Newborn calf!!

farmerjan

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Glad that you did not take what I said as criticism because it was not meant that way. I started out with a couple calves, wanted to have maybe a dozen... raise a few for beef and such. We have gone WAAAAYYYY beyond that, but I get the smaller/homesteader mindset because at heart I am a "smaller/homesteader" type. That said, I used to try to " save" everything, and nursed many a calf and then lost my azz when selling them because I had WAY too much in them. Or they died. I raised bottle calves for years and did decent....and it was a real learning curve to get to where you have to also be a "businessman" when it comes to selling whether it is is one or 100.... You can't let a buyer walk all over you or string you along....
Hobby or not, you can't let them bleed you dry or bankrupt you. Breaking even is not expecting too much, a little profit to pay for some/all feed is really nice. The pleasure of having them is priceless....
The one good thing, is you can always eat them if they don't do as they should....

By the way, how is the bull doing? Will you be able to get him back from the people who bought him so that you can breed your girls for next years calves?
 

Kettle Creek Cattle

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Glad that you did not take what I said as criticism because it was not meant that way. I started out with a couple calves, wanted to have maybe a dozen... raise a few for beef and such. We have gone WAAAAYYYY beyond that, but I get the smaller/homesteader mindset because at heart I am a "smaller/homesteader" type. That said, I used to try to " save" everything, and nursed many a calf and then lost my azz when selling them because I had WAY too much in them. Or they died. I raised bottle calves for years and did decent....and it was a real learning curve to get to where you have to also be a "businessman" when it comes to selling whether it is is one or 100.... You can't let a buyer walk all over you or string you along....
Hobby or not, you can't let them bleed you dry or bankrupt you. Breaking even is not expecting too much, a little profit to pay for some/all feed is really nice. The pleasure of having them is priceless....
The one good thing, is you can always eat them if they don't do as they should....

By the way, how is the bull doing? Will you be able to get him back from the people who bought him so that you can breed your girls for next years calves?
I'm a cop...I eat criticism for breakfast! :lol:
 

Baymule

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We stop cops and give them police knives. My husband loves to do that. We tell them thanks for the job they do, sometimes we pray for them. The look of disbelief, then gratitude that someone cares is a beautiful thing.

I can’t hand you a knife, but I can say, “Thank you for the job you do. I appreciate you and pray that you return safely to your family after the end of your shift. Thank you for protecting us and doing what few will do.”
 

Kettle Creek Cattle

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We stop cops and give them police knives. My husband loves to do that. We tell them thanks for the job they do, sometimes we pray for them. The look of disbelief, then gratitude that someone cares is a beautiful thing.

I can’t hand you a knife, but I can say, “Thank you for the job you do. I appreciate you and pray that you return safely to your family after the end of your shift. Thank you for protecting us and doing what few will do.”
Baymule, your comment is very much appreciated! Nobody takes a job for a pat on the back or show of appreciation. It's people like you that give cops who are on the fence (or worse) about staying in the profession that extra encouragement to weather the storm and continue on IN A PROFESSIONAL MANNER as 99% of cops do, and realize that there are people who truly appreciate what we are here for and for that I thank you!! I've been doing this job for over 15 years and this is the worse its ever been in my career. Thanks again for your kind words and you and your husband's kind gestures, they do not go unnoticed!
 

River Buffaloes

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The problem I'm having now is the orphan calf that mama raised last year started nursing off of her again
That's what I don't like about cows, buffaloes will never do that. One of my buffaloes is three and half years old and a mama herself, but still she tries to nurse of her mom lol :lol:. It's very funny to watch her very cautiously approaching her mom when she is distracted and trying to take a teat in her mouth. She is trying to do that since her mom weaned her at 8-9 months old. She instantly gets a kick then she acts like nothing happened at all.

Cows on the other hand are a totally different story. They will not only continue nursing their calves forever, they will also nurse someone else calf. Doesn't matter if the calf is of a different species. My cows would nurse the buffalo calves.
 

Ridgetop

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Farmerjan is right - taking animals to the stockyard auction is a good way to sell off animals that you don't want, don't need, aren't "thrifty", etc.

