Questions about raising bummer lambs

elevan

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babsbag

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The dairy owner that I bought my processing trailer from was ready to send home all his bull calves with me as he lost his outlet this year. He was only getting $4 for them so he would have happily given me all I wanted. Unfortunately I had no idea how to raise them and for once didn't jump in head first like I normally do.

He keeps all of his heifers so all of his calves get colostrum, no matter the sex. He has to milk them 8 times before they can go back into the milk string so he lets the calves nurse.

I think I have missed my chance though as far as having excess milk. This year I am literally throwing away about 6 gallons a day; I better not be doing that next year but this is still good information to know. Just wish I had known it sooner.
 

samssimonsays

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The dairy owner that I bought my processing trailer from was ready to send home all his bull calves with me as he lost his outlet this year. He was only getting $4 for them so he would have happily given me all I wanted. Unfortunately I had no idea how to raise them and for once didn't jump in head first like I normally do.

He keeps all of his heifers so all of his calves get colostrum, no matter the sex. He has to milk them 8 times before they can go back into the milk string so he lets the calves nurse.

I think I have missed my chance though as far as having excess milk. This year I am literally throwing away about 6 gallons a day; I better not be doing that next year but this is still good information to know. Just wish I had known it sooner.
I know people who started to raise feeder pigs on the excess milk as well :)
 

Ridgetop

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Can you contact the Jersey dairyman and still get some calves? Dairies calve all year. I know some people raise hogs on milk but you have to supply feed too which adds to your cost. We used to put 5 lbs. of rolled corn in a bucket and poured the morning milk on and let it soak all day, and ditto for the evening milk. We slopped our 2 hogs with that am and pm. They didn't win at fair because they had too much fat on them, but they sure were juicy and it spoiled us for pork from any other source! You will have to keep them longer and still buy pig feed since unlike the calves you can't just feed milk and waste hay. Calves will cost you almost nothing. Since the breeder lets them nurse you will get healthy bull calves and I think it could be a win-win for you. Also keep it in mind if you have goats on meds in future in your dairy since you can raise a calf on milk you would have to toss otherwise. If it is going to be raised for meat as a baby beef, not veal, feeding medicated milk would be ok since the slaughter date would be past the withdrawal time. It's getting late in the season and you will be breeding the goats soon, but since you milk all year, you might check to see if you could still pick up a bull calf or two. You won't be drying up until 2 months before kidding so might have enough milk to feed a couple calves for 2 -3 months. Beats dumping all that milk. We lost 2 groups of calves to e.coli one year, one after the other, and had to stop our calf operation until we could let the ground sterilize. We had to dump our excess milk for about 5 months and the waste of that good milk (10 gals daily) nearly killed me! My youngest used the mechanical separator and made ice cream every day all summer long but there was all that good skim going down the drain! I don't make cheese or maybe I could have used some of it that way. I used as much as I could cooking but even with our family of 6 drinking it . . . .
 

babsbag

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I never thought about asking him now, I am so used to my seasonal goats that I just figured he was done.

When I worked at a school I used to bring home about 20lbs a day of lunch room scraps for the pigs. Between milk, eggs, rotten fruit from a friends orchard, my garden, and the school those little piggies were pretty darn cheap to raise. And yummy.
 

Latestarter

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I have an elementary school about 2 blocks down from me... I really should go check w/their lunch room and see If I can have ready made pig feed...
 

Ridgetop

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Good idea but I like calves better. Quicker in and out and less sturdy fencing required for 2-3 mos calves. I like putting each one in a "calf hutch" individually for the first month. That way if one scours, you catch it quick. After a month they build muscle playing together in a larger arena.
If you already have the pig pens made, it might be the easier way to go.
 

babsbag

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@Latestarter I put out 5 gallon buckets and taped pictures of the pigs to it. Our school is very "green" so it was only natural for the kids to recycle their food for my pigs. I let them put in everything except fried chicken as I didn't want to worry about bones. The kids were great, sometimes a little too much. We caught a few taking milk and apples from the lunch line just for the pigs. :) Kids are so cute.

