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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Nov 2009
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    South Central kentucky
    Tractor
    1957 Ford 641

    Default Cattle Question

    I am looking for some help in selecting some gentle temperament cattle. Currently I have 2 Angus/Limousine bulls that are about 15 & 16 months old, and one is about to be hamburger. When I bought them (400lbs) they looked like the perfect little Angus bulls, but shortly after that they begin to show their Limousine characteristics. At 500 lbs I had them castrated and that helped their temperament a lot, but they have still been cantankerous. The vet said that was the Limousine side in them.

    With one bull soon going to the slaughter house I thought it was a good time to introduce some more friends into the field to keep the other one in till it was his turn to meet the butcher. I was looking for about 4 or 5 weaned youngsters (400 lbs) to raise as beef and resale.

    Currently I have plenty of pasture grass as I have only cut the stems off the field twice this year. As the neighbors were cutting their hay I would trim the stems from mine with the bush hog as high as I could get it, so I have blade grass at least knee high and plenty of square bales and grain. Along with the grass I have plenty of water, a 3-strand barbed wire fence with one strand of VERY HOTT electric, but I think I will add another strand of electric. Shelter and shade in the form of a shed and trees are available from the rain, wind, and snow.

    With a full time job teaching and two children I want a very gentle breed if not a lazy bunch of cows. The children never enter the field without dad, but I still do not want a bunch of crazy cows getting out or causing any trouble.

    Which of the following would be the best? Jersey, Holstein, Angus, Hereford, or Guernsey. I definitely need polled or naturally hornless cattle. Would heifers be gentler than bulls?

    Any help, advice or experienced stories would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    174
    Location
    North Central Arkansas
    Tractor
    2006 Mahindra 6000, 1987 Ford 2910

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    Castrating bulls makes them easy to handle. Best done when they are young, though. You could buy steers when you do your stocking.

    Heifers are usually docile but personalities will vary. They also don't bring the same price as steers but are cheaper to buy.

    Angus are easy to deal with but are more prone to kick than some other breeds. I have had good luck with Charolais and my neighbor raises Simmenthals.

    If you are stocking for resale as beef, definitely choose a beef breed such as Angus, Charolais or Simmenthal. I've also heard positive reports on Braunvieh, too.

    Another operator I know buys lightweight nonpregnant cows (called culls in some areas), puts them on grass for 12 weeks, fattening them up and then selling them. He repeats the cycle 2-3 times each year, starting in the spring, and sells the last group before winter sets in. Never winters an animal. The cows will gain 125-150 lbs. each and bring 15 cents a pound more when he sells them. Profitable little operation.

  3. #3
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    102
    Location
    Wood Co, Tx
    Tractor
    M9540DTC

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    Check into some Red Poll cattle. Polled Hereford will also be gentle.

  4. #4
    Super Member texasjohn's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    5,289
    Location
    Central Texas, Jarrell
    Tractor
    Kubota 5030HSTC

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    Welcome to TBN

    Suggest you expand your profile..like what part of the country you are in..helps answer questions.

    Your fence and pasture situation sounds fine... how about pens and a loading chute to put stuff into a trailer.

    Suggest you go to a ranch that has 30 or so mother cows and the owner messes with the animals all the time. Point is to get animals that are ALREADY very gentle and do what you want them to do.... you have neither the skill or time to train the animals, far easier to purchase them that way.

    A gentle animal will almost always remain that way... a wild one is very hard to tame down.

    Sugest you get a very gentle cow, bred and or with calf, to add to your herd. Keep her as your weaned animals come and go. She will keep them in line and lead them around the place properly. The value of such an animal will be obvious to you only if you try to keep a bunch of weaned calves without the cow. Alone, they will develop bad habits, as you have already seen.

    Most ranchers have a cow in their herd that will do this job and they know her and love her... because of the help she gives them... you can pay a premium for such an animal and be ahead of the game. Pay the premium for disposition, not pedigree or youthfulness or beauty. Often an older cow no longer fits a rancher's program, yet he is reluctant to send her to slaughter ..... I know I reluctantly sent a couple of such cows to slaughter this year because of drought conditions.

    Polled is OK... but calves are easily dehorned when a few weeks old. Yes, best to castrate bull calves, the younger, the better.

