buying calves from sale barns

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Hillary_Indiana

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good idea or bad idea? how reliable is it for me to buy my first two calves from the local sale barn?
 

Cattle Rack Rancher

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I've had good experiences and bad experiences. I might try to find a local cattle buyer to help you out. They usually know what fair price is and what type of cattle sell well in your area. The fee they charge is small compared to the info and help they can give you. Also, if you already know what you want and you are specific, they can keep an eye out for you at the sales, which can save you alot of time.
 

txag

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buying calves from a salebarn shouldn't be too much of a risk. i agree with CRR that you may want to ask someone to help you.

if you don't have anyone to help you, some things you might want to look for are: healthy appearance (no runny noses, coughing, etc), good body condition, ear tags or notches (these will identify calves who have probably come from some kind of management program. notches often indicate some type of vaccination program), bangs vaccination tags on heifers.

are you looking for heifers to raise for cows? steer calves or bull calves to raise for slaughter?
 

Dave

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I agree that you can get good calves at the sale barn. If you have the time go there and just hang out and watch for several weeks before you buy anything. One important thing to remember cattle that seem cheap at the auction probably aren't healthy. That is one thing to watch for. If a calf is selling cheap, study it and try to figure out why the buyers aren't bidding. There are also buyers who buy the junk and buyers who buy the good ones. Watch those buyers to see who is buying what and approach the ones who buy the good cattle. Most importantly don't be in a hurry. It is better to take a little time and get a good one than to be impatient and spend time doctoring a poor one.

Dave
 

Running Arrow Bill

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Good advice from the other posters on this thread! Even though we don't buy anything from sale barns, there are some other things to consider.

Would advise isolating any animals in separate pen after you buy to see if they develop any health problems. Also, recommend de-worming with an injectible as soon as they arrive at your place. Also, vaccinate for respiratory problems--shipping fever and other "non-sanitary" sale barn pen conditions. You have no idea what "illnesses" arrive in sale barn from all the mixed sources they come from. If you detect any respiratory or bowel problems after you get them, get them treated ASAP.

Finally, do what the "best" buyers do...watch what they buy (and reject). Go with the best, learn from the worst (losers). P.S.: Avoid any spooky cattle in the pens...could be trouble-makers at your place or fence crashers.
 

Cattle Rack Rancher

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Would advise isolating any animals in separate pen after you buy to see if they develop any health problems.

I would actually recommend putting them in a corral. The last 3 heifers I bought got delivered at night and went through 2 hot fences before they slowed down. Luckily, there was alot of snow. So they didn't get too far. They were with the other cows by the next morning.
 

dun

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Healthy, active, bright eyed, not runny nosed calves, no sticky butts. As soon as you get them home give them a shot of Nuflor to help head off any of the wonderful things they were exposed to at the salebarn and during the transportation process.

dun
 
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Anonymous

Disagree on the shot of nuflor unless calf is sick when purchased. If calf is fresh should not get sick for about 7-14 days after purchase. Get calves that are vaccinated or vaccinate them at purchase. Use the nuflour when and if they get sick.
 

la4angus

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Hillary_Indiana":3d1t7qob said:
good idea or bad idea? how reliable is it for me to buy my first two calves from the local sale barn?

If you have to ask this question, the best thing to do is befriend a good order buyer, tell him/her what you are wanting to buy and leave it up to them. Most will treat you right and save you lots of money, not necessarily on putchase but most likely on health issues after the purchase. ie. Healthy calves, little additional expense for vet and medicine. Sickly calves lots of $$$$ for vet bills and medication. Many times the death loss.
 

frenchie

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I would get an order buyer to buy your calves 1st time.One of the best things I ever did was spent 7 hrs with an order buyer at a sale while he was buying calves for me.

Bring your calves home and keep an eye on them. That they are drinking and eating.

I have bought a lot of project cattle with horns and nuts.A guy can make some money buying these cattle and improving them. :) :)
 

dun

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k":1aznczep said:
Disagree on the shot of nuflor unless calf is sick when purchased. If calf is fresh should not get sick for about 7-14 days after purchase. Get calves that are vaccinated or vaccinate them at purchase. Use the nuflour when and if they get sick.

This is the one time that we use antibiotics blindly. They may not get sick for a week, but they're already infected. You just can;t see the signs generally for a while. We had a neighbor that raised 50-60 calves a year from the sale barn. He was alwasy loosing some to strange maladys. I talked with my vet about it and he suggested the Nuflor. Since the guy started shooting all the calves as soon as he unloads them he has had very little illness. He has even started doing it with the calves he gets straight from the dairy and hasn't had any problems.
We've only done it with a half dozen calves ourselves, but we didn;t have sick problems before we started, just insurance.

dun
 

dun

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I guess the biggest question is what size calves. I was addressing the issue of bottle calves. Older weaned calves is whole different deal. All we do with them is vaccinate, worm and turn out.

dun
 
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Anonymous

k":33ik6nat said:
Disagree on the shot of nuflor unless calf is sick when purchased. If calf is fresh should not get sick for about 7-14 days after purchase. Get calves that are vaccinated or vaccinate them at purchase. Use the nuflour when and if they get sick.

Our vet suggests we give the dam raised calves a shot of Oxytetracycline when they are weaned so they don’t come down with something from the stress. So I could see where one would want to give some type of antibiotic to calves that have been exposed to who knows what at a sale.
 
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