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Author Topic: Cattle for start-up livestock (plus)  (Read 1923 times)

graemeatwellbank

  • Joined Jun 2016
  • Blairgowrie
Cattle for start-up livestock (plus)
« on: July 15, 2016, 12:38:36 pm »
Following my first posting which I am pleased to say received a lot of kindly responses followed by a second which was equally positive in the responses received, I now feel ready to expand on the subject of livestock which you so realistically advised should be added gradually year on year.

I know it is good advice BUT Iím impatient. However maybe there is a way to appease you and I do value your experience and advice as I have witnessed by following various postings during this year.

Sheep are already present on my land as a local farmer uses the fields to keep some of his and I would only want sheep to be complimentary grazers following cattle which I can do by having him keep some (fewer) of his there. Anyway I donít like lamb even if my wife and son do! So I donít need to concern myself with sheep.

Cattle! Thereís the starting point as we all like beef and milk and cheese. Also the starting point as they are expensive and take a long time to Ďdeliver the goodiesí.
I originate from Argyll and grew up with Highlanders as my neighbours so Iíll specifically start with them (bring back childhood memories) but hairy milk isnít the best so I was also thinking of having a Jersey (or similar) as a house cow. Would they be good at living together?
I have a near neighbour who is a ďfieldsmanĒ with the Highland Cattle Society so I have an expert adviser at hand who has already offered to help me find a couple of suitable cattle, year-old heifers, and will help me through the steep learning curve.
So many more points that Iíll leave it at that for now so far as cows are concerned.

Cows being a long-term undertaking leads me to pigs being a short-term undertaking.
You get to eat them four months after you get them as weaners and during those four months, they prepare your veg plot for next year, a significant benefit as I would like to avoid machinery (strange talk from an engineer).

So contrary to your initial advice, I was hoping to get your favourable response to go forward with cows and pigs (plus chickens). No need to ask for your honest opinions as Iím sure that is all you ever give. Remember, I will not be a part-timer but be on the job all day every day.

Thank you.

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Cattle for start-up livestock (plus)
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2016, 12:57:51 pm »
Pigs great idea just please get the same sex .   Don't understand the highlander cattle bit , slow growing , difficult to handle with the horns and have a very dominant pecking order ( I keep them )    JERSEY OR  X  good idea milk easy to handle and  a calf or 2 for killing

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Cattle for start-up livestock (plus)
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2016, 01:04:40 pm »
Shetland cattle - we milk ours. Come and see them  :wave: :hugcow: :hugcow: :hugcow:

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Cattle for start-up livestock (plus)
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2016, 01:17:15 pm »
Where are you?  .... lots of us would welcome you to visit and see our cows/pigs and discuss pros and cons as we have experienced them
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

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landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Cattle for start-up livestock (plus)
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2016, 11:13:13 am »
Pigs great idea just please get the same sex .   Don't understand the highlander cattle bit , slow growing , difficult to handle with the horns and have a very dominant pecking order ( I keep them )    JERSEY OR  X  good idea milk easy to handle and  a calf or 2 for killing

Ref highland cattle - true what you say, but taken in context, not necessarily unsurmountable.
Slow growing -  yes, but kept on good pasture they will be fat in less than 30 months and their incredibly efficient digestive system means they don't need any concentrates to push them on. I fact, I've found concentrates are a waste of time. They do just as well on good forage and minerals. I actually got 2nd prize at our local Christmas fatstock with a 28 month old highland bull fed entirely on grass.

The horns don't necessarily make them difficult to handle as you can't help but see them and therefore keep clear of them. They are incredibly placid animals and I have never seen them use their horns in anger apart fom with each other.

Yes, they do have  a very dominant pecking order, but it's easy enough to understand and stand back while they're sorting it out.  Anyone keeping cattle should be aware of their behaviour. It's just as easy to be trodden on by a 600kg placid hereford cow that just happened to step back and not see you there, and didn't care anyway because with her weight she didn't need to look,  as it is is to get accidently knocked by a highland. You soon learn what your cattle are likely to do in any situation.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Cattle for start-up livestock (plus)
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2016, 12:24:51 pm »
I've no experience of Highland cattle but I do have Jersey house cows, which we run alongside our beef suckler herd (mainly Angus and Hereford crosses.)

The first thing I would say is that cattle which run together need to be similarly equipped in the headgear department, so personally I wouldn't mix Highlands and Jerseys, no.  I get that you have an emotional pull to Highlands, but if that's negotiable, I'd say get Shetlands - best of both worlds, and you don't need to mix two different types, have two feeding regimes, two housing regimes, two handling regimes.

If you've no experience, I'd say try to get an older cow that's used to being handled and milked, rather than having to learn everything at the same time she does!  Also, it can be tricky to get heifers in calf, unless you're thinking of borrowing a bull.  In addition, having an experienced cow will help to train the younger - so my ideal starter herd for you would be an in-calf heifer, plus a lactating cow and calf, the cow already used to being hand-milked.  I'm assuming you'll have each cow rear her own calf, if not then the experienced cow doesn't need a calf at foot.

The downside with Jerseys as house cows is the quantity.  Her own calf won't be able to drink all she produces, at least for the first few months, so you will have to milk every day, whether you need the milk or not.  If you got Shetlands, Dexters or Jersey crosses, their production would be lower, and if you didn't want to milk every day, the calf would be able to keep her comfortable.  If you don't mind milking every day, then your pigs will grow well with the additional excess milk and whey!

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

 

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