Wanting a bucket calf...am I crazy to get one now?!?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Cat, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    Most generally we have our uncle raise us a beef each year but for several reasons this year we didn't. At any rate, there's really no reason I couldn't raise one, but I just can't decide if I want to get one now and have to feed it all winter or wait until spring which will move back the slaugher by an additional 4-5 months but will keep us from having to feed it hay this winter. Probably what I will do is buy a holstein/beef calf from a dairy nearby and bottle feed it, which, at such a young age means it won't be eating a lot of hay for awhile and by the time it gets to eating a lot I'll have pasture to run it on. Do I really want to bother with a calf this winter? Is a little bit of effort this winter going to be worth it because we'll have homegrown beef all that much sooner? Is saving a few $$ on hay now by buying a calf going to save me a lot more money on hay next winter than if I bought a calf come spring? I just cannot decide!!!! Oh, also, I'll be raising it primarily on alfalfa hay, brome pasture, and small amounts of grain. What time frame am I looking at from birth to slaughter on pastured beef? The last time I raised calves they were holstein heifers and slaughter never came into the picture and I just can't remember how long it took for them to get of adequate size ...

    Soooo...anyone have some suggestions for me to help me make up my bloomin' mind?!? :cow:
  2. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    I know that the climate is a lot different, but we just got two bottle calves. I've never lived in Kansas, so I don't know anything about wintering calves there. We usually get two every 6 months or so and sell whatever we don't need at slaughter time.

    Depending on the calf you get, it should take around 15 to 18 months or so to get to the size and finish you want.

  3. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

    Oct 4, 2005
    I think you know more about it than i do already....but i guess the best timing would be to have the calf weaned by the time grass grows (not just turn green). grass greens by march 15 here, but does not grow very fast until april 15.
  4. JulieLou42

    JulieLou42 Well-Known Member

    Mar 28, 2005
    North Central Idaho, Zone 5
    Weaned calves need to be about 6-8 months old in your clime. I'd buy one in the spring, and slaughter late in fall, at around 16 months, if you don't want to feed thru the winter.

    Our first calf was born end of May last year, and was on grass by about two weeks, and had his mother till he was 7-8 months, when SHE weaned him! We slaughtered on Oct. 10th and he dressed out at 688#. He had some grain along the way, but never any of this "calf starter" stuff that feedstores sell. He did just fine on what he got and is great eating.