Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Shetland cow  (Read 2032 times)

suzi

  • Joined Jul 2022
Shetland cow
« on: January 30, 2023, 06:53:35 am »
Now Iíve finally got my sheep in and sorted how I want them. Next step is cows.
We have a small holding (5 acres). I want to add 2 cows to the holding.
Because Iím renting Iím not allowed animals in the fields over winter. I stables to put stock in.
I love the idea of rare breeds (having a fair few already).

The set up I have is a large stable (easily put 2 cows in there). With a concrete yard. I then have a large car park I can use all winter for turn out (so they arenít stuck in 24/7)
There are 2 ponies and 15 sheep in that during the day. All go to bed at night.

Is the Shetland the right breed for my set up?
Iím looking for a dual purpose cow (milk and meat).
2 cows and using AI to breed (I wonít keep a bull)

Thanks

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Shetland cow
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2023, 07:08:37 am »
Morning! We've had Shetlands since 2010 and we milk them, albeit in a prety desultory sortof way. I'd love to recommend them (and I WOULD recommend them, beacuse they are great cattle) but I don't think you have anything like enough land for two horses, 15 sheep and at least two cows. Unless you want to be feeding hay all year round. While you certainly can do and the cows won't mind.

We have 10 acres of grass and two ponies other than the cattle - and we sold all our sheep last year to preserve the grass for the cattle.
While Shetlands are smaller than most commercial breeds, they still eat a lot. Our four in calf girls are going through a big bale of hay every eight days.
If you think of the numbers, two heifers in year one; they calve in year three, so you have two cows and two calves (assume a bull and a heifer); in year four you have two cows, two calves and one stirk, becasue you've sold the heifer calf at weaing; in year five, you have two cows, two calves, one stirk and a beef steer ready to kill at 28 months.
So you don't have two cows, you have up to six cattle beasts.

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Shetland cow
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2023, 08:18:06 am »
Agree with Rosemary. We have 6 acres here but know for certain there is not enough room for cattle although would love them - I grew up with Jersey cows. We only have 10 sheep. Our pasture is poor (don't know what yours is like of course) and we lost the lot last summer to the drought and were feeding hay in July. The fields were brown and crunchy underfoot. Really glad we only had sheep to feed and not cattle and horses too.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Shetland cow
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2023, 08:38:07 am »
I donít think youíve enough land either to be honest. Plus other logistics need thinking about- handling for vet and tb testing, actually getting a person to AI them (a lot of the big companies wonít take you on, so youíd need to find a local farmer I think), logistics if you were to be shut down with TB and couldnít sell.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Shetland cow
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2023, 09:31:15 am »
I thought you had goats as well?


5 acres nowhere near enough land to have cows on, they will also churn it up in a wet season like no tomorrow... plus the handling facilities, plus the vehicle and trailer you will need to move cattle about...


Having more goats will give you all the milk you need (and more... to feed your pigs as well!), plus rearing and eating male kids is a more ethical (and quicker!) way to produce your own meat. Cattle do produce and awful lot of meat in one go every two to three years, you can home-kill sheep and goats and there will always be enough space in the freezer for one of them....


I am still dreaming of my own cows, but even with 14 acres in total available, it is never going to happen... (more than enough milk and meat from my goats and sheep).

suzi

  • Joined Jul 2022
Re: Shetland cow
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2023, 11:08:59 am »
Thank you thatís what I needed to know.

I expect to feed bay all year. I do now.

I do have the goats. They tend to keep the hedges in order rather than take space grazing so I do t generally count them tbh.
The pigs would be gone before the cows arrived (was the plan in my head anyway).

The reason for the route Iím trying to go down is because of my daughters health. Sheís allergic to water. She can tolerate milk rationed (so, 1 week raw cow, another week raw goat then sheep and the 1 I wonít buy is buffaloes milk.

Iím looking for more land to expand the set up (so the animals can be put in winter that are hardy enough too).

Iím having to run before I can walk all the time.

Iím trying to do the best I can by everyone. I am definitely not trying to save money. Zero about what Iím doing is cheaper than buying it in. But, I am sure my daughter wouldnít be with us now if I didnít do what Iím doing

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Shetland cow
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2023, 12:33:11 pm »
I too have always wanted Shetland cattle, I did think seriously about it.
But handling facilities, Lot of money tied up in each animal, winter housing / feeding I decided against it.
With goats, we have kids every other year, as the goats milk through the winter, take up less space, easy to take to billy or buy a boer billy and sell on or take for meat. If vet needed just pop goat in van.
I do like shetlands though  :)

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Shetland cow
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2023, 01:03:55 pm »
I too have always wanted Shetland cattle, I did think seriously about it.
But handling facilities, Lot of money tied up in each animal, winter housing / feeding I decided against it.
With goats, we have kids every other year, as the goats milk through the winter, take up less space, easy to take to billy or buy a boer billy and sell on or take for meat. If vet needed just pop goat in van.
I do like shetlands though  :)


Same here... I go drooling over the Jerseys at Great Yorkshire Show every year...

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Shetland cow
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2023, 02:25:45 pm »
The biggest problem with cows is that you will never have just 2 if you are keeping for milk/meat.

 Cattle take 2 years min to grow to meat (nearer 3 is normal) and to get milk you need a calf a year .... so min you would have is  2 cows, two calves every year (or cows get too fat!,)  plus the growing yearlings  so min 6 and more likely 7/8 ... and that needs  8 acres without any other livestock. 
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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suzi

  • Joined Jul 2022
Re: Shetland cow
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2023, 07:09:37 pm »
Thank you. I will hang on until I get more land then.
Itís trying to balance everything right now.
I do t want to make mistakes. Especially as it can be harmful to an animal.
Thank you Iím glad I asked. Iíll put a pin in getting cows for now

 

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