Winter Hearty Beef Cows

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Windswept Hill, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. Windswept Hill

    Windswept Hill Well-Known Member

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    Greetings and Happy New Year 2011 to all!

    Are there particular breeds of beef cows that are better suited to cold winter locations?

    Right now the inside of my barn is not ready for livestock so the cows would be outside for the rest of the winter.

    I am considering Highlands but I am open to suggestions.

    Thanks!
     
  2. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Most any of the European breeds would be fine. Angus are much more marketable than Highlands. Will the cows have some kind of shelter such as trees, windbreaks, etc?
     

  3. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    drive around check out the neighbors have without shelters....BUT I bet you will find almost all breds..except the Braham breds
     
  4. Windswept Hill

    Windswept Hill Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the winter pasture is right up against our woods so there is a natural windbreak.

    Marketability is indeed a consideration. Durability is as well. My neighbor who raises and sells Highlands says he has not had a vet bill in 15 years.

    Another neighbor has suggested 'White Face' cattle. Is this a breed?

    Dairy cows seem to be the majority around here.
     
  5. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Your neighbor was probably referring to Black White Faces, or in other words Hereford Angus crosses.
     
  6. Karin L

    Karin L Bovine and Range Nerd

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    "White Faces" are also commonly referred to Hereford cattle.

    Angus cattle are pretty good for colder environments, as they are a british breed bred and raised for tough, adverse conditions like cold winters. They'll do well in winter provided they're fed properly and kept at a good body condition. Not to mention they're the best breed to raise if you want premiums for your calves.

    Other breeds to consider are Galloway, Red Poll, Highlanders of course, Herefords (as mentioned before) and Shorthorn. Angus is probably the best breed to go for if you're concerned about marketability than anything else.
     
  7. rancher1913

    rancher1913 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    your neighbor might mean herfords but tinknal has better advice--the black baldies or angus/herford crosses will give you the black marketability, and the cross will give you hybred vigor that will overcome a lot of problems that a novice could encounter.
     
  8. linn

    linn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The market is best for all black cattle here. If you are interested in selling, I would go for Angus or Angus cross.
     
  9. sammyd

    sammyd Well-Known Member

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    If you don't have a market for the highlanders leave them alone. Shipping them through normal commercial channels will ruin you, vet bills or not. They typically bring the same or less that a cull dairy cow brings at our sales barn.
    Most any animal will do fine outdoors, unless you're looking at zebus or brahmas I suppose....
    We run our dairy cattle without a barn year round and they do quite well up here in WI. Just have to be right there when the little ones show up.
    For personal use we usually grow holstein steers and they do well with not much more than a windbreak. They market better than the highlanders and up until a few months ago could be got as calves for little money.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  10. ErinP

    ErinP Too many fat quarters... Supporter

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    Well I'll be a follower and suggest Angus or Angus crosses, also.
    We ran primarily Angus and black baldies when we were in North Dakota. Range cows in North Dakota don't have much for shelter, btw, so you can bet they were winter "hearty." ;)
     
  11. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    I guess I'd also like to know what you want the cows for? Meat ? Milk? Lawn mowers? Showing? How much land do you have? No good having big beefers if you only have a couple of acres.
    If you want commercial cattle then the suggestions you have had will serve you well, if you have enough land for them.
    If you want smaller then Dexters would provide a good alternative, great beef, no added feed needed other than pasture and hay, will give a couple of gallons of milk if wanted. I'm also in NY and 2 of mine just calved, they are easy calvers, great mothers and the animals are gentle and easy to handle.
    I hope you find what you are looking for and enjoy your animals,

    Carol K
     
  12. Liberty's Ledge

    Liberty's Ledge Active Member

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    I have to agree with Carol... What is your purpose for raising cows? I personally have no idea what I am raising cows for. I just like it. Hence the exploding population at my farm, in no particular rhyme or reason. Just this weekend I picked up a full blood Jersey cow bred for April and a Jersey heifer and a shorthorn cross bred heifer, bred to who knows what. Someday I might figure it out. But it sounds like you have a clear mission but aren't sharing it.
     
  13. Windswept Hill

    Windswept Hill Well-Known Member

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    Carol K

    Great questions! I would like to have 4 cows to start with, perhaps 2 mother daughter pairs. After the first year I plan to purchase a bull calf. We will occasionally butcher an animal for ourselves. Since even a little cow goes a long way I can't see that happening more than once a year.

