How do you Raise your Cattle?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by odieclark, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Grass fed only on pasture

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Grass with hay brought in

    100.0%
  3. Silage added

    33.3%
  4. Start with grain

    33.3%
  5. End with grain

    33.3%
  6. Mineral lick tubs-any suggestions?

    66.7%
  7. Protein lick tubs

    33.3%
  8. Loose free choice minerals/ please specify if possible

    66.7%
  9. Other feed, minerals offered-please comment

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. odieclark

    odieclark Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2016
    What Breed of Cattle do you Raise?

    We are raising a mixed batch of mixed breed beef cattle that we purchased from an individual who is no longer going to be raising beef cattle any longer. He had a mixed group of heifers, cows, and a few bull calfs.

    We have been raising them on mainly pasture and grass bales brought in. We are attempting to raise them naturally, on pasture, and primarily have been doing so using organic practices. However, we do not have certification for organics at this time.

    We are hoping to learn some of the following:

    1.) What Breed of Cattle do you Raise?

    2.) Does anyone raise their beef cattle on grass only? And/or what else?

    3.) Can you tell us how they grow on the method you use to feed and raise them?

    4.) What age is best to harvest them at?

    5.) What is their weight gain like? How big should they be to be processed?

    6.) What is your live weight to hanging weights, and then actual meat that you get back from the processor?

    7.) What else do you offer them for feed/if anything/and when?

    8.) What type of minerals do you offer? Free choice loose minerals, lick tubs, salt licks, selenium blocks, worming blocks, protein tubs?

    Anything else that is helpful that you have learned to share?
     
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  2. Jessica84

    Jessica84 Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    California
    First a huge congrats!!!
    Ok let’s see
    1. We run black angus bulls, majority of the cows are also commercial black angus with some other breeds thrown in lol
    2. Mostly grass.......as much grass as we can do! But I live in California where it does not rain all year long there for no free grass all year long. During the summer they are moved to the mountains where we have a lease with the forest service and they are able to graze and then brought down in the fall. At that point the grass is dead. We then start to offer them something that is called liquid feed.......basically like protein tubs but it’s a liquid. It goes into a container and it has a wheel that they lick that turns it and they lick it off and it goes down and picks up more. When grass gets short or, like right there is no water but where the troughs are and they can’t go way out to graze we feed hay. We will do this till we get water and grass. Hay? Basically all kinds. Right now they are getting half alfalfa half rye hay. We have fed oat, wheat basically everything. We don’t feed grass hay usually. We grow our own hay and grass seed is just about as much as Hay.
    3. Over all they all do decent, of course when things are green that’s when we have bubble butts even with a calf on the side, and tubby calfs but they are pretty decent on Hay too.......grass for sure is the better choice!
    4. We usually butcher ours at a year- two years old. We try and do it when they come out of the mountains. Meat is tinder and the weather is cool so won’t start to rot when we butcher. We have had some we kept back a year because we didn’t need the meat yet or had to butcher something else but usually they are not much older then a year.
    5. No clue we don’t weigh them but I’m going to guess on live weight being 1,100ish pounds usually. We also don’t weight when we cut it up and freeze.
    6. Same as 5 lol
    7. And 8. Other then what I mentioned salt licks, EVERY SALT LICK we can get, we have white, selenium, cobalt, iodized, trace mineral........drawing a blank I think that’s all. We keep it all out 24/7. We played with loose minerals and they won’t touch it but we also still kept the blocks out but still you can’t beat 50# for $10 compared to 50# for $20 when you are running 200+ pair. And they do just fine on it. Might be lacking some copper which I’ve been thinking of adding a little copper sulfate to their water, and little I mean a handful in their huge water trough.
     
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  3. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2014
    SouthCentralKY, USA
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  4. Jessica84

    Jessica84 Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    California
    They really were!!
    Sorry had to go to the school to get kids.......things to add. Things to add: we buy registered angus bulls that have EPDs, we buy ones that not only are calving ease (low birth weight) but also growth bulls which means they will throw a calf that will gain very well! So although yes feed and management is very important but so is genetics. We have had the same program since my grandpa but started to buy bulls with these EPDs, oh maybe 20 years ago now, and that has been a huge turning point!
    Also to add cows are easier then Goats lol if your doing good with Goats you will do awesome with cows (kinda joking not really lol)
     