Even a "hobby farm" needs to try to break even. I have never broken even on livestock sales, but that is because we are in southern CA and have no pasture. We have to feed alfalfa year round. I used to show a profit on the goat milk when we had our dairy herd ON PAPER ONLY because we can't sell milk here unless we have an inspected Grade A dairy facility. We used the many, many gallons of milk to feed bull Holstein calves then ran them through the cattle barn at 2 months old. One year when we got constant rains for 4 months and had plenty of forage - weeds, brush, not good grass, but edible stuff for my Dorper sheep - we did well and bought no hay for 4 months! That was a fluke year though.

One mistake I made was in keeping the lambs too long trying to find freezer lamb buyers, and feeding them to 100+ lbs. This year I took the lambs to the sale yard at 50-60 lbs., just at weaning (3 months), and got the same price for each lamb as I was selling finished lambs for! Not keeping lambs to 100+ lbs again. I will finish a few spring lambs off for our freezer, but all my fall and winter lambs will be going to the auction. This year I am planning my breedings to take advantage of the spring market prices. Once we are in Texas with pasture I will probably break even but the first few years will show a loss because we will have to put all the money into the infrastructure.

So much more pleasant to drop the sheep off at the sale yard and collect the check than to try to convince someone that my price for a finished lamb is reasonable. My butcher says I am $100 under market price. He also says I finish my lambs. beautifully and my carcasses grade the highest. Arguing with or trying to find buyers is a real pain. And Craigslist here in this area won't let you advertise for meat purposes.
 

Kettle Creek Cattle

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Farmerjan is right - taking animals to the stockyard auction is a good way to sell off animals that you don't want, don't need, aren't "thrifty", etc.

Even a "hobby farm" needs to try to break even. I have never broken even on livestock sales, but that is because we are in southern CA and have no pasture. We have to feed alfalfa year round. I used to show a profit on the goat milk when we had our dairy herd ON PAPER ONLY because we can't sell milk here unless we have an inspected Grade A dairy facility. We used the many, many gallons of milk to feed bull Holstein calves then ran them through the cattle barn at 2 months old. One year when we got constant rains for 4 months and had plenty of forage - weeds, brush, not good grass, but edible stuff for my Dorper sheep - we did well and bought no hay for 4 months! That was a fluke year though.

One mistake I made was in keeping the lambs too long trying to find freezer lamb buyers, and feeding them to 100+ lbs. This year I took the lambs to the sale yard at 50-60 lbs., just at weaning (3 months), and got the same price for each lamb as I was selling finished lambs for! Not keeping lambs to 100+ lbs again. I will finish a few spring lambs off for our freezer, but all my fall and winter lambs will be going to the auction. This year I am planning my breedings to take advantage of the spring market prices. Once we are in Texas with pasture I will probably break even but the first few years will show a loss because we will have to put all the money into the infrastructure.

So much more pleasant to drop the sheep off at the sale yard and collect the check than to try to convince someone that my price for a finished lamb is reasonable. My butcher says I am $100 under market price. He also says I finish my lambs. beautifully and my carcasses grade the highest. Arguing with or trying to find buyers is a real pain. And Craigslist here in this area won't let you advertise for meat purposes.
"Craigslist here in this area won't let you advertise for meat purposes."

Wow! That sounds like a California thing if I've ever heard one! Like no animals had to die for that meat in the supermarkets...smh.

I hear ya on it being a pain in the butt trying to line up meat buyers. I especially love it when someone who's been on the list all year suddenly backs out at the last minute, or says they didn't realize it would be that much (when they've committed to buying a half beef). Then you're scrambling to find another buyer.

Next year at this time I should have four calves. I think I'm gonna try raising them up to feeder size and selling them to see how I make out rather than finishing them. I also have this new problem...my wife and daughter watched this calf being born so the chances of them ever eating home grown beef are slim to none! I do all my own butchering and can usually get away with sending them on a shopping trip for the day on butcher day....well, not anymore.
 

Ridgetop

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I hear you! When you first tell them the price, they are "Great I want one". Then when it is time to pay for it, they didn't realize it wild cost so much! It is still the same price! And deliver to the butcher!

You will be better off selling as feeders than finishing them off. Check with the sale yard as to the best weight to bring the most money at the earliest age. If your family went eat home raised meat, maybe you could trade with a neighbor for a finished half beef.
 

Baymule

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@Ridgetop you and I have reached the same conclusion. Phooey on finding meat buyers, finishing out lambs (read that as FEEDING them) and trying to make people happy. To the auction barns we go! LOL LOL
 
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