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New To Cows - QUESTIONS!!

Discussion in 'Everything Else Cattle' started by skeleroo, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. Jun 13, 2018
    skeleroo

    skeleroo Exploring the pasture

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    This past year my husband and I bought ten-ish acres and a really old farmhouse and we have slowly been settling in. Now that the land is fenced in properly and we've got working gates (!!!!) I'm ready to take the dive into the wonderful world of cattle.

    We want cows for meat. I'd like to breed them through AI, raise babies, and then... well... eat them.

    I've been doing a bit of research and I think I'd really like to raise brangus. Does anyone have opinions on these cattle? There is someone local-ish who has brangus heifer calves for sale for $350. I honestly don't know how much these calves sell for but I feel like that might be a good price? Would I be over paying? Is it a great deal? I have no idea. According to the seller the calves are weaned, wormed, and vaccinated. I also have a very good large animal vet who comes to our place (he takes care of the sheep) so I'd have him check the calves out if/when we got them.

    Assuming I get the calves do I just let them go do their thing? Do I need to bring them in at night? Do you need to feed them or will grazing suffice? I've got fresh water available and a small pond for them. A fair amount of shade trees. Lots and lots of grass. We live in central Florida, if that helps.

    Anything else I need to know? I'd really love advice from people who are in the thick of it!

    Thank you!
     
    RollingAcres likes this.
  2. Jun 13, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Brangus is a great breed and good choice for central Florida.
    If they truly ARE weaned, (and vaccinated) and are of weaning AGE & WEIGHT, and otherwise in good health, then $350 ea is a pretty fair price imo, but that's based on what I have seen 6 mo old, light weight Brangus heifers sold for here and the opinion is worth exactly what ya paid for it.

    However.. You said you wanted them for 'meat'.
    I think you might look for a steer or 2..or get one heifer and one steer, IF you have no intentions of breeding the heifers and are just going to have them slaughtered anyway.

    Now that I think about it a bit...$350 for true Brangus heifers of weaning age and weight sounds suspicious.

    Brangus 4 day old bottle calves are bringing that much here.
    Go look at them or find out how old they are and how much they weigh.
     
    RollingAcres likes this.
  3. Jun 13, 2018
    skeleroo

    skeleroo Exploring the pasture

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    They are claiming they have several different breeds of calves available from between $350 to $450. It's a several hour drive and I'm not able to do go there, but they do have photos!

    View attachment 49334
    View attachment 49333

    I was thinking of getting a few heifers and a steer.
     
  4. Jun 13, 2018
    farmerjan

    farmerjan True BYH Addict

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    Welcome to BYH. I am in Va but have been in Fl several times and seen some of the cattle there. Brangus are good for heat tolerance, with the brahma influence, and the angus will add pounds and meat.
    Lots of things. Since you have a large animal vet, ask his opinion. That said, how big/old are these heifers? $350 is a fair price in relation to what we have up here comparatively, being weaned, wormed, vaccinated. I would assume they are in the 5-7 month old range which is about the normal weaning range. Everyone does it a little differently but that is a good average. They ought to weigh 3-500 lbs. It would be wise to supplement them with a little grain so that the growth is good. Since you have sheep, you must feed the lambs some after they are weaned so that they will continue to grow and not get stunted. In the wild, those calves would still be on their momma's, and get that little extra from the milk while grazing etc, until they are closer to a year old. We wean in the 5-8 month old range, when it works into our schedule, the weather, etc. We supplement our heifers until they are about 14-16 months and go to pasture for the summer. You will have different "seasons" than we do as far as growing/available grass, etc.. Plus, feeding a little grain daily will get them tamer, used to you and coming when you call, so that you are not "chasing them" to get them caught up when you need them.
    You will have to have some sort of a working catch pen. They could need doctoring and they will need a head catch/chute of some kind where they can be contained. For your safety and theirs. A sick or hurt animal cannot be reasoned with. Plus you are talking AI, a containment/chute is a requirement.

    Have you thought about getting a couple of bred cows? Starting with an experienced cow that knows what she is doing to have a calf is alot better than starting with a heifer. There are alot of unseen possible difficulties with a heifer having her first calf than a cow that has "been there/done that". Not saying you will have problems...but a heifer is more likely to have a problem and a first time person may not know what to do/ or how soon to intervene/help. One of you should at least know what's going on the first time around....

    Talk to an extension agent at your county ag dept. Maybe find a cow sale or two to go watch, just get some general feeling of what is what.
    Is this place that is "local-ish" a farm that breeds cattle? Maybe talk honestly to them. See if they maybe have an older couple of cows ( at least 2 for the herd instinct and company) that might be available bred that you could start with. Again, talk to you vet if you like and trust their opinion.
     
  5. Jun 13, 2018
    farmerjan

    farmerjan True BYH Addict

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    After reading Greybeards post, I am thinking that maybe they are a little cheap but I don't know the markets there. Also, he has a point. Why not start with a couple of steers. Get the feel for having some cattle without worrying about raising some calves right off. Get you feet wet with some of the things that go into raising/having cattle. Get used to working around them, then get a heifer or 2 and a steer or two so you get some beef while the heifers are growing.
     
  6. Jun 13, 2018
    skeleroo

    skeleroo Exploring the pasture

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    Thank you for your replies, they are very informative!

    My husband and I were originally talking about getting a few steers. I had settled on one steer and two heifers (so that we could raise them together and eat the one when it was about time to breed the others).

    We do have a cattle chute and a few decent corrals. The land we own had been used as a small hobby farm for cows but it went into foreclosure and they had let everything go into disrepair. But the bones of the place were still good and we've done a lot of fixing up.

    I had thought about getting bred cows. My thoughts were that calves would be a bit more manageable and I'd have time to learn from my mistakes before it was "baby time." But maybe I'm thinking about things backwards?

    I'm not sure if the pictures uploaded correctly. I can't look at them so I'm assuming no one else can, either. Maybe if I post links?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  7. Jun 13, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    The first pics result in an error but the 2nd set worked. They do look to be of weaning age tho a bit thin and I have doubts as to whether they have been dewormed...depending which 2 calves they are.
    A link to the ad itself might be helpful.
    If you put a set of brackets around your hot links, with the appropriate code inside the brackets, the picture will show up. The code for images is 'img'


    ub code.jpg

    [​IMG]
    It may be tho, that the images are too large for BYH software to accept. There is a max size of 1500 pixels..it shows up in my reply box but not in the reply once posted.

    Looks like he has a hodge podge herd there.. I would probably give the asking price for the 2 Angus/Brangus looking calves without qualms, tho I would have to see them in person before making the decision. I would want for sure, to see them walking around to make sure they had a good set of legs and hooves under them.

    Some of the bunch look wormy to me for Central Fla calves this time of year..
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  8. Jun 13, 2018
    skeleroo

    skeleroo Exploring the pasture

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  9. Jun 13, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  10. Jun 13, 2018
    skeleroo

    skeleroo Exploring the pasture

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    What am I looking for when I look at calves?