    As for breed.... I certainly would not pay any extra for pure bred animals. Typically crossbred animals have more hybrid vigor and will gain weight faster. I'd personally NOT use anything with dairy breeding in it.... these are bred uniquely for milking ability...which is of no interest to you. Milk cows are docile because they are handled daily... but beware of the bulls, they often are extremely dangerous as they get older.

    Select docile meat animals that are adapted to your region.... no breed is properly adapted to use in every part of the country. High mountains, desert, temperate, humid, insects, ticks... various breeds are better in some areas than others.... need to know where you are to make recommendation.

    Remember, each animal is unique. There is no such thing as a particular breed that is totally gentle, every individual. It is the individual you are dealing with, not the entire breed. So, focus on the individual you purchase... time spent PRIOR to the purchase in determing its dispositon will be paid back 100 fold later... if you make the right choice.

    Bottom line, get a known gentle cow, add known gentle weaned calves, steers or heifers, as desired. Make sure you have one or more pens with water.

    Plan ahead, something will get hurt or sick and you will need to doctor it. Best is a squeeze chute... likely too expensive. Next best is a chute made of cattle panels which you can run the animal into and block off, front and back with pipes preventing movement to doctor it. Least desirable is a 16 foot gate you can swing to trap the animal against a solid wall and hold it for doctoring. Get a set of nose tongs and learn how to use them... amazing tool, can be used to control a 2000 lb animal that is misbehaving...but only if constrained in a chute or trapped between panels.

    Enough of my preaching.. best wishes with your emerging herd... you will learn much along the way...it's fun
    Joy is having the tools you need and needing the tools you have!

    Kubota 5030 HSTC, BB, Danueser PHD, LA853 QA HD FEL w JD toothbar, 3pt chisel, 3 pt disk, 6' shredder, Kubota FEL hay spike, 3pt hay fork w carryall, Kubota RTV 1140

  5. #5
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    191
    Location
    Kentucky
    Tractor
    AC D10/Kubota 9540

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    We went with Simmentals for exactly the the same reason. Our research showed Herford as the next docile breed. I'm in Allen county, where are you located?

    Cary

  6. #6
    New Member
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    Nov 2009
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    Location
    South Central kentucky
    Tractor
    1957 Ford 641

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    I'm located in Wayne County.
    Last edited by pburchett; 11-05-2009 at 07:17 PM. Reason: Typing error

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    547
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Tractor
    Many JD

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    I vote for the polled Hereford as well. I have finished several dozen on my hoby farm and only had issues with one that was a little spooky. They don't try to get out and finish out very well. I have always ran cows and horses in the same pasture with no issue. To keep the cows on corn I have a corner in the barn with a board low enough for the cows to walk under but the horses can not get to the cattle feed.

    I have always bought feeder steers in the 400lb range. I have been getting around 2lb/day weight gain on average. The animals are another excuse to keep a tractor as well.

    Dan
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -img_4083-jpg  

  8. #8
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Mar 2002
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    Central florida
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    ym1700, NH7610S, Ford 8N, 2N, NAA, 660, 850 x2, 541, 950, 941D, 951, 2000, 3000, 4000, 4600, 5000, 740, IH 'C' 'H', CUB, John Deere 'B', allis 'G', case VAC

    Default Re: Cattle Question

    whatever you do.. stay away from cows with horns... they cause lots of problems....

    soundguy

  9. #9
    New Member
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    Nov 2008
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    Default Re: Cattle Question

    Well, I can't say that I know much about cattle since I have not kept many for very long. However I do understand the desire to be a lazy farmer. As a matter of fact low maintenance was my #1 concern when selecting the base for my new herd.

    As mentioned before there is a lot of variety in terms of personality even amongst cows of the same breed. So here is what I did:
    I visited ranchers and brought one of my kids with me.
    I then walked around in the herd disturbing the animals and seeing how they would react.
    I talked to the rancher to see if he assisted with birthing, carefully followed breeding cycles, separated calves or bulls, gave shots & drugs, did much fence maintenance etc.

    When I found a rancher even lazier than I am whose cattle were docile enough that I wasn't scared to have my kids in the field then I bought some cows. I selected girls who were calm even when a stranger was walking up to them...but wild enough that they didn't want me to touch them. I figure if the cow is calm but still doesn't want to be touched then there is little chance they will butt heads with my children.

    I couldn't be happier with the results. In my case I did pay a premium for pure-bred dexters, but such is life.

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