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Can meat cows provide good milk?

Discussion in 'Breeds & Breeding - Cattle' started by FriendsHerd, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Mar 19, 2017
    farmerjan

    farmerjan Loving the herd life

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    @Bossroo I will have to disagree a little with you. A dairy cow will way over produce the amount of milk her single calf can use so to say it will limit it's growth potential isn't true. Also, an animal does not marble until it reaches a certain maturity. Veal calves get all the milk they can drink and there is no marbling in their meat. I raised veal for years for a very select market and the calves were drinking in excess of 4 gallons of milk, TWICE a day (so 8 + gallons a day). The meat was very pale pink as opposed to the gray/white since mine were allowed a little roughage. True "white veal" is from an animal that is actually anemic, and straight milk with nothing else makes it that way. Plus it is very tender because they are not allowed to get any exercise so the fibers are not at all developed. There is no marbling.
    An animal will marble only after it has reached a certain stage of maturity, mostly after the bulk of the "size" of the growth is reached. And different breeds marble differently, but the best is Wagyu and second is jersey, then guernsey, then angus, hereford and several other beef breeds that all fall very close together. Tenderness is also achieved with aging.
    Beef breeds put on much more outside layer fat than a dairy breed even in a feedlot.
    Flavor comes from the meat, the juiciness comes from the marbling, and the tenderness actually comes from the makeup of the muscle fibers of the meat. The longer and thinner the muscle fibers, the better the "shear factor" which is the test of the tenderness. Many beef breeders are now looking at that in order to make their animals grade better on the rail.
     
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  2. Mar 19, 2017
    Bossroo

    Bossroo Loving the herd life

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    Jan, true what you said about the veal. And the production capabilities of dairy cows. My comments regarding the beef meat qualities are based on research from a major University Beef Science Department that I worked at.
     
  3. Mar 20, 2017 at 5:02 AM
    FriendsHerd

    FriendsHerd Exploring the pasture

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    Okay so shared parenting won't likely work... would it be better then to just stick with one cow? Also if I bred her to a bull of her breed for her first calf could I breed her to a hereford with the next with minimal complications? And would a dutch belted be enough meat to last a family of three for a year? I know I have a lot of questions but I'm taking a lot of notes and it's a lot better to get answers from people with real experiences than just google it and hope I'm reading something from someone who knows what they're talking about lol Thank you guys for the advice!
     
  4. Mar 20, 2017 at 9:00 AM
    Bossroo

    Bossroo Loving the herd life

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    If your family are carnivores like mine , we eat MEAT . We can devour a 18 month old Belgian Blue ( double muscled ) in no time. So NO! If you eat meat in small amounts and just a couple days a week. Yes.
     
  5. Mar 20, 2017 at 6:27 PM
    Bruce

    Bruce True BYH Addict

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    I'ffn I remember my "xxx production" classes from 40 years ago, the fat is what gives meat its flavor. For example, if there were no fat at all, beef and lamb would taste about the same.
     
  6. Mar 20, 2017 at 8:04 PM
    farmerjan

    farmerjan Loving the herd life

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    @Bossroo is right about the meat consumption. I personally can go through a beef a year and not have any leftover. But I like meat also. Take note of how much meat you eat now. Seriously, for a month or two keep a list of what you eat and the quantities. Like steaks, roasts, ground beef. Get an idea if you are a big beef eater. And let me tell you, once you have your own, you will eat more because it tastes so much better. I can eat beef several times a week with no problem.

    What I would do in your place, just starting out with a dairy cow, is get a second calf (and maybe graft it on her so she is raising 2 calves), or if she won't take it, raise one or two more on the milk you milk and don't use for the house and then you will have one to kill, one more to kill a couple months later and it will be a little bigger; or kill both at the same time and put them in the freezer(s).
    The shared parenting usually does not work. That said, I have 2 cows that let any / all of the 5 calves they raised last year on each other. But that was their own doing. If Mara was letting her calf nurse, and the other calves were around no telling who would go on her. Then I would see the other crossbreed with her calf and one of Mara's on her. But you know if you were counting on them to do it....murphy's law...it would never happen that way.
    You could breed her to a bull of her breed, and the calf will probably be fine. It's the whole thing of a FIRST CALF HEIFER being smaller and her whole body will have to adjust to the birth process so a smaller calf is better. The only breed I have not ever had a problem with calving is a jersey bred to a jersey, due to the size of the calf since they are like little deer. NOT saying they can't have a problem. Had a nightmare with a first calf brown swiss cross heifer bred to an angus. Should've been an easy birth. It is as much the cow as the bull. And what if she has a heifer calf? If it is a dutch belted it would be a shame to raise that heifer to kill.....

    What about the possibility of buying a cow from this dairy that has the dutch belteds, that is maybe an older cow that is not the biggest/best producer and is already bred? MOST dairy cows that I have gotten that have previously been on a dairy will quickly adjust to being treated in a "one on one" situation and be pretty decent to work with. With the dairy prices on roller coaster rides, it is a tough business to be in and I have farmers that will cull a decent cow that is older and not making as much milk as some of the younger cows. They will go for cull pound price and you can get a decent cow for half of what a heifer will cost to raise up. There is one smaller dairy that I milk test for that has sold several of his registered cows over the years for family cows because he has too many heifers coming along and the cow is just on the low end of the totem pole. He would much rather she go to a family than to beef, but he has to set some kind of culling guidelines.
    I bought a bred jersey heifer for pound price because she had one quarter that had mastitis even before she calved and this farmer did not want to deal with her. She had a purebred jersey heifer calf that will go into my "milking" group too. She is a decent milker out of 3 teats so I came out ahead. She is now bred back to an angus for her next calf.

