Any advice

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Montanaidiot
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Any advice

Post by Montanaidiot » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:39 am

I'm in the begining of setting up to get a couple bottle calves this spring. Loafing shed is up 14x12. Corral going in this weekend. 30x30. My place is almost fenced 4 wire. On 28 acres. Prob 25 is pasture. It's in the hills with lots of burned down trees from a fire awhile back that I'm slowly cleaning up.

I have zero clue if I'm doing anything right or wrong so looking for any helpful tips or mistakes I am making.

Thanks



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darcelina4
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Re: Any advice

Post by darcelina4 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:30 pm

What is your bottle calf plan? What kind do you plan to buy? Feed for how long? Sell where? Do you have a good vet relationship? Lots of good meds on hand? Do you know how to use the meds? Esophageal feeder? Raising bottle calves can be tough. I raise lots. You need to only get calves you have an end market for. Dont lose money buying and raising what you cant sell for a profit.

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Re: Any advice

Post by Aaron » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:42 pm

Forget bottle calves. If you are a noobie, you are going to have significant pile of dead bottle calves. Far too touchy.

Buy 10 small yearlings this spring, put them on grass and sell in fall. Less likely to die and you might actually make money.
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Re: Any advice

Post by MRRherefords » Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:43 am

Aaron wrote:
Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:42 pm
Forget bottle calves. If you are a noobie, you are going to have significant pile of dead bottle calves. Far too touchy.

Buy 10 small yearlings this spring, put them on grass and sell in fall. Less likely to die and you might actually make money.
:clap: This is great advise. Many a cattleman start like this and are successful. Unfortunately not enough, as many start with cattle bear minimum from sale barn who are nearly dead and give up as soon as it doesn't work.

Montanaidiot
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Re: Any advice

Post by Montanaidiot » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:16 am

I am planning on just starting with 2 or 3. I'm really not sure how much grass I need and dont want to over graze my place. I was thinking of getting herefords ( they say they have a better temperament) and just raise them for me and my friends freezer.

So maybe I need to buy older calves and finish them and butcher each fall?

Montanaidiot
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Re: Any advice

Post by Montanaidiot » Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:43 pm

After doing more reading. What would be the best way to be able to butcher every year?

I need some sort of rotation?

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Re: Any advice

Post by sstterry » Thu Nov 21, 2019 4:55 pm

Will you have access to hay? In Montana, you will need it based on my trips there.

Are you planning on finishing them on grain or grass?

You could buy some yearlings in the spring and grow them each year or buy 4 and butcher 2 next fall and feed the others for another year. (I would really like to know which part of Montanna, it makes a difference on your grass availability.)
Bottle feeding is a pretty intensive job.

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Re: Any advice

Post by Montanaidiot » Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:10 pm

I'm in kinda small mountains (bull mountains north of billings) in central montana. About half the summer we get tons of rain and grass but then it drys out. I can get hay pretty easy around here so that's not a problem.

I want to finish them on grain. I'm not into organic whatever. I just want a big taste steak :)

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Re: Any advice

Post by sstterry » Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:18 pm

Montanaidiot wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:10 pm
I'm in kinda small mountains (bull mountains north of billings) in central montana. About half the summer we get tons of rain and grass but then it drys out. I can get hay pretty easy around here so that's not a problem.

I want to finish them on grain. I'm not into organic whatever. I just want a big taste steak :)
If it were me I would buy yearlings in the spring and then finish them on grain in the fall. That way you don't have to mess with much hay in the Winter. But, there are a lot of more knowledgeable folks than me on this Board.

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Re: Any advice

Post by Montanaidiot » Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:26 pm

I do like that plan. Then I get winters off :)

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Re: Any advice

Post by Montanaidiot » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:11 pm

So what if I got a pair and a yearling this year and just ai the cow every year? And butchering the calves as they get big enough.

Bad idea?

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Re: Any advice

Post by Smithfarms954 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:51 pm

I’m new to the board here also. I’ve raised a lot of bottle calves. Some success and some loss. It’s kind of like gambling. All depends on if the calf gets it’s colostrum from momma. From experience most sale barn calves do not. Best route is your local dairy barn. Raising bottle calves is a great way to get your feet wet into the business but don’t let it get you discouraged if things go wrong at times because like I said the bottle babies are a gamble. My advice for what it’s worth would be become great friends with your local vet and to buy a case of electrolytes for when one gets the scours. Keep an eye on them and there behavior as much as you possibly can. Good luck

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Re: Any advice

Post by Aaron » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:40 pm

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Re: Any advice

Post by cowgal604 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:37 am

Personally I love raising bottle calves. I’ve never lost one but I have put more money into one than they were worth. You can pick up a dairy cross angus around here for $50-$200. I also keep connected to local ranchers and take in the orphans they can’t handle or they can’t get on a bottle. They come free. But raising a bottle calf for the freezer is tough. I get way too attached to the bottle calves. I sell mine at about 8-12 months old. I get a good price for them. I never sell by weight, I sell most at around $1,500-$2,000. Some people feed them out, some process. By biggest customers are small hobby farmers that just need a very calm animal.

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Re: Any advice

Post by StrykerScout » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:21 pm

Don't get discouraged by others comment. I agree that their are challenges and hurdles raising bottle calves. The market for dairy calves is almost non existent unless you plan on operating a dairy or direct marketing into a niche market of some kind.. As a commercial beef animal the cost to simply wean a dairy breed almost exceeds its finished market value atleast in my area at.$40-$60/vet Luckily you can find beef bottle babies.. L
As stated previously it can be a challenge. I saw where someone stated, that you are going to end up with a bunch of dead bottle babies.. Their life is in your hands, maybe that individual didn't put the effort into caring for bottle babies that you might. A lot of livestock are subject to neglect from their owners and as a result many do die. There was a time I knew absolutely nothing about cattle. I bought 3 jersey calves from a local dairy and a beef heifer who lost her momma from a neighbor.. It wasn't easy, their were hurdles, I put in the effort to make sure they were all taken care of exhausting all resources including every vet in town. After a year I lost 50 dollars each on the 3 jerseys, but made 200 dollars on the beef heifer. I made 50 dollars while gaining very valuable experience my first year considering all cost except my labor. I could have taken a total loss on all four of those calves+expenses for the year and the investment would have paid for my education. The fact is you aren't going make much money if any at all starting with a few bottle calves but the experience is priceless if you aspire to expand or grow into maybe a cow calf operation. The biggest thing is you have an obligation to care for these animals, give it 100 percent even if it means depleting your profit margins or losing money. If it's something you truly want to do it won't matter because it is an investment in your own education.. So what if you have to pay the vet $300 to come out and tube a calf, start an I.V., maybe let one down from bloat because you fed to much alfalfa. Now you know and your vet will gladly teach you how to do these things and how to prevent them. Your vet paid several hundreds of thousands of dollars for these lessons. Its a pretty cheap education in my opinion if you are ambitious about raising cattle. Those 4 bottle calves taught me so much and none of them died because I did my best.. Final thoughts are you need to know that you aren't going to make a lot of money in the cattle business, especially with a few bottle calves. Those few bottle calves however can transpire into a profitable cattle business building wealth over time. Don't let people discourage you from making an honest effort. Just because they lost a bunch of calves doesn't mean you will. 5 years in the cattle business now I have only lost one animal "still" birth.. Don't be discouraged by others negative comments. If you wanna buy a few bottle calves That's exactly what you should do. Don't expect to get rich or expect it to be easy. Good Luck!

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