General Cow Questions

farmerjan

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@Grant has the right situation. Smaller size for their own use and a market for a calf or 2. That is where the smaller size breeds works good. It works for me with the jerseys as they usually hit 800- 1,000 live weight, so about 250-350 lbs total meat in the freezer. And the jerseys are a by product of my breedings with the occasional bull calf, so it works. Like he said, being careful on the original stock, especially if it is in an area where the smaller and mini's are not as common to find.
 

misfitmorgan

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We got two Holstein bull calves from the auctions, they are already quite big and have another full year of growing before butcher. I knew how big Holsteins were my grandparents had a 100 head dairy farm but I was never looking at them in terms of beef before. Now with only myself and DH I'm trying to work on how we will possibly eat or store that much beef. I do know we are only going to get around 50% of hang weight back as meat but thats still what 1,000lbs for both.
I'm still highly interested in getting either a smaller or mini dual purpose cow. Good meat ratio and some milk. They would give us a reasonable amount of meat for 2 people, take less of our small pasture and eat less hay in winter since we have to feed hay for 6+ months of the year.

Highlands are pretty common so I was looking at those or belted galloway mini's. The smaller size would also make me more comfortable, DH wants a guernsey. Guernsey are a fine cow but big

I would say for sure to the OP research and budget hay prices where ever you are looking to move. No you can not make hay off 10 acres of pasture while having a few cows, sheep and goats all on it. So that's either pay for more land and buy hay equipment which is insanely costly like 100k+ without counting land cost/rent or figure out cost of local hay and how much hay you will need for all livestock eating hay. Figure on 7months worth plus 10% overage for all animals that eat hay, so goats, sheep, horses, cows, pigs, etc. Then take that number times whatever hay is in the area you think you wanna move to, then add 25% to that cost. If you can still afford all that with all other grain, medications, fencing, etc.....go for it.
If not, consider a warmer climate with a shorter winter season then do all that math again. The 25% overage is because hay will easily go up in price with the weather, some years hay is $2.50/bale here, I have seen it at $7/bale and thats all first cute smaller squares. Small rounds are $35 on a normal year, on a bad year I've seen them at $80. Just make sure you have a few miles or wiggle room in your budget or a back up plan.
One of the worse things about living in the north is you have no ideas how long "winter" will be, this year we had pasture until november 25th and then some carryover for another week, so we started feeding hay at the beginning of december. There have been years we have started feeding hay in mid october and didnt get to stop until mid-may. If your hay is well stored keeping a small amount for feeding first thing in the fall is not a problem. Better to much always then not enough just once.
 

HornyToadAcres

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We are buying a mid-size Jersey calf. Where I live they are not common, in fact, dairy cows are not common period so I was looking at considerable transport cost for a cow unseen when I found breeders of some repute 80 miles away. We will not talk about what I am paying for her, its embarrassing. We have access to 3 acres of not great pasture so I will be feeding her. She is weaned. I know I will be feeding her hay but what else will she need?

We are building side by side pens for her and a pig. Yes, I hear the real farmers laughing at our attempt to provide company. If you think that's funny, you should see the mess pig is currently making in my chicken pen since we jumped the gun as per usual and got pig first.

We had a choice between her and a 3/4 Jersey, 1/4 Hereford mix. That may have been a better cow for us but my daughter and I gave in to the sheer beauty of the Jersey.

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HornyToadAcres

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@HornyToadAcres how is your heifer and pig? Not laughing at the friendship, animals get lonely.

Update on our progress! After much searching and debate, we decided that what we really needed is a barn. I am very excited. Even if it is "just" a giant carport structure with the sides closed in. It is supposed to be here in 4-6 weeks and I got in just before they added back a 20% surcharge. It was a hard sell for hubby because he could have built one cheaper but when the oilfield is up, he needs to be out there working. He is currently leveling the ground and we will build it up with some more chipbase so it is a little higher than the surroundings.

We moved Pig to make way and made her pen bigger. My daughter and I did that ourselves and were quite proud. Baby Girl Jersey is still at the ranch. The folks there have been very accommodating and I offered to pay board past the 30 days we had originally agreed on. I am looking into getting insurance on her since she is a sizable investment and I think it will be $200/year covering pretty much all causes of mortality and also theft (you never know).

I discovered wild amaranth on our property and the chickens and pigs have been enjoying that. Pig seems to be doing okay by herself for now. She squeals for peanuts whenever someone is passing by. Hubby had to make a trip to Florida cuz parents sick and we grew up in one of the peanut growing capitals of the US so he brought me 100 lbs of raw peanuts back for half the price I was paying.
 

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