Livestock I need to attend a course called COW 101

RememberGoliad

Senior Member
Been around cattle on the periphery most of my life, but never been in charge of them. We just acquired a small herd to put on an 8 acre patch we had been letting neighbor use for grazing. Four cows with calves born last December and January, 3 bull calves and one heifer calf.

To expand on the description of my current knowledge, I know they eat hay, they poop fertilizer, and it roughly takes two acres around here to support a cow. A general sense of the fact that they need supplemental feed during dry times and that they need gallons of water, which isn't a problem as they have about a 300 gallon poly water tub (one of those blue 8' diameter tubs) that's kept up by a float valve from the well.

Distilled down, I've now got a healthy, good lookin' herd of friendly even-tempered cows who are used to human contact. Pointers on keeping 'em healthy and friendly are appreciated.

A couple of donkeys came with them. A mama and her 4 year old daughter. Those are the most comical critters I've ever seen. VERY friendly and love attention.

Thanks :)

 

fuzzy

Contributing Member
If I were in your shoes there would be several questions that I would want answered. What kind of grass do I have, cool or warm season grass? A combination is best. Can I subdivide the land to make at least 2 pastures? That way I can have the animals on 1 pasture while the other re-grows. Can I buy hay locally? Do I have a place to keep it dry? Do I have the means to put it out during the worst weather? Tractor, truck, or ATV? What kind of soil do I have? Soil test to tell me what fertilizer & lime do I need? Do I have the facilities (corral, headgate) to treat the animals for disease & injury? Do I have the ability or know someone to haul excess head of stock to the sale barn? Is there a custom butcher close if I want to put up a steer ever so often? Hope this gives you something to think about.
 

Publius

TB Fanatic
Fuzzy brings up some good pointers. Looks like you live in a rural location and do you have a yearly county fair in your area, if so you may want to find out when its happening this year and plan on atending and bring pen and pad of paper. Even going to the county fair the next county over from you, and you can connect with all kinds of people that make their living with various livestock in one way or another, you can glean much.
 

RememberGoliad

Senior Member
Hamburger on the hoof if you dont get too attached to them. Good luck!
That's the plan.

If I were in your shoes there would be several questions that I would want answered. What kind of grass do I have, cool or warm season grass? A combination is best. Can I subdivide the land to make at least 2 pastures? That way I can have the animals on 1 pasture while the other re-grows. Can I buy hay locally? Do I have a place to keep it dry? Do I have the means to put it out during the worst weather? Tractor, truck, or ATV? What kind of soil do I have? Soil test to tell me what fertilizer & lime do I need? Do I have the facilities (corral, headgate) to treat the animals for disease & injury? Do I have the ability or know someone to haul excess head of stock to the sale barn? Is there a custom butcher close if I want to put up a steer ever so often? Hope this gives you something to think about.
Combination of grasses, it is easily divided into 2 with about 500 ft of cross fence into roughly half. More dependent on moisture than temperature as far as year-round pasturing. There's been cows on the place up until Harvey blew down some fences and neighbor on the other side closed the cross gate. He sold and/or butchered some of his herd and didn't need the extra pasture, so never re-opened the gate. It's been rested since the beginning of last September.

The mechanics of it are all in place as far as the means and ability to get and store feed and move the cows. Several sources of good hay nearby and already do business with a couple of them in different pursuits. Know a couple of really good butchers I'd trust to do it right AND teach me the difference between a cow and animals I've processed before (deer, hog, etc.)

What I'm lacking in is the day-to-day needs of the gals and the whys behind it. The actual doing I've done before working for others, but the why and the what-to-look-for stuff is where I've got the biggest learning curve.
 

summerthyme

Administrator
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We've had top quality dairy cattle for 40 years, and are currently developing our "retirement" herd of Irish Dexter beef cows. I've done all our vet work for over 30 years, and have worked with hubby to develop the rotational grazing management that is vital to maximizing feed value as well as pounds of forage produced per acre.

I don't have time tonight to begin to address this, but will try to work up some basics. However, I can tell you that you really need to cultivate an experienced rancher/farmer in your area who will be willing to help (in exchange for some free labor, a bottle of booze, a case of beer or an invitation to barbeque once in awhile... whatever the local currency of exchange is) when problems or scary questions come up suddenly. There is no substitute for someone who has BTDT, *and* can see and touch the animals in question.

Things like squeeze chutes are wonderful inventions, but will cost all the profit 4 cows can make in 10 years... or more. Still, depending on your physical abilities and strength, it still might be worth it, as hospital bills cost even more!

I'll try to write more tomorrow...

Summerthyme
 

cowboy

Veteran Member
One of the things that you need to address starting this time of year is fly control.

Another is are they bred back and what trimester or when are they going to calf again.

Minerals is another thing that needs to be in front of them all the time.

Calves need shots if they are not done already "four to eight months of age".
 
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