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Author Topic: New Calves.  (Read 5722 times)

Crofter

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Isle of Lewis
  • We'll get there!
    • Ravenstar
New Calves.
« on: July 09, 2011, 10:58:08 pm »
After 18 months of being cattle free we have given in and bought 2 calves.  They are both about 14 days old and are Friesian/Holstein crossed with a Limosin bull.  The cunning plan is to raise them both to 18 months of age then pick the quieter one to go to the bull to be a House Cow and put the other off to slaughter.

We are bucket feeding them on a mixture of powdered calf milk and goats milk which they seem to be thriving on.

Dave
Comfortable B&B on a working Croft on the Isle of Lewis. www.Ravenstar.co.uk
Voss Electric Fence

TRUFFLE

  • Joined May 2009
Re: New Calves.
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2011, 07:32:19 am »
How often do you have to feed them??  Is it like having a newborn baby x 2?!!  :o

Crofter

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Isle of Lewis
  • We'll get there!
    • Ravenstar
Re: New Calves.
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2011, 08:13:04 am »
Hi Truffle
Not nearly as bad as a newborn baby.  These babies are already big enough to knock you over if they catch you unawares! We feed them twice a day with about half a gallon of milk each calf each feed.  They get a small amount of calf pellets after each feed which will increase with appetite and they always have access to hay/straw and clean water.

Dave
Comfortable B&B on a working Croft on the Isle of Lewis. www.Ravenstar.co.uk

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: New Calves.
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2011, 09:30:33 am »
New calves are lovely.  BH has bucket-reared them all his life, now he has to watch me use the Jersey cow instead and I am sure he is pining for his own 'babies'!

He always splits their feed into three until they are 6-8 weeks old, but I have to say that my latest, a Hereford bull calf out of a Friesian, was quite happy with two feeds from 'mum' and not interested in the offered midday bucket from about 3 weeks old.  (Mind, Jersey milk is very filling!  :yum:)
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 cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Crofter

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Isle of Lewis
  • We'll get there!
    • Ravenstar
Re: New Calves.
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2011, 12:51:16 pm »
We would have loved a Jersey but there is a very limited stock of cattle on the island and only one dairy farm, so we went with the dairy cross beef option. Importing cattle from the mainland is quite expensive from the transport point of view.

Dave
Comfortable B&B on a working Croft on the Isle of Lewis. www.Ravenstar.co.uk

Bioman

  • Guest
Re: New Calves.
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2011, 01:47:46 pm »
Just a quick word about using Limousin x Holstein/Friesian as use for a house cow. Limousin have a reputation for being wild and so do Holstein/Friesian. So may not be so tame when they are 18 months.

I am more than willing to be proved wrong however.

princesspiggy

  • Guest
Re: New Calves.
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2011, 02:33:02 pm »
id be interested to see how much itl cost u to rear them to slaughter. i thought about having a few calves to raise as free-range veal but was told itd cost a fortune for the powdered milk. please keep us updated. i presume their mothers are dairy cows, so what price are the calves selling for? hope thats not too nosey  ::)

Crofter

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Isle of Lewis
  • We'll get there!
    • Ravenstar
Re: New Calves.
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2011, 08:57:29 pm »
Hi Bioman

I'll try to prove you wrong! :-\
We asked for calves from his quietest cows, I know it's no guarantee but worth a try. We have got them very young so have a chance to halter train them etc. We've had Limi cross before and I know what you mean.....mad as fish!

Hi PP

We have decided to record the cost of rearing this time so, if I can keep it up, I'll be able to tell you the costs later.
We paid £50 a bag for milk replacer and it would probably be enough to rear one calf, maybe 2, to weaning. No choice of supplier here on Lewis so what you can get is what you have to pay for. No, you're not too nosey! That's what this forum is for. We paid £200 each for them from the Dairy farm at roughly 2 weeks of age. Both are off a Limi bull, dopey soft old thing, and one has a 90% pure Fresian mother and the other a pure Holstein mother.

Dave
Comfortable B&B on a working Croft on the Isle of Lewis. www.Ravenstar.co.uk

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: New Calves.
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2011, 09:45:12 pm »
id be interested to see how much itl cost u to rear them to slaughter. i thought about having a few calves to raise as free-range veal but was told itd cost a fortune for the powdered milk. please keep us updated. i presume their mothers are dairy cows, so what price are the calves selling for? hope thats not too nosey  ::)

We reckon to use one sack of milk powder per calf, then get them onto cake.  Around £200 for a good beef cross bullock from a good dairy cow (Friesian better than Holstein or Ayrshire - better backend; the 'new' breeds like Montbeliarde and MRI are good too) plus cost of milk powder and cake compares favourably with the £300 or so which is the industry standard cost to raise one on a conventional suckler cow.  £300 includes feeding her for 12 months, her meds, a share of the bull / AI, a proportion of the cow's replacement costs, etc, etc.  And buying in calves you have no need for a space in the cubicle shed for its mum for the winter, and no big beefy mum puddling up the ground when she's outdoors in wet times.

(Of course now I have my Jersey, I don't even have to buy the milk powder - just a bit of extra cake for the Jersey.)
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 cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

princesspiggy

  • Guest
Re: New Calves.
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2011, 11:41:33 pm »
traditionaly shetlands can suckle 3 or 4 calves!
so what age will they finish, and what value would they be at the end? r u getting the meat back urself? thanx, i love being nosey!
 ;D ;D ;D

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: New Calves.
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2011, 11:34:48 pm »
so what age will they finish, and what value would they be at the end? r u getting the meat back urself? thanx, i love being nosey!

We rarely finish any cattle here, on our farm it works best to sell all our youngsters as stirks.  We keep a few of the best on and sell them ready to finish, the rest get sold at between 9 and 18 months.  This year we've tried selling bulling heifers and that hasn't gone well (no-one's been buying bulling heifers), so we brought the best ones back home and now will look to sell them either as calving heifers or heifers with calf at foot.  (We think they're too good to slaughter, but it's a bit of a gamble - we could have got more dosh for them in the store than as breeders at this point.)

On this year's prices I would expect my little Hereford chappie to fetch £600+ if I keep him to 18 months-ish.  I'm not sure what my BBx heifer would fetch but BH likes her and wants to keep her on as a suckler cow, so I won't have to worry about how and when to sell her.  The Jersey heifer calf was always going to stay to become No 2 house cow / multiple suckler.  If she'd been a bull calf we'd have reared him to eat ourselves - but I don't yet know how old / what weight it would make sense to take a Jersey bullock to.

We did finish one 3/4 Angus bullock for our local butcher (we're his preferred local supplier of lamb) but we don't know if he'll buy any more - we had already told him we wouldn't have any more of that type ready for another 12 months.  He wanted him at 350kg deadweight and had he gone in early November, at 22 months old as planned that would've been about right - but the snow and then Christmas intervened and he was 386kg by mid-January, which was a bit bigger than the butcher had wanted, really.

Not sure if any of that was of any help at all, or even interest!
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 cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

 

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