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How now mini cow

Discussion in 'Breeds & Breeding - Cattle' started by Skiesblue, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. Sep 22, 2018
    Skiesblue

    Skiesblue Loving the herd life

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    I’m interested in miniature cattle (beef). There seems to be a bigger market than in years past. Any experiences or suggestions?
    I have adequate land and a little experience with bottle calves.
     
  2. Sep 23, 2018
    farmerjan

    farmerjan True BYH Addict

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    Sorry, I can't help you with the mini cattle. I did have a lowline angus cow that was a fantastic mother and raised some very nice calves that were nearly as big as her when weaned. But she was bred to a conventional angus bull. We called her shorty, and I got lots of teasing from even the vet when we preg checked... but she was a good cow and I have a couple of her daughters and granddaughters in the beef herd.
    I do know from people I have talked to over the years, there is some fertility problems, and also calving issues with first calf heifers especially. The big thing is they are suited only to a very small percentage of farmers... more along the homesteader type with smaller acreage. That's not all bad, but keep in mind that unless you are able to sell any bull/steer calves for meat, they will not bring you diddly squat at a stockyard sale barn if you have to get rid of them.
    It's bad enough for jersey steers and some of the dairy cross-beef animals being discounted.
     
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  3. Sep 23, 2018
    Skiesblue

    Skiesblue Loving the herd life

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    Thanks. I’m in an area where I believe I’ll have a good market. People want ag exempt but need something easier to fence and tend than sheep or goats. Horses don’t count as ag now so I’m looking at options.
     
  4. Sep 24, 2018
    farmerjan

    farmerjan True BYH Addict

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    Horses don't count as ag here unless you file all the forms and prove you are a business. A friend of ours does that, he trains driving horses and attends shows all over the country and has competed overseas. But for the person with a family "backyard" pleasure horse, no.
    If you are in an area that they are popular, then hope it works. Cattle are easier to fence than goats and sheep, but I would still be concerned about fencing if the acreages are smaller...BECAUSE... it usually means a more dense human population. That can get into issues of animals getting loose, causing damage. A good fence that is woven type wire (also called field fence some places) is preferable for any and all perimeter fencing in areas where the typical acreage is 3-10 acre sizes. It is not only to keep the animals home, but to keep the unwanted PEOPLE ; ie: KIDS; out. Any type of electric can also be a problem; heard of someone who's kids got tangled up in some electric and they sued the owner for the emotional TRAUMA the kids suffered....FOR PETE"S SAKE. The landowners won, but the time and trouble ...... Electric netting is a good way to keep things in and do rotational grazing..... but an animal that is scared or mad will go through it. A good tight woven wire fence is more of a physical barrier in those situations. NO FENCE will contain any/everything all the time. But it helps to have the best you can.
    Another thing to consider is if you ever do want to change or add different species, like sheep or goats, the fencing is already in place....and you can keep LGD's in a good tight fence.

    Don't get me wrong, we have woven wire on some places and anything that we do fencing for that we have at least a 10 year lease on, we put up woven wire. But we have a few places that has 6-8 strands high tensile, some electric some not. Cattle will learn that they can put their heads through it, and then pull back out, it is "springy" for that very reason, so that it can spring back from branches etc falling on it or cattle hitting it, but if not electricfied, they will learn to just go through it. I personally hate it as we have had trouble with coyotes running calves and have had 2 try to jump through in a panic, get their hooves caught and hung up and died before we found them the next day. Many farmers really like it. It is great for rough hilly, rocky terrain where posts may be hard to drive as you can get by with less and more infrequently spaced posts.
    We have 3-6 strand barbed wire fences some places, and they do a good job of keeping the cattle in. But most of these places do not have anything like a beautiful green lawn or hayfield right next to them to tempt them to want to get out. You need to consider what will be on the other side of the fence so that whatever you do put up, you will be as sure as possible of keeping in what you are trying to contain.
    One other thing, woven wire, properly put up will also keep out most all predators like coyotes and DOGS. It is not cheap....but once up, you are looking at 20-50 years of not having to worry about it unless a tree falls on it or a car runs through it if alongside a road. Run a strand of electrified barbed wire along the top and it will keep out people too. Post your signs and make sure your AGRICULTURAL PROPERTY INSURANCE will cover you. We have learned all these little things over the years.
     
