Any profit on bottle calves??

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Anonymous

With the high price of milk replacer, I was wondering if anybody is able to make a profit selling bottle calves once they are in the 400 weight. Was also wondering if anybody has raised any bottle calves off of goat's milk??? If so how did you do it and would you do it again?? I have 2 young children, so we have to have bobby calves around anyway, just curious about the goats milk part. Thanks in advance! :)
 

dun

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At one time we raised a couple of hundred calves a year on goats milk. These were healty calves stright from a good dairy. We started them on about half the normal amount of goats milk compared to replacer. By the third day we would have them up to about a gallon a day.
 

redcowsrule33

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If you can get goat's milk inexpensively calves should do well on it. Here's an informative link:

http://www.goatworld.com/articles/goatm ... milk.shtml

As far as profit.... if you can get calves that have the potential to have some muscling (not Jerseys, I love them but no one wants to pay for them as they are light muscled) at a decent price and they stay healthy... maybe. Lots of "ifs" involved, which is why a lot of people sell baby calves.

Just don't buy from a sale barn! Most of them are colostrum deficient, aren't well cared for, and are now exposed to every disease known to bovine kind and are very stressed. TRAIN WRECKS. Buy from a local farm that will at least give them the colostrum and care they need before you pick them up. (I'm stepping off my soap box now) ;-)

I think the biggest "profit" you get from bottle calves is the fun. But it's still a lot of work.
 
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Anonymous

Thanks ya all! Right now the kids are bottle feeding a black heifer (one of ours) the dam broke her leg in the trailer when we were moving that herd. But a friend of ours asked if we would want to buy a angus bottle heifer for $175. I haven't bought a bottle calf since I was a kid in 4-h and that price sounds kinda high to me. I was thinking about buying a dairy goat to help ease the burdon on milk cost, but milking her would just be another chore on my list!! We will have to buy 2 more babies in the spring for the pee wee shows and I am hoping to be able to find beef calves again, something a tad bit more profitable and also show a little better! Thanks again for all the goat info :wave:
 

Running Arrow Bill

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IMO the only reason to raise a bottle calf would be to "save" one of your own orphaned calves. Not take on significant time, care, effort involved to buy one and to do this on purpose...lol.

Raising a bottle calf, IMO, is about as labor intensive as trying to raise a human kid up to age of eating real people food... ;-)
 

backhoeboogie

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I've got nurse cows. When someone runs an aged pair through the sale and no one bids, they usually split the cow from the calf. Those are the calves I try to buy and hope they still have a naval cord.

I only cycle two groups of 4 calves on the cow each year. It makes money.
 

Keren

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I make money on my bottle babies. At the moment I am using replacer and profiting about 30 a head on lambs, up to $200 on kids. Not done calves in a while. Using fresh goat milk I cut my costs about in half.

In my experience, using fresh goat milk they can tolerate more milk, they never scour, and as I mentioned above it is cheaper. But as you said, you do have to milk them.
 

Onthebit

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When I was young I raised a pretty nice charlaisX calf to weaning weight on a dairy goat. I started by putting the goat on a bale of hay and letting the calf nurse and in no time the goat bonded with the calf. OK so what I meant to say is my goat raised a pretty nice calf to weaning weight. Problem after that was the heifer would try to suck other cows in the field. The farmer who bought her solved it by putting a ring in her nose..............
 

Bez+

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In answer to your question:

You will hear lots of "once upon a time stories - heck, I have them too. But times have changed.

Today is what matters - so .......

If you are buying milk replacer and planning to make a dollar it is highly unlikely you will make a profit.

In fact, about the only people who can actually make a profit at it today already have the infrastructure set up, the old milk cow ready to let the calf suck on her tits and a free suppy of calves.

If you are a newbie and you are bottle feeding there is NO repeat NO money in it.

However there are a lot of other things - experience and fun and such - then you eat the dammed thing - it will taste great. Teaches kids responsibility AND what the circle of life is all about. They learn a lot of lessons on life - true stuff, not the Barney stuff or fluff taught in schools.