@Ridgetop The dairy uses the calf huts, not sure I can afford that. Did you keep the calves with the goats at all or did they have their own pens and pastures? Not sure about dealing with "cow patties" :sick
 

Ridgetop

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No, our friends that owned the dairy bought new state of the art calf hutches for their heifer calves and gave us some of their old wooden ones. We repaired them and doused them with bleach before and after putting a new calf in. They are just small boxes with slatted floors big enough for the calf to stand and turn around. The sides are horizontal slats that are open on the upper sides. They only stand about 4' tall. The "gate" is just 3 2 x 3's through a bracket. The front has a A bottle hanger and a calf pail support for a small amount of grain if you choose. I put little bits of hay in the pail. Mine had roofs because they were designed to be outside but if you have barn space or covered space you could just build small pens there. I used to have metal lambing jugs I got from Jeffers that could be taken apart and put back together when you needed them. Those would work. You could just also hinge plywood panels together so you could fold them up later or use them for the kids when you need them. You won't be raising calves during kidding season because you need all the milk for them. If your dairyman has some old ones that you could patch that ght be a good way to start out. You only need about 3 holes (The old wooden calf hutches were usually made to take 3 calves in one divided hutch) since you will be moving the calves into a corral at a month old. Depending on your milk supply you can bring in more calves then after disinfecting the hutches.
I only use them for the first 3 or 4 weeks of the calf's life so I can keep an eye on his poop. Scours will kill a calf in 24 hours so it is important to dose him with electrolytes and probiotics fast. I use paste ones for horses because if the calf is sick it immediately stops eating which means it won't take the electrolyte mix in a bottle. The paste is salty and the calf will drink a little to wash out the taste. If I have a calf with scours, I cut his milk half and half with water till it clears up. You have more trouble with veal since they are not getting any roughage. Since you will be getting calves that have had 24 hours of colostrum, yours will probably be fine. The ones you worry about are the ones that haven't gotten a feed from mom.
I didn't keep my calves with the goats because of the nasty cow patties. I also didn't want the older goats to pick on them, and the babies were too small. Even a Jersey bull calf can weigh 60 or more lbs at birth. The Holsteins we had were more like 80 lbs. In 2 months they should be approaching 150 to 200 depending on breed. That is when I took them to the auction. My calves were fat, healthy, sleek and shiny - they were also clean with no scours on their butts. I think that is why I got such good $$ for them. A lot of the feeder calves coming off pasture were dirty, with dull coats and mucky butts.
I don't know if you have children to help you - my 4 were assigned chores that included a lot of the milking and feeding, while I did all the straining, pasteurizing and milk storage work after the milk came up from the barn. I also got all the kid buckets ready then collected them and washed, etc. After the boys sold their herds, I was amazed at how much time I had spent pasteurizing and washing milk equipment. I pasteurized in the morning so the previous night's milk and the am milk took 3 pasteurizers (2 gal each) 3 times I had so much milk. With the calves I didn't have to pasteurize any more. Since you are going to have a commercial dairy, you can't use this trick but I put blue or green food color in the milk as it came out of the pasteurizer so it wouldn't get mistaken for the unpasteurized milk for the goats. If it was white it was for our table or needed to be pasteurized. I pasteurized after taking the kids to school so I would not have any pasteurized milk from feeding around while working with the fresh milk. With 5 of us working hard (6 on the weekends when DH was home) it was a lot of work and I credit all that work with the fact that none of my kids got into drugs, etc. or any other trouble. Also, every one of their employers in high school and now are amazed at their work ethic. They were not allowed to play till the work was done. If it was sloppy they had to redo it. It was usually done right the first time! LOL It was a real farm lifestyle!
I loooove the "adopt a pig" idea! What a great way to teach kids about farm animals.
 

goatgurl

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124.jpg this is mad calf, his mom was mad cow because she would go "mad" for the first 2 or 3 weeks of her new calf's life and try to run you over. at the age of 14 she gave birth to mad calf and never recovered so i ended up bottle raising him. got him from a neighbor. i was at ds#3 house and looked out the window to see him standing on her back deck to get out of the snow. we laughed to say the least. he's the guy in my freezer now. i let him run on the whole 60 acres with the goats after he was about 6 weeks old and just let him graze till he was about 18 months old. grass fed with just a tiny bit of grain now and then. tasty
 
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