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Author Topic: Thinking about starting with cattle.  (Read 4581 times)

ThomasR

  • Joined Jun 2014
  • Peebles
Thinking about starting with cattle.
« on: September 28, 2015, 09:30:25 pm »
Hi
 I breed pedigree Hebridean sheep and am now looking for something a bit more and also something to keep the thistles in check. I would be wanting to get a steer and when it is old enough send it to slaughter. I do not want anything expensive but I would be looking for something that would be friendly and that I would not have to run from when he is having a bad day. I do not have any cattle equipment, would I need to buy some and if so what? I live in the Scottish borders so if anybody has any suggestions on where i could get one next year I would be grateful.

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2015, 09:47:45 pm »
If you want something inexpensive to keep your thistles in check, I would suggest a scythe. (They're best chopped down in July for maximum effect.) :innocent:
Cattle are not renowned for their ability to effectively control thistles.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2015, 09:54:14 pm by landroverroy »
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

Backinwellies

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  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
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Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2015, 07:14:32 am »
Cows don't eat thistles. They are herd animals so you need at least 2.
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Paulie

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2015, 09:37:10 am »
I finally had my animal health visit last last week and a crush wasn't optional !

Beeducked

  • Joined Jan 2012
Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2015, 09:47:49 am »
Goats do keep thistles down (in addition to the hedges!), are easy to handle but are also herd animals so you need 2 or more.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2015, 10:30:18 am »
I suggest reading Valerie Porter's book Caring for Cows as an easy-to-read starter.  If you plan on rearing for meat remember that the animal will be 12+ times the size of your Hebrideans when it's ready for slaughter so you do need a handling facility.  I never keep a herd or flock animal or bird as a single creature (so, basically, I never keep one of anything).  You could start by keeping dairy x beef cross heifer calves, buying at one week old and selling them at 8 months as potential suckler cows. They'd still need handling kit, though, and a decent sized trailer for taking them to the market.  You'd also need milk feeding and sterilising equipment, a hayrack and the vet to dehorn them if a horned breed.

Buffy the eggs layer

  • Joined Jun 2010
Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2015, 12:45:26 pm »
It's an awful lot of livestock to take on for a thistle Thomas R.  :eyelashes:


I had Dexters for a spell (cows and calves at foot) but found that they ate far more than people had advised me through the winter. They ate hay, carrots, apples, potatoes, foderbeet and majority of their barley straw bedding! And still they bellowed constantly. :-\ [size=78%]  [/size]


I had to buy a livestock trailer to transport them to the abattoir, a crush and weigh for any treatments and TB tests but also establish a handling system to get them in to it. Galvanised hay feeders and troughs were required too as well as a cow byre for winter shelter. Automatic double water feeder and I should have used barbed wire as they ruined my post and net fencing.


They chased the sheep, refused to let the rams eat and forced their way into the lamb creep. They poached the ground and smashed holes in the shelter. Any attempt to treat them with a pour on sent them into a blind panic and rounding them up was like herding cats.


Other than that they were great.....thats why I sold them all  :innocent:


I realise that I have a slightly jaded view but Landrover Roy keeps a variety of breeds from Highlands to Herefords and even she is recommending a scythe....... :thinking: ......makes you think dosent it?[/size][size=78%] [/size]

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2015, 05:27:33 pm »
 Couldn't have put it better Buffy. :thumbsup: 
The equipment needed costs far more initially than the animals themselves. A bit like getting a 2 hamster and then having to spend 20 on the cage. And at least the hamster doesn't then trash your house.
However, if  effortless thistle control is still high on your wish list, I can thoroughly recommend donkeys. :idea:
 
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

ThomasR

  • Joined Jun 2014
  • Peebles
Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2015, 07:44:44 pm »
Anybody know anything about donkeys then?

Buffy the eggs layer

  • Joined Jun 2010
Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2015, 08:07:11 pm »
Landrover Roy's the donkey specialist.


     what do you fancy, miniature, giant, french..........one of each?

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2015, 08:46:55 pm »
Donkeys are not waterproof so need to be sheltered from heavy rain.  They are herd animals so you need more than one...

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2015, 08:48:31 pm »
They LOVE thistles!!! :roflanim:

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
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Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2015, 09:32:51 pm »
2nd a Scythe

ThomasR

  • Joined Jun 2014
  • Peebles
Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2015, 09:37:11 pm »
I would be looking for something that would take care of the thistles them selves over a period of time so a scythe is a no as I do not have the time to do it. This year they got so high they where taller than me! I got somebody into top them this year but was looking for an animal to do it. Sounds like I want goats or donkeys, can they be run with sheep?

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Thinking about starting with cattle.
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2015, 09:56:06 pm »
Anybody know anything about donkeys then?
Scroll down to the  ponies/horses section and there is at present a discussion on donkeys. 
Both goats and donkeys will kill trees and need a shelter. However, unlike goats, donkeys do not share the same worms as sheep and so each will hoover up the worms of the other and reduce the worm burden of your pasture.
Having kept both goats and donkeys, I would say that donkeys are better at thistle eradication. We have 2 fields in particular where we sprayed the thistles for a couple of years and they still came back. Since grazing the donkeys on there, the thistles have gone completely.
Goats normally get on ok with sheep and all my donkeys graze with them quite happily. But I know some donkeys have been known to chase and bully sheep. I think this is more common with geldings and jacks. My jennies, in particular, are quite maternal towards the lambs, but you would need to watch them when they were introduced. 
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 10:01:59 pm by landroverroy »
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

 

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