We have been known to just give the calf to a neighbour kid - but then I hate bottle babies - and yeah, every now and then there is a reason to keep one - but not very darned often. When we do it is my far better three quarters that does the babying.

Feed it, raise it and eat it - make it a family thing - that's your best bet -forget about the costs - you do not want to know the true costs.

Have a good one,

Bez+
 

tom4018

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We have raised several over the years. We keep really good records on them, especially for the last 4 or 5 years. In that time period we have averages about $120 profit per calf, di really good on some and lost on others. Last year we did a lot by buying calves off cows being sold due to the drought. This year we backed off because feed got so high and calf prices came down. This was the worst year for making money on them in the last 5.

Around here the baby calf prices have not came down like feeder prices, although this week they did look down some. It takes us about $200 to take a calf from 100# to +500#. All we have done these last 5 years is beef calves, no dairy, with good calves still in the $150 range add the $200, you got $350 in them, we sold calves off cows this past week, avg. 615# and cleared $427 a calf.

It is time consuming to raise them and risky all for $.50 a day per calf profit unless things change. This is the first time in several years that our lot where we raised calves is empty and has been for 6 months.
 

chippie

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I don't know where you are located. The last baby calves that I bought I paid $50 and $55 for two heifers. The $50 one was a black baldy with some ear. She was silly and I sold her after a couple of months for $250.
I still have the $55 one. She is Gelbvieh cross.

We have Jersey cows (3 fresh) so I have a supply of milk to feed them. We have owned dairy goats, and a good milk goat is expensive. ($400 and up). One thing about owning a dairy animal is that you have to feed them well and they have to be milked twice daily. If you don't they will dry up. A good dairy feed can be expensive.

I take care of the cows in the morning during the week and would like a portable milking machine for Christmas LOL
happysa9.gif


As far as prices go, call an auction barn in your area and ask what baby calves are selling for.
 

grubbie

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Running Arrow Bill":1frrywyq said:
IMO the only reason to raise a bottle calf would be to "save" one of your own orphaned calves. Not take on significant time, care, effort involved to buy one and to do this on purpose...lol.

Raising a bottle calf, IMO, is about as labor intensive as trying to raise a human kid up to age of eating real people food... ;-)

Couldn't agree more now that the kids are gone. But if I had kids around I would do it even if I just broke even. Good for the kids in my opinion.
 

KMacGinley

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How much do you think it costs to feed a cow for 9 months to get that calf? Most people have over $300 in a beef calf before it is born. I would say you could make a few bucks on a $75 calf.
 

Moprofit

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Yes you can make a pretty nice profit if you can buy them right, have a set up for pens, get healthy calves, vaccinate, have plenty of clean bedding and water available, and not afraid of some work. Ok, lots of work at times. I raise quite a few head 30 up to 60 sometimes and do alright if I take em to the #400 to #450 weight range. But I will warn you that you must have a good barn that has ventilation, and are not afraid of work. Clean is not a preferred method...it is a must! Try to shy away from sale barn calves unless, as some of the others have said, it is split up from the cow and looks healthy. I use milk bar 10 nipple feeders and still must bottle nurse a few each morning and night. I also work off the farm so 3:50 am wake up is pretty much the norm. Keep penicillin on hand, scour tablets, electrolytes, (there is a product called Fast Track that I have heard works well) and colostrum on hand. I wish you the best of luck. :D
 

Keren

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Moprofit":3soitomi said:
Yes you can make a pretty nice profit if you can buy them right, have a set up for pens, get healthy calves, vaccinate, have plenty of clean bedding and water available, and not afraid of some work. Ok, lots of work at times. I raise quite a few head 30 up to 60 sometimes and do alright if I take em to the #400 to #450 weight range. But I will warn you that you must have a good barn that has ventilation, and are not afraid of work. Clean is not a preferred method...it is a must! Try to shy away from sale barn calves unless, as some of the others have said, it is split up from the cow and looks healthy. I use milk bar 10 nipple feeders and still must bottle nurse a few each morning and night. I also work off the farm so 3:50 am wake up is pretty much the norm. Keep penicillin on hand, scour tablets, electrolytes, (there is a product called Fast Track that I have heard works well) and colostrum on hand. I wish you the best of luck. :D