    QUESTIONS are good. Better that than to try to just do it and make mistakes that could easily be avoided. We all make mistakes; learn from others easy mistakes and just make the hard ones...:lol: :th:he :ep :hide

    P.S. I like dutch belteds and hope to find one close so that I can have a few. Had some belted galloway beef cattle and they were cute and very good dispositioned.
     
  7. Mar 23, 2017 at 10:31 PM
    FriendsHerd

    FriendsHerd Exploring the pasture

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    If that is the case then I might try to find an already bred dutch belted, I don't personally know any of the farmers around us but from what I've seen almost all of the farmers around have all jerseys, and for a while I wanted one of those and I still do want one but I'm just looking at all of the options, from what I can tell the farm down the road from us got some jersey calves last year but they keep them separate from their other three cows, I'm not sure what kind of cows they are but I like them too! The oldest is the mom of both and just from driving back and forth everyday we got to watch her raise both of her calves, the first calf (a steer) looks just like her now and is a charcoal like color very pretty! and her other calf is a straight black steer but still adorable. They never pay any notice to us when we drive by but we always wave and yell "Hi" lol If I had enough room I'd keep all the heifers we'd get from breeding but I don't, I think the only way I'd be able to keep from having to cull it would be if I could exchange it for a bull calf, other wise I don't think I'd be able to afford to raise it and breed it and then it's calf be a heifer and so on and so on, I already plan to introduce myself to the neighbors though the only one thats actually close is the one with the five cows... There is soo much to learn! Does anybody else ever feel discouraged? The more research and planning I do the more I begin to doubt myself and my dreams. Raising these animals has been my dream since I was a little kid and I love that I finally have to opportunity to do it and raise my son with it as well but sometimes I just don't know if I'm capable of doing it.... sorry I went off subject there....but how do all of you guys do it?
     
  8. Mar 24, 2017 at 10:08 AM
    mysunwolf

    mysunwolf Loving the herd life

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    Oh boy, I'll answer this with my own personal rant: I have no idea how I do it. I threaten to quit raising animals at least a few times every month. They are expensive and heartbreaking and always seem to be getting something wrong with them. But if you can prepare yourself for the fact that not everything will be perfect all the time, really soak up and enjoy those beautiful moments with babies and calm mothers, laugh like crazy at the bizarre situations, and be prepared to admit that you really don't know much and that you probably should visit the vet one more time this week, you might do okay. Remember, research is good, but there is only so much you can know before you actually raise them. You will have to call on people with more knowledge (neighbors? vets? experts on the internet?), but hopefully they will be happy to help. And did I mention that the good moments usually outweigh the bad? Don't give up on a dream just because it's difficult!
     
  9. Mar 24, 2017 at 2:07 PM
    misfitmorgan

    misfitmorgan Loving the herd life

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    Even if you ate two meals a day with meat for the entire year with the standard rule of 1/2lb per person per meal that would only be 1095lbs for a family of 3. Generally thats only for meals where meat is the main dish like a roast or steaks, most 3 members families will only eat 1lb of meat in a meal where meat is combined with other things like pasta. So the 1095lbs/yr of meat is over estimated.

    So do you need 1095lbs of beef.....nooo. You would get really sick of beef. Even if you have a lot of big pieces of meat your not likely going to get over 1095lbs/year generally for 3 people esp if one is a child.
    1095lbs of....
    beef
    chicken
    turkey
    lamb
    fish
    shellfish
    pork
    venison
    rabbit
    etc

    I think @farmerjan had an excellent idea....keep a meat log. Also write down what kind of meat though. You don't want to have two cows butchered and end up with 600-800lbs of beef in the freezer(s) and realize firstly your sick of beef and secondly your freezer is to full to fit your thanksgiving day turkey in or that the chicken on sale at the store wont fit.

    We have two pigs in our freezer atm and if we didn't have a chest freezer, and a second fridge that is all we would have room for. We are very sick of pork atm though so we are not eating it....same for rabbit.

    Also keep in mind if you are going to be butchering other animals for for your own meat like chickens, rabbits, turkey, pigs, etc you need room for all of those in the freezer too. Most people butcher 25-50 meat birds at a time with each bird being on average 5-7lbs when dressed, so you need room for 125-350lbs of chicken which even broken down is a lot of meat. So if thats in your plans make sure you have freezer space planned out. Nothing worse then keeping an animal past butcher time for lack of storage.

    I also agree beef cows are more ordinary then dairy cows. You might try an older dairy cow first until you get the hang of it, milking a first time heifer even in the dairy breed can be a challenge esp when it is your first time too.

    Nothing wrong with raising dairy steers for meat, they taste fine and ive never seen a difference in the home raised meat of a dairy cow compared to the store beef, you just get less meat usually. Also keep in mind that there may be a large cost difference you need to factor in.
    Locally a bred dairy heifer is $700-1800 a bred beef heifer is $1,000-2,000++
    Dairy calves start at $65 for 10days old or weaned calves for $250 these are heifers or bull/steer calves not freemartians
    Beef calves start at $300 here and they are 90% steers only.
    Also if your going to be shopping for calves/cows/heifers/etc do it mid-summer or in the fall or even winter as the prices will be much lower. I have seen $2,400 cow/calf pairs in the spring end up being a $1,000 cow and a $300 calf in mid-summer/fall.
    If your going after calves being its your first time it would be a safer bet to get one that is weaned already.

    I'm ending my novel now.
     
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