The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Cattle => Shetland Cattle => Topic started by: Backinwellies on May 27, 2016, 12:31:19 pm

Title: Shetland bull calf arrival :)
Post by: Backinwellies on May 27, 2016, 12:31:19 pm

Just celebrating birth of our first Shetland bull calf.  :excited:

I now need to think what to do with him , so some questions:

1.  I know some of you buy in a bull calf, let him serve your cows then send him to the freezer .......... how old is he when ready to serve and how old when he goes to freezer?

2. If castrated how long to finishing, on grass

3. Anyone looking for a bull calf .... I'll have to check up his pedigree. 

Thanks all
Title: Re: Shetland bull calf arrival :)
Post by: oor wullie on May 27, 2016, 01:43:06 pm
The bull calf we bought in last year did the job fine when we gave him the chance at about 14 months despite him being half the size of the girls (I never actually saw him at it so I don't know the practicalities of how a small bull managed to reach a big cow but we have calves this year to prove he did manage!).

I think many people eat them at around 30 months.  Even a whole bull will still not be fully grown by then though.  That is a decision we will have to make for the first time at the end of the summer so hopefully someone who has eaten a few will be along soon to give their opinion.
Title: Re: Shetland bull calf arrival :)
Post by: Rosemary on May 27, 2016, 04:45:25 pm
We put Storm out with the three cows two weeks short of his first birthday; he served them all successfully in three days. Mak's first crop of calves are due any day; he'll run with the cows for eight weeks in August / September then he'll be off.

We use them for two crops of calves and get them away just short of 30 months. Storm was heavier than the steer that he went with, even though the steer was a few months older. Although the butcher said the conformation was different (we could see that) we couldn't tell the bull beef from the steer beef.

We castrate at about six months - or at least the vet does. This is entirely personal and probably makes no difference since we don't sell through the ring, but a) I prefer to see a steer with a sac and b) they don't look as feminine as bulls castrated by ring at 7 days and c) there's no possible danger of a rig.

Speak to your SCBA local rep about whether the calf is worth retaining in the gene pool,if that helps.
Title: Re: Shetland bull calf arrival :)
Post by: shygirl on May 27, 2016, 05:00:13 pm
our bull served girls at 10 mths but they were heifers.
Title: Re: Shetland bull calf arrival :)
Post by: Backinwellies on May 27, 2016, 05:32:46 pm
I would be using bloodless castrator so have about 4-6 weeks to make decision.
Title: Re: Shetland bull calf arrival :)
Post by: Factotum on May 29, 2016, 08:32:41 am
We've been the proving ground for a couple of 'novice' bulls - both worked well at 13 months. Collafirth Viking was used on 6 cows and Balearn Tavish got to play with 13 - 4 first time heifers and 9 older cows. We started Tavish on the heifers first and then let him loose with the others. All 13 calved within about a month.

We couldn't find a home for Tavish, so he's ended up in our freezer. We took him slightly over the 30 months, and the meat was hung for a little longer than usual. His conformation was leaner at 3 rather than 4L or 4H .
We've found some of the mince is a bit strong, but put that down to the longer hanging rather than being a factor of his 'bullship'.

Please get the Kinships calculated before deciding to keep him entire. We've got 2 young Shetland bulls here that we thought would be good candidates for selling on, but have been unable to find new owners as there seems to be an excess of bulls around. That's a great shame as we can't keep them here any longer and they'll have to be sold at the Stores sale at the Mart.

Congrats on your new arrival.