  5. Sep 25, 2018
    Skiesblue

    Skiesblue Loving the herd life

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    Thanks everyone. The mini pandas and Galloways look interesting. We’re good on insurance after learning the hard way that insurance companies have shifty definitions. Our bottle calf is a couple of months away from freezer camp and I was was contemplating a downsized beef next time around even before I got a good natured shove for being tardy with his majesty’s feed. I don’t think I’m alone. Do the smaller breeds have temperament issues?
     
  6. Sep 25, 2018
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses True BYH Addict

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    Any of them can have temperament issues. Cow with calves, bulls, etc can be hormonally stressed even if not normally so.

    The price of the "minis" can be way out of line. So find someone who knows they are just small and not "golden replicas". :D Some of the "always have been" smaller breeds are also dual purpose. So milk and meat.

    I've wanted a cow for a long, long time BUT don't want the cow patties, or huge amounts of milk. Yeah -- calves to use some and all that, helps. :D =D I would love to lease a cow for 2 months to get myself OVER this. My goats give me more milk than I need, it's delish, they are smaller than a cow, eat less, I have a cream separator. I need to chill!

    Good luck with your new interest.
     
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  7. Sep 25, 2018
    farmerjan

    farmerjan True BYH Addict

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    Like @Mini Horses said....The smaller breeds have just as many temperament issues as any larger breed. One of the problems with the mini breeds is everyone thinks they are sooooo cute.... and they don't learn their place. An adult mini is still going to weigh in the 5-800 lb range. They can still really hurt you if not taught as a baby that you are boss. Too many people tolerate them pushing or shoving when they are small, then when they are bigger, it is too late to establish that you are the "boss cow". And pushing against their head is really bad as that is how they establish their pecking order in the cow herd. Anything we do with our cattle, is done from the side...side of their neck, shoulders etc. I have 1800 lb bulls that will love an ear scratch, and they get it ...FROM THE SIDE of their neck not from the front.
    Just because they are smaller, does not mean they are less "an animal", with all the normal hormones, attitudes etc.
    I have a 3 month old heifer on my nurse cow that is a royal pain; she just likes to get in front of you, pushes, and is coming close to being on the sell list because she is TOO MUCH "there". She isn't mean, has never really tried to shove me, but she doesn't seem to get the hard slaps to the side of her head and face as meaning to respect "my space". Won't get out of my way.... it is annoying. All the rest quickly move when I just raise my voice, but not her...
     
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  8. Sep 26, 2018
    Reindeermama

    Reindeermama Overrun with beasties

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    We really like our Dexters. Now as to temperament, they are really nice, but there was one we didn't buy, because I didn't care for her temperament. I am sure there can problems with smaller cattle. I would always be careful, and aware of what they are doing. They can be expensive. I have seen heifers anywhere from $1200. to $2500. Bulls run about the same, but can cost more. We happened to find a man that was getting rid of his herd, and paid only $1200. for a pregnant cow, and $800. each for 2 heifers. The baby was a heifer. We are happy. The pregnant cow(Pumpkin) we had her for about 2 months before she had her calf(Cinnamon) allowed us to check out her baby, and gave us no problems while we did so. We did work getting them used to us. I know they have been eating weeds out of pasture as well as grass. The man we bought them from said they are good to eat also, and can be good milkers.
     
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  9. Sep 26, 2018
    Reindeermama

    Reindeermama Overrun with beasties

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    I think they are probably a niche market here. We bought them because we wanted small cattle to butcher for our family, and because we only have 28 acres. I have also seen some people selling them as quarters or halves to smaller families(butchered). We got polled, but the horned ones tend to be cheaper. I just don't want horns. The price also depends on if they are registered or not.
     
  10. Oct 16, 2018
    Skiesblue

    Skiesblue Loving the herd life

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    Sorta the Shetland pony deal. I’m small so I’m going to throw my weight around. A. Lot. Thanks for your input.