Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Where to start?  (Read 4226 times)

thenovice

  • Joined Oct 2011
Where to start?
« on: February 13, 2012, 08:05:20 pm »
I have thouroughly enjoyed starting with the sheep (and all the troubles therein), the pigs have added some extra personality and humor, but the itch i have always wanted to scratch is keeping my own cattle. My parents used to visit an old lady who lived in a farm cottage, and on the way i used to look at the cows and calfs in the barn, and to this day i can still remember the sweet smell of the silage and the cows. sentimental i know, but i have 4 or 5 acres that can be used for the purpose so where to start is the question? Should i get a couple of steers, or a heifer with calf, what is better for the beginner? A locl farmer keeps some lovely sussex, which could suit me as they are medium sized and docile, and i have no barn so they would have to over winter outside with a field shelter. Any advice most welcome please  ???

Nina

  • Joined Sep 2010
  • North/Mid wales
Re: Where to start?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2012, 09:38:38 pm »
Go for it!!!  Cattle are great!

We have a few Devons, similar to the Sussex - And they're wintering outside with minimal feed/shelter...  Lovely animals, looking to take on more land so we can get more!

It depends what you want long term really - A couple of steers would be good if you were wanting to take on and finish them for the freezer or a boxed beef type scheme.  If you were wanting to look a bit longer term (though on 4 acres may struggle for space) you may think about a couple of in calf heifers, or a cow with calf at foot.  However, you'll have to consider getting back in calf again - AI, use of neighbours bull!

Make sure registered land for keeping cattle, herd number etc and know where you are for TB testing purposes.  If you get Sussex, you'll probably be ok without handling facilities, we TB test ours just pushed up behind a gate, very quiet and well handled.

Best bit is probably to talk with your neighbours with the Sussex - Maybe a couple of steers would be a good start for you to get to grips with them without a long term commitment - Glean as much advice you can from them.  Beware prices are quite keen at the moment for all ages of cattle!

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Where to start?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2012, 10:55:19 pm »
Our cows are pretty easy to keep (so far anyway). Like Nina, we just squeeze them behind a gate or tie them up.

We've got Shetlands. Nice small breed, some good info on the SCBA website now. Four or five acres might be a bit tight, depending on how good the grazing is and how dry the soil.

I would definitely recommend Shetlands - fabulous beef.

thenovice

  • Joined Oct 2011
Re: Where to start?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2012, 08:50:48 am »
Thankyou for the replies ladies, any advice is great. great vid by the way Rosemary, im very jealous!  :wave:

smudger

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • North Devon/ West Exmoor
Re: Where to start?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2012, 09:09:55 am »
I was going to start a similar post but will join in here....

So what's best for a newbie a heifer in calf or best to go with a cow in calf (on basis that they have calved before and more trouble free)? I am presuming its easier/best to get them in calf so no need to bother with AI for a year.  I was actually thinking that maybe one in calf and one youngster might be a cheaper into and only one cow to milk?

If not large enough to have own bull, is AI the only way to go?

And are there any cow handling courses anywhere?
Traditional and Rare breed livestock -  Golden Guernsey Goats, Blackmoor Flock Shetland and Lleyn Sheep, Pilgrim Geese and Norfolk Black Turkeys. Capallisky Irish Sport Horse Stud.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Where to start?
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2012, 09:38:14 am »
As with most animals, it's best to have at least two. A cow with calf at foot counts as two.

I suppose the ideal would be an in-calf cow with a bull calf at foot. You wouldn't have to bother with getting the cow in calf for a while, the cow would be an experienced mother and you'd be on the way to having your own beef.

Re AI, we tried it with limited success. This year we're hiring a bull. The Shetland Cattle Breeders Association is pretty good at arranging bull hire. Don't know about other breeds.

I love my cows, really do. They are so placid in comparison to sheep and ponies (even Ryelands and Highlands  ;D) Really looking forward to our first calves this summer and our own milk.

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Where to start?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2012, 10:12:21 am »
i note there is no comparison to pigs  rosemary ;) :farmer:

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Where to start?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2012, 11:38:58 am »
i note there is no comparison to pigs  rosemary ;) :farmer:

Our pigs are bonkers  ;D but prepared to be bribed with apple slices and bananas

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Where to start?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2012, 12:41:45 pm »
o they loved the fruit they got   slicing then you have to much time on your hands ;) :farmer:

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Where to start?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2012, 04:30:31 pm »
That's our "us" time  ;D

Rosieb

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Where to start?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2012, 03:30:04 pm »
I got my first cows just over 2 years ago, I have Dexter's they're great nice and easy to handle, small and friendly.
I started with 2 an old cow and a year old heifer, the heifer had her first calf last April and had no problems at all.

I bought 2 limousin cross calves last January they are lovely very tame but they were hand reared being only 6 week old when I bought them.
Then I got more Dexter cows last October in calf and with calf at foot the oldest cow (11 years) who has calved every year with no problems had her calf on Monday this week and ended up having C Section!!  So you never can tell if they'll be ok having the calf or not, the cow had a calf to the same bull last year he's not a big bull at all but this year's calf was very big!

I hire a bull and have not had any problems he is nice and secure though and only here for about 2 month.

 

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