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Author Topic: Spoilt for choice! Which cow?  (Read 2413 times)


  • Joined Jun 2013
Spoilt for choice! Which cow?
« on: August 10, 2014, 08:21:34 pm »
I have been looking to get some cattle for a few years and finally I can get started.  I was hoping to buy a few but a £1600 car bill has slashed my budget :( and now I can only stretch to £1000 tops, (preferably a bit less).

We have plenty of grazing (28 acres with only some sheep and horses) and stables for calving but would need them to out winter most of the time.  Woodland and mature hedges for shelter.  I am looking forward to some good beef, (Having started with our own pigs any other pork/bacon is a disappointment!) and we want to enjoy having them so docile, friendly and attractive animals.  I don't need to make a living from them (just as well!) but I would like to sell on some of the meat and feel that we are breaking even.

My children are desperate for us to get Highlands.  I do see the appeal but wonder that they may provide less meat and therefore be more costly following cut and kill costs?

I would love shorthorns or longhorns but these seem to be pricier to start with... Have seen an empty shorthorn cow (4 yrs) for £850, a cow (10yrs) with AAx calf for £1100 and an empty Longhorn cow (5 years) for £850.

Questions are;

Which breed to choose?
Given the budget (£1000) what should I buy? heifers? a cow in calf? empty cow?
Would it be unfair to have a single? They could graze alongside the horses and/or sheep but I don't think my budget would run to more than one, much as would like it to.


  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Spoilt for choice! Which cow?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2014, 08:45:15 pm »
I suggest aberdeen angus you can get a cow for 300-400 and on preloved there is someone selling pregnant aberdeen for 300-400. They are great beef animals and docile if handled like most animals. Hope this helps :)


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Spoilt for choice! Which cow?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2014, 10:08:59 pm »
They are herd animals, it would not be kind to have a single one.

It is also not kind to have a single cow and calf.  Yes the calf is company of its own species, but they need the company of peers.

So given your budget you had best look at weanlings.
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


  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Moray, NE Scotland
    • Facebook
Re: Spoilt for choice! Which cow?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2014, 10:19:03 pm »
Hi there,
In terms of which cattle to get, then I'd say either dexters or belted galloways - both outwinter, are classed as calfing easily and are good mothers.
Dexters are obviously a bit smaller than a 'normal' cow but could be a good introduction for you - they are generally docile although they can be a bit stroppy ( we know, we've got one of them !! ).
The belted galloways are a 'proper' size cow ( well to me they are ) but they seem to have a better disposition.
The dexters, with being smaller, might mean that you can afford to get more than just the one.
Check out the websites for both breeds for more detailed info and also for details of any breeders near to where you are.
I trust this assists.
Castlemilk Moorit sheep and Belted Galloway cattle, plus other hangers on.


  • Joined May 2013
Re: Spoilt for choice! Which cow?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2014, 10:49:57 pm »
our Shetlands winter out. with your budget, you could get 2 heifers calves at weaning. they can be covered at 15mths and are very easy to handle, hardy and no trouble in any way.
they were our first cattle and im very glad we chose them.


  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Spoilt for choice! Which cow?
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2014, 07:09:30 am »
Your problem is not the cost of cows ..... it will be the handling equipment .....  even docile cows will need to be securely confined for TB testing and AI (if that is what you will be doing).     We bought cows which could be held by a gate .... but this was not a good solution as it needs at least 2 people and can be dangerous.  I am much happier now with our calving gate I can get our cows in and do minor treatments by myself happily.

I have Dexters and Shetlands and love both.  £1000 will buy 2 young girls.

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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  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Spoilt for choice! Which cow?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2014, 09:20:03 am »
For £1000 you can buy 2 x 2yr old highland heifers (@£500 each)   fit to bull, or may have already been recently bulled by our Hereford. They are pedigree, registered and very tame.
You get just as much meat from a highland as from any other beast of that size. In fact 2 years ago we got second prize at Selby Christmas fatstock market for a 2 year old pure highland bull fed only on grass.
You get some pretty crap ones going through the markets because people think they can live on nothing and so feed  them on next to nothing. On good grass they fatten readily as their digestive system is 30% more efficient than that of more improved breeds.
However, I agree entirely with Backinwellies, you do need a proper crush/handling system for TB testing or if you have to inject them for any reason. And also, it is not fair to keep one cow on her own, and she is more likely to escape and go looking for others. 
« Last Edit: August 12, 2014, 09:26:29 am by landroverroy »
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.


  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Spoilt for choice! Which cow?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2014, 09:15:40 am »
I agree with the previous posters - you need two young girls and something to handle them with. Ideally halter trained but you can do this yourself with patience. They can grow up with you and when you feel ready for calves you can AI them. Personally I would never buy an older empty cow if you can avoid it - it could be infertile. And have them checked for the major diseases before you buy them. We have Traditional Herefords - they are a rare breed, like Shetlands. It's good to feel you are helping to save a breed as well as having fun with them. They are very docile and good for beginners. I think you'll find modern Angus are quite expensive but of course the calves may sell better.


Choice of cattle

Started by janeh

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