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  5. Goat_Scout

    Goat_Scout Well-Known Member

    832
    Mar 23, 2017
    Louisiana
    1. We have many different breeds (we love diversity). Our milk cows are Violet (Dutch Belted), Sasha (Jersey/Normande), Candy (Simmental/Brown Swiss), Hershey (Guernsey/Murray Grey) and Belle (Jersey/Guernsey). The heifers include Sojourner (Red Brahman), Gertrude (Dutch Belted/Hereford), Lily (Jersey/Normande/Red Angus), Tallulah (Brown Swiss/Simmental/Gelbvieh) & Cinnamon (Guernsey/Murray Grey). We also have three steers out of Belle and Violet (one is Belle's older calf from last year). We have cows for milk and beef. The reason why we have mostly dairy/beef crosses - as apposed to pure dairy - is because we want 100 percent grassfed cows. Belle is the only cow we have that SOMETIMES - not often - needs grain. Most of the heifers were born on our farm (as were the steers) and we are moving them up front soon - we want to start our own beef herd. They are all breeding age right now.

    2. All of our cattle are on grass (summer) and hay/rye grass (during the winter months). The calves are dam-raised on their mamas for 12-15 months (sometimes longer if need be) and they get fat and sassy. :) Once they are about 2 months old we separate them from their mamas 24/7, letting them nurse 1-2 times a day. We milk 3-5 times a week.
    One of my jobs is to halter train and tame the calves - in our situation if we have a wild/unmanageable cow they just don't fit in. We handle our cows daily.

    3. They grow very well (long-term nursing helps considerably!), but I admit that they would be bigger if we grained them. BUT, around here there is a good market for 100 percent grassfed beef, so we are happy. :)

    4. We butcher ours mainly around 15 months old. It's really a personal preference though, and it varies for us because we can't butcher until the calf's mama is dried off (2 months before calving). The youngest we ever butchered was 9 months old, but he was HUUUUGE (he was a Brown Swiss/Angus).

    5. I don't really know what the weight gain is. When processed, our steers are about as tall as their mothers although do not have as much depth because, well, they are still youngsters. ;) The hanging weight is usually 325 - 400-something pounds. But keep in mind that so far we've only had dairy or dairy cross steers, not full beef, so they are smaller...

    6. I have no clue what their live weights are either, but we are butchering George (20 month old Jersey/Guernsey steer) around Dec. 16, and I can tape weigh him and then tell you the hanging weight when butchered if you want. I am also ignorant of how many pounds we usually get compared to the hanging weight...

    7. Ours get loose minerals all the time if possible (even the calves love the minerals), and sometimes (not very often at all) a handful of alfalfa hay as a treat. We also use alfalfa pellets to get them in the trailer for butcher (they are tame and halter trained, but it's just easier).

    8. We've only ever had to deworm a cow once, so I can't really help you with that. But we get loose minerals from New Country Organics and TSC. There are one or two more but I don't remember them at the moment.
    http://www.newcountryorganics.com/s...ttle-mineral-certified-organic-50-lb-bag.html

    https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/purina-6-phosphorus-cattle-mineral-50-lb?cm_vc=-10005

    http://www.newcountryorganics.com/shop/redmond-ntm-salt-50-lb-bag.html
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  6. Goat_Scout

    Goat_Scout Well-Known Member

    832
    Mar 23, 2017
    Louisiana
    Sorry for such a long post before. :)

    I should also add that for the most part we rotationally graze our cows in the summer. We have 4 large fenced in (wood) pastures, and of course the "sacrifice pasture" - which is the pasture they are in every night.
    During the summer we bring the cows up front to one of the 4 pastures (in the winter they stay in the sacrifice pasture with hay, and when the rye comes in we start bringing 'em up front again). Inside one of the wood pastures we set up 9 electric paddocks where we rotate them - it usually takes 1-4 days for them to eat each paddock down, depending on how many cows we have in it at the time. Another of the wood fenced pastures has maybe 6 paddocks in it? They are bigger then the afore mentioned one though. The last two pastures are wide open for right now - we sometimes put the cows in them for a couple weeks at a time. One of those two open pastures we are planning on putting a bunch of paddocks in this summer for our beef gals - we are dreading doing it though. It takes a lot of work!
    Keep in mind, every single morning (when we have grass to take them to) we bring the cows up front to whatever pasture they're supposed to be in, and every evening we bring them back. That is one reason why we need them to be tame. ;)

    If you are interested in rotationally grazing your cattle (and want to set up electric fencing) I could take pictures of our pastures. FYI, we ordered all of the electric fencing from Premier 1 Supplies.
     