    We have about 15 acres to rotate between pasture and haying and another 20 acres of mixed woods where the cows can roam. Last year I put away 30 dry round bales, 15 bagged silage bales and about 300 of the good old stack in the barn square bales. This was with zero animals. We own all of the haying equipment.

    I would like to keep our bovine population where we can be self sufficient as far as cow feeding goes.

    Our daughter is almost 7 and I want her to have some exposure to 'the animals' so a gentle temperament is important.

    If the milk is optional I'll take it but it's not really that much of an issue right now. It's a nice option to have though.

    Showing would probably be something our daughter would do through 4H.
    The Delaware County Fair is held 2 miles from our place each August.

    The Dexters sound interesting. I must have seen some at the fair. I have lived here for 15 years.

    Oh yes and lawn mowing is one area where I can use all of the help I can get!

    Liberty's Ledge - while I have been typing this manuscript I just saw your post appear. I share your 'because I can' sentiment as well! This brief outline of 'my mission' may provide some answers.
     
  14. spinandslide

    spinandslide Well-Known Member

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    Ditto Rancher!

    The Black Baldies, IMO, would be ideal for your climate and for marketability.

    You'll have the good even temperment of the hereford..and the gain and mothering ability of the angus.

    Id stay away from anything with ear. you wont do well if you have to go to the salebarn up there.

    As for showing, you will have to see what is "winning" in your 4-h.

    Down here, even with Brimmer's being a type of choice for many (including myself), they simply dont seem to do well against the european breeds in the 4-h stockshows. Around here, Angus, Shorthorns and the occassional Hereford will win almost all the time.
     
  15. spinandslide

    spinandslide Well-Known Member

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    Forgot to add..all many cattle need is a windbreak in cold climates..shelter is nice..but a windbreak will suffice. We got hit with 18 inches of snow last christmas..a RARE RARE occurence down here. my Brangus cow, who hardly grows a winter coat (compared to my 2 heifers who have a higher percentage of Angus in them and get VERY bushy) weathered it just fine with a sturdy windbreak..and of course, hay.
     
  16. ErinP

    ErinP Too many fat quarters... Supporter

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    A few years of cattle experience here ;), but only owning a handful, I would never bother to have a bull for less than 10 or 15 head of cows. Find a neighbor who'll let you run them with his herd, AI, whatever.
    Bulls are an extra headache. Don't take a headache on unless you're SURE you need it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  17. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have highlanders, black/white face's, texas longhorns, pinzgauer, and cross breeds.
    pinzgauer is an excellent choice. our pinzgauer bull is so tame. I can do just about anything to him. He is probably 3 years old, we bought him as an 8 month old.
    Also, dairy steers, yes they do fine, but they are all frame and bone until 3 years old if they are grass-fed. if you have to butcher early, you aren't going to get much.
    But if you have to sell wholesale, the other people are correct, black will bring the most money.

    I should point out something no one else has mentioned. Herefords, and black/white faces are PIGS! they eat more than any breed of cattle I have ever owned.

    I differ in opinion on the bull thing. ours dont cause any more trouble than the steers. we have a highland bull, a pinzgauer, a texas longhorn, and mixed breed. we wont tolerate a trouble causing bull. yes, we watch them close, and never assume they are safe. usually bulls start to get nasty around age 4 or so. they we ship them. usually we keep the bull meat for ourselves. we like it the best.
    also, if you have a bull, you dont have to worry about AI and missing a heat cycle, or bringing one in, but that also depends on when you want your calves. if you dont want winter calves, you will have to keep him locked away from the cows until July or August.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  18. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    Well I think you will have to decide between less cattle if you choose a standard size breed ie angus, hereford or baldy. Or more cattle but a smaller breed, that will enable you to continue to provide your own hay. Dexter meat is fine grained, and sweet and beefy. I think the size of carcass is more family friendly for their freezer and their pocket books, so think about that one. Dexters especially polled or dehorned will be great for you daughter to show. Visit some herds and see what you think.

    Carol K
     
  19. ErinP

    ErinP Too many fat quarters... Supporter

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    And there lies the headache.
    If you're only running a handful of cattle, why would you waste precious space for a single animal to be isolated 9 or 10 months a year?
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  20. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    well, all I can say is this. The first year I had dairy goats, people told me, you only have a few, dont waste resources on a buck. what foolish advice. It took me months to find a buck to get them bred to. Couldn't find one of the right breed. I had to rent him, he escaped, wasn't too friendly. The woman lived 20 miles away in another town. What a nightmare! I vowed I would never again be without a buck, and I havent been ever since.
    Due to the size of cattle, I venture I feel the same that way.

    just my opinion, though.