Should we give up on cows?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Patt, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

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    I'm really stumped at this point. We have had great success with goats, pigs, rabbits and poultry but we can't seem to get a cow bred to save our lives.
    We bought 2 bred cows when we moved here 4 years ago, they were both beef mixed breeds. One dropped a nice red calf the other one had a dwarf. We had a bull in to breed them he was here for 4 months. Neither of them got bred. We sold them and started looking at either Dexters or Highlands.
    We bought a Dexter cow with a calf at her side who was already bred back almost 2 years ago. We also bought a Highland heifer and bull calf. The Highland heifer turned out to be sterile, took her to the Vet, did hormone treatments nothing (her uterine tract never developed). She went in the freezer. Our Dexter can't seem to stay bred as I posted below. She has a heifer calf that we'll try to breed here in the next few months to calve at 2 yrs.
    So we've invested $2,600.00 not including Vet and feed and put 4 small cows in the freezer and milked one cow for over a year. Anyone else had this much bad luck and had it work out in the end?
     
  2. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Patt, I think that most of us have had a run of bad luck at one time or another and maybe even considered giving up on cattle but I don't think you should, if you enjoy cattle. I do recomend that if you don't have a lot of experience with cattle, you should probably buy experienced cattle and stay away from heifers, they can test the patience of even the most experienced. I do recomend when buying females that you buy from a reputable breeder rather than an auction house if possible (lots of people use auctions to dump their culls) and I strongly suggest that you require a current semen test when purchasing bulls, possibly you could consider leasing a bull at this stage of the game. I keep forgetting to check where you are located but in cold climates if bulls are not wintered properly, they can easily freeze their testicles giving you a poor producer or non producer and you want to purchase cattle that have a full health regime. I would like to see you purchase from someone who wants to remain active by continuing to answer your questions and offering as much further information as a good breeder should. I'm sorry you don't live closer to me because I have a couple little older cows that would be ideal for someone like yourself.
     

  3. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

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    Thanks wr. We're in Arkansas so our winters are never that bad. We usually don't drop below 20 degrees in the winter.
    The bull we used the first time around was a field bull (charolais) everyone here in the county used and he is very proven. :) The cows next door dropped great calves from him.
    We tried to lease a bull for our Dexter but no one in AR would even consider it, the closest we could find was OK. That's why we went ahead and bought the Highland.
    We did buy the Highlands from a reputable breeder and she offered us a replacement on the heifer but we just didn't want to go through another year or 2 of working with a calf and getting attached and then having a problem turn up. I've wondered if there isn't a problem here on our farm but it seems like it would have affected the goats too and they've been very fertile! :)
    We do like cows, I'd much rather have cows than goats but we have to stick with what works.
     
  4. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    You can have your soil analysed for contamination and mineral deficiencies. I don't know what it would cost for you but in Alberta, I pay about $35 for mineral testing. If your cattle happen to be over fat, that can actually affect reproduction as much as underweight.