Farm or freezer? (To breed or not to breed)

Ridgetop

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Excellent points here about conformation, castrating, etc. from everyone.

Here is my 2 cents worth - I am opposed to keeping him as a herd sire because conformation is only part of the equation. The sire is half of your herd. Would you buy this calf, undersized, poor conformation, no information about background, as a herd sire for several thousand dollars? You have no knowledge about this calf's sire and dam and their production values. He may be the worst calf produced by his parents or the best produced by his parents. You don't want a "cute" sire - you are not producing Easter bunnies for the pet trade, your goal is the production of good beef carcasses for the table and for sale to others. This means you need to offer a good product.

In a herd sire you want the best sire possible who will produce the best offspring possible. You want to know the sire's background, parents' production information, calving weight, calving ease, mother's milking ability (to be able to raise her calf), fertility, weaning weight, growth rate on pasture, etc. You will keep females from your herd sire to expand your herd. Do you want good cows or unknowns? Like Baymule recommends, AI will be the best way for you to go to get the traits you want. It will be cheaper than keeping a stud bull that may or may not produce for you. THE HERD SIRE IS HALF YOUR HERD. He can either improve your herd, OR make it worse. Your decision on using a herd sire should be based on that not on how cute or sweet this calf is. You can't make this decision emotionally - it cost too much.


Back to beef for the freezer - This little guy has made it this far. Whether or not you choose to castrate him or not is up to you. Keeping him a bull will need better fencing, extra caution, and solitary pasturing away from your goats and cows, BUT he will be great tasting beef in 12 months. He was free except for the cost of getting him healthy which you have already have in him. Put him on a grower ration and put some muscle weight and fat on him, butcher him out for the freezer, and enjoy his gift of meat for your family.

He has taught you a lot of good stuff for when you have more calves. It is all good.
 

greybeard

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You want to know the sire's background, parents' production information, calving weight, calving ease, mother's milking ability (to be able to raise her calf), fertility, weaning weight, growth rate on pasture, etc.
Add docility to that, but all that you mentioned means only a tad more to me than docility. I'd certainly never keep a bull for the sole purpose of leading cattle up. Easier and cheaper ways to accomplish that than a bull, and high heads need to go to the sale barn anyway.
I guess if one had a use for it, he could always be turned into a gomer tho......... :eek:
 
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IstaItan

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At the very least, he's great comic relief right now (unless you ask my husband, who is still fuming at the violation of his precious truck).

Hubby was shoveling manure from the trailer into a low area of the pasture that is alowly being filled in with compost... Ford either became enamored with the truck hitch or thought he was more nimble than he really is...
IMG_20180706_190953558.jpg

He's filling in at least, and if he continues to respect my fencing, I'm ok with keeping him intact until he is big enough to butcher (although hubby is very concerned that the testosterone of a bull will taint the meat).

Thanks everyone for all the input! He's definitely been a learning experience for which I am grateful. It will suck loading him up and hauling him to the butcher, but all life ends and he'll end his having been spoiled and well loved for many montha rather than tossed out in the pasture to starve, dehydrate, and die a horrible death. I bet back and chin scratches now make him taste even better later!
 

Baymule

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I love that picture! Trucks are meant to be worked...…. beauty contests are nice, but cows (and bulls obviously) don't care how pretty a truck is/was...…. :lol:
 

IstaItan

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Lol the truck works every day, he makes his living with it. I think he was offended at the thought of the calf violating his poor truck honestly, but I was laughing too hard to discuss it. And yes, a happy bull is bound to be more tasty...it certainly worked on my first hog!
 
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