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  7. odieclark

    odieclark Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2016
    WOW! This is so Awesome!
    Thank you so much, I just know so little about the cattle and I intend to reread all of this info several times, now and likely will look back as we make adjustments and the seasons change!

    Today, they were all standing inside (two-3sided shelters) until the new bales came out! Aww,...the wind speed was gusting to 40+mph, temperatures around 25-30 degrees, it was so cold!!!
     
  8. Ranger1

    Ranger1 Active Member

    882
    Sep 1, 2014
    We raise Black Angus.
    They get grass and hay, no grain.
    We wean calves in December or so, cows calve again in March and April, and then they go to the pasture until next October or so. The weaned calves stay home and get a all you can eat of alfalfa hay to fatten up.
    We harvest at 18-20 months, usually.
    We’ve never weighed them before butchering so I honestly don’t know how much they gain and weigh.
    Again, we don’t weigh them live, but hanging weight is 300-400 per half.
     
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  9. Ranger1

    Ranger1 Active Member

    882
    Sep 1, 2014
    They don’t get anything else, except for a trace mineral with selenium block. One year we had a terrible crop of hay(the quality was terrible though we had a lot of it) so we feed a more available liquid mineral that worked pretty good.
     
  10. Ranger1

    Ranger1 Active Member

    882
    Sep 1, 2014
    Sorry for three posts- I can figure out how to edit in the app...

    Out in the pasture all summer, the cows don’t have shelter and do just fine. Cows are tough critters. Back home in the winter we have a pole barn, but the only times they use it are when it’s below zero and/windy, rainy, sleeting, etc. For the most part they just prefer to stay outside.
    If it gets real wet in the winter where you live, the cows are going to wreck your pastures and turn it all into mud, so I advise taking them off unless the soil is very firm.
     
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  11. Jessica84

    Jessica84 Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    California
    Ditto no shelter here as well.......which going from cows to Goats was a total WTH moment the first rain lol we have used the trailer, one of my kidding stalls, or even some tin up on the laneway for a sick animal but that is few and far between and usually it’s a bottle calf
     
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  12. Goat_Scout

    Goat_Scout Well-Known Member

    832
    Mar 23, 2017
    Louisiana
    I forgot to add that our cows don't really have shelter either (besides the woods, they have at least a little patch of wood in each pasture). They used to have a sturdy lean-to shelter (connected to the barn) in the sacrifice pasture, but it turns to mud after one night in it so they just have to brave the wind/rain. It rarely gets to be below zero where we live. And besides, I converted the lean-to into a place to put the goats when it rains hard, so the cows have no choice but to stay in rain. ;)
     
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  13. odieclark

    odieclark Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2016
    Haha great replies! They do and can tolerate the weather. Though have observed many times they go into the 3 sided structure! Seems the wind off the lake can be quite raw!

    I don’t know how to edit either so mistakes and continuations are understood Ranger1!

    The hanging weights of half a cow at 3-400 pounds sounds good I think. As hanging of 600-800 for a whole animal at one or one and a half years sounds pretty good

    Thinking hanging weights are about 1/2 if live weight? Not sure, each animal breed isn’t the same

    I am thinking our breeding bull has week genetics and might be reason for low gains we see? Part of it anyhow?
     
  14. Jessica84

    Jessica84 Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    California
    Well people put all their stock into genetics and some put it all in feed. I don’t think either is necessarily wrong.......to a point! Of course a calf that is on better feed or being grain fed is going to gain better then one that is not. Maybe even on that feed having crap genetics they would do better then better genetics on lower quality of feed. But if this is a business you want the fastest weight gain with as little input as possible. So who cares if the ‘junk’ genetics weigh in more at weaning or as a yearling, you have put in a LOT of money to get that weight..........make sense? If you are unhappy with the calf crop you have I say cull the bull and get the best you can afford. He will be half your herd! Even if the cows are not the best of the best they are still going to be 50% better with a good bull covering them.
     
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  15. odieclark

    odieclark Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2016
    Jessica. Your comments totally make sense! The bull went to the butcher. A better bull is out there for sure!

    SO Much to learn though!

    Grass and no grain, hmmm...