10. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi Deb. We live 10 miles south of Rochester. I forgot about the Topeka draft horse sale. Always like to go at least one day. The carriage auction is real soon isn't it? Have you ever ate at Tiffinys on the south side west of the sale barn? They have a great buffet lunch. Best tater salad north of Ma's kitchen. We get up around Shipshewanna about once a month just to drive through the Amish farms. Their places looked like we wished ours did when I was a kid.
     
  11. HoosierDeb

    HoosierDeb Well-Known Member

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    The Topeka Carriage sale is April 15-17th I think. I'm going to go to the Good Friday horse sale at Shipse. Went last year. Lots of decent looking horses going for not too much money. Maybe I'll have some to spend this year.
     
  12. HoosierDeb

    HoosierDeb Well-Known Member

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    No, i never ate at Tiffany's. Maybe I'll check it out if I get to go to the fall sale. Since the sale is always during the week and I work, I have to ask in advance to get the time off so I doubt I'll be able to go to the carriage auction. That little town really gets crowded on sale days. The sale didn't seem as crowded this year but then, I went on the day they sell the Percherons. I would imagine there were lots more for the Belgian sale on Thursday. Lots more Belgians around here than Perches it seems.
     
  13. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The Rochester sale starts at 12:30 on Saturday, but that would be a long way to go to buy calves. I never wanted to take the risks involved with starting them.. Topeka always has over 1000 head of draft horses for their spring and again in the fall sale. Plus that field full of horse drawn machinery, and tons of other old stuff to sell. How far are you from Topeka?
     
  14. HoosierDeb

    HoosierDeb Well-Known Member

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    I don't know how far I am from there... 30-40 miles? I live in Lakeville, about 10 miles south of South Bend right on US 31. Takes me probably 45 min to an hour to get there, depending how I go. I usually go over on US 6 if I'm going to Topeka but will go up and catch 20 if I'm going to Shipse.