If you know what you are doing, you can make a nice profit off those $5 sale barn holst. bulls
 

Onthebit

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Keren":3lu9qmca said:
Moprofit":3lu9qmca said:
Yes you can make a pretty nice profit if you can buy them right, have a set up for pens, get healthy calves, vaccinate, have plenty of clean bedding and water available, and not afraid of some work. Ok, lots of work at times. I raise quite a few head 30 up to 60 sometimes and do alright if I take em to the #400 to #450 weight range. But I will warn you that you must have a good barn that has ventilation, and are not afraid of work. Clean is not a preferred method...it is a must! Try to shy away from sale barn calves unless, as some of the others have said, it is split up from the cow and looks healthy. I use milk bar 10 nipple feeders and still must bottle nurse a few each morning and night. I also work off the farm so 3:50 am wake up is pretty much the norm. Keep penicillin on hand, scour tablets, electrolytes, (there is a product called Fast Track that I have heard works well) and colostrum on hand. I wish you the best of luck. :D

If you know what you are doing, you can make a nice profit off those $5 sale barn holst. bulls

I think they been still running 100$ here. Is the Aussie $ that dif. from the CA$?
 

Keren

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Ryder told me not that long ago what the conversion was for Aussie to US dollars, but silly me lost it. Bugger.

Holst. bull calves will go around $25 or less here, but the weak/sickly/small looking ones will go as cheap as $5. Thats what I meant, if you know what you are doing you can pick the ones that have a chance of surviving, give em a treatment and they are good as gold. You gotta be good at it though.
 

Moprofit

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That is correct. If you know what you are doing you can make some pretty nice profit. I would suggest someone just getting into this venture try just 2 to 3 calves. They seem to do better with another calf. Now milk replacer can get expensive ( $50.00 for 50lbs ) but at my CO-OP I get it at $40.35 for 50lbs. Goats milk does wonderful if you can get it. Must keep good accurate records also. These are great projects to teach children responsibility and business of raising livestock. Cost, feed, gains, etc. I want to stress again the importance of clean bedding. Also make sure they are not in drafts. There should be adequate ventilation but not in direct cold air or moisture. Keep em dry! Put a little good hay in the manger or tub and introduce some creep. They are curious so this helps. Look em over really well at each feeding and if any are lethargic, won't nurse, runny nose, coughing...move em to a sick pen away from the others. Take temps! Now this works very well for me and I am positive there are other ways not just mine but I bet we all agree on the keeping clean and sick pens. :nod:
 

Alberta farmer

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The last cow we had to calve this year had twins. She didn't want one and after a couple of days of keeping her in trying to get her to accept both I kicked her out with the one she wanted. I decided I would be his "bottle momma"! Bought a bag of milk replacer $72!
The next night we got a thunderstorm. Next morning found cow smoked by lightning. Calf hiding in the trees!
So now I got two bottle babies! Little suckers were drinking 4 liters of milk replacer each a day! Next time I went to buy milk replacer it was $78! That was the last bag I bought.
Put them in a little pasture by the house and started buying bags of calf starter. Anywhere from $30-$34 a bag. As of today they are on hay and a protein block. Little pot bellied fat suckers!
My son said just knock them on the head after the cow got killed but being a kind hearted sort I decided to play momma! I know I'll lose money on them.
 

spinandslide

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I just got done doing taxes and figuring up receipts..

I paid $150 for a week 1/2 old bottle calf heifer..and spent another $150 on her when she got deathly ill..and thats not factoring in the bag and 1/4 of milk replacer I had into her..at $60 a bag.

But, as Bez said...I did not take her on to make money. I took her on because I just "happened" upon her and felt it would be a good experience for my son.

So, I didnt make money on mine or "come out ahead" except for the fact I have a heifer calf who leads, ties and loads and is the neighborhood pet..but I know people who have..
 

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