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Dexter calves....should I get one or both of them?

Discussion in 'Everything Else Cattle' started by carolinagirl, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. Jan 7, 2012
    carolinagirl

    carolinagirl Ridin' The Range

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    I was thinking about buying a heifer calf, 3 months old and weaned. She's $600. I want a tame cow, not a wild one so I'd rather buy her young and raise her. She is a registered Dexter. But then I got to thinking about how on earth I'd get her bred when the time comes. So the breeder offered me a bull calf, same age, for free. Is this a dumb idea? There are no Dexters close by so when it comes time to breed the girlie, I'd have to transport her. Getting a bull of my own kind of seems like a logical thing to do. Will a bull be hard to handle? Dangerous? Hard to contain until it's time for them to become pasture mates? I am just so unsure about this. Part of me says that this is a DARN good deal and I should jump on it, and part of me says to pass on the bull even though he is free. Suggestions please? Thanks!
     
  2. Jan 7, 2012
    SheepGirl

    SheepGirl Master of Sheep Golden Herd Member

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    No cattle expert, but you would be feeding that bull for about a year before you get any use out of him. (Plus another year before you can breed him again to your only cow.) You might just be able to save money and just take your heifer to be bred.

    ETA: And if they produce a heifer calf that you decide to keep, then he will be no use to breed her so you would a) have to get another bull or b) take her to be bred.

    JMO.
     
  3. Jan 7, 2012
    Royd Wood

    Royd Wood New Member

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    At $600 and so young I hope she comes with papers. As for the bull coming for free then its a deal - just get his nuts pulled and fill your freezer up in a couple of years time with a fine Dexter steer

    Good Luck and keep us posted
     
  4. Jan 7, 2012
    WildRoseBeef

    WildRoseBeef Range nerd & bovine enthusiast

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    If you're concerned about getting getting her bred, it's cheaper and easier to get her bred by artificial insemination (AI) than having to have one bull for just one heifer. It may not seem like it at the moment, but you're going to be running into problems if you're going to keep a bull on the property with just one cow. One bull will earn his use if he has 20 or more cows to breed every season, not just one. I'd do like Royd said: sure it's a deal, but once he's yours, castrate him and raise him for the freezer. Use AI to breed your heifer in a couple years time.
     
  5. Jan 8, 2012
    SuburbanFarmChic

    SuburbanFarmChic Overrun with beasties

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    x2. don't raise a bull for a single use. Just nut him and stick him in the freezer.
     
  6. Jan 8, 2012
    Royd Wood

    Royd Wood New Member

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    With him being 3 months you could get him pinched or even still band him - then he would be a great companion for your heifer. Please take him if he's free as $600 for a reg heifer and freezer bull is a good deal
     
  7. Jan 9, 2012
    dreamriver

    dreamriver Chillin' with the herd

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    I agree, go ahead and take the bull calf, get him castrated and keep him for a companion if you only have the one cow. I do and have kept a Dexter bull for a number of years but for the limited number of cows I don't think the benefits outweigh the risks of keeping a bull on your property. Unless you were to purchase some unrelated heifers/cows you wouldn't want to continue line breeding him to his daughters so his usefulness to you is again very limited as a bull. On a personal note, here on the farm it's the rule " you can have testicles or horns, but not both"

    Be sure that your heifer is indeed registered and that you have her parents registration numbers on hand, until you have the papers in hand.

    btw, out bull now almost 5 years is very docile, easy to handle, still gets cookies by hand, BUT we are always aware that he is a bull and like ANY animal of any size may be dangerous.
     
  8. Jan 9, 2012
    carolinagirl

    carolinagirl Ridin' The Range

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    thanks for all the good advise. I was not really looking forward to keeping a bull here. I have a ram and he can already be intimidating enough...I don't need a 1000 pounds of intimidation. I will go ahead and get them both (and yes....they do come with papers) and keep the steer as a companion for the heifer until he is old enough for freezer camp.
     
  9. Jan 9, 2012
    Royd Wood

    Royd Wood New Member

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    That's great and Dexter pics please - when they arrive :thumbsup
     
  10. Jan 10, 2012
    carolinagirl

    carolinagirl Ridin' The Range

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    oh yeah....pics for sure! One more question for anyone. So how large will a 3 month old Dexter be? I am trying to figure out transport arrangements. If two can easily fit in the back of a pick-up truck I can make a stock panel cage for the truck and not have to bother towing a horse trailer to get them.