Buying Cows

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Anonymous

How do I know if cows that go through a sale have the good characteristics that are wanted in a cow, such as easy calving, good mothering ability, and so on? I hope to one day start a cow/calf operation, but how do I know what cows to buy. I'm not really wanting full blood cows, but just cows that will produce good calves. Would having full blood cows be a better road to take? If anyone would be interested in helping me I would more than greatly appreciate it.

Take care, Benjamin

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Anonymous

Most of the cows going through a sale are there for a reason.... usually considered culling -- getting rid of an animal for some reason, usually unproductivity in a herd. You don't need to buy pure bred cattle, but you should know the person you are buying from... you need to know what he has in his herd. Start visiting other cattle producers in your area, and you should be able to find something that fits your needs.

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Anonymous

Unless you can talk to the owner you really don';t know for sure, for that matter, even if you talk to the owner, you still don't know for sure. When we bought cows to start our current herd, we only wanted cows with calves at side, at least you know they can breed and have a calf. That will also let you evaluate their udder and teats. Feet, legs and body are obvious. Disposition can be a real bugger, the cow may be a little nutty from being at the sale and trying to protect her calf so you can't tell for sure. If she acts aggresive when you are outside the pen she is in and your not standing right against the fence, you can pretty well bet she'll be aggresive in the pasture. If she doesn't have any real interest in the claf, pass. Some unscrupolous bast oops, people, will put a calf with a cow just to make her sell better. Just because a cow is in the sale barn doesn't mean she is a cull or problem cow. Many herds around here sold some excellent cows last year because of the drought. A cow may not fit into a herds genetic plan, or may be being replaced by a younger cow with more years ahead of her. If you want to get into it small and easy, come weaning time, find a herd that is getting rid of their weanling heifers, lots of herds just don't have the need for as many replacements as they will wean each year. Probably the best course of action is to find a mentor.

dunmovin farms

> How do I know if cows that go
> through a sale have the good
> characteristics that are wanted in
> a cow, such as easy calving, good
> mothering ability, and so on? I
> hope to one day start a cow/calf
> operation, but how do I know what
> cows to buy. I'm not really
> wanting full blood cows, but just
> cows that will produce good
> calves. Would having full blood
> cows be a better road to take? If
> anyone would be interested in
> helping me I would more than
> greatly appreciate it.

> Take care, Benjamin
 
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A

Anonymous

All good thinking, I’ll add my two cents.

For a cow/calf operation, purebred cattle are not necessary. Look for sound young mothers that can raise a good calf. The safest way to do that is buy pairs. We buy thru the ring a lot. They don’t have to be in great shape – a lot of times (especially the past three years) they are being sold because the owner is running out of grass. The main thing is that they are young and healthy. You can pick up the cows in marginal condition cheaper and they will fatten up if you take care of them.

Get to the sale early and go back to the pens, spend some time on the catwalks and see what’s there that day. Only consider cows that have been toothed, then avoid any problems with eyes, bags, limps etc. Then evaluate what kind of calf she has. If they are numbered wrong when unloaded (or somebody is playing games when pre-numbering) or the barn makes a mistake it is possible that the calf is not hers. The only way to know for sure is to witness the calf suck. Usually not a problem but it can happen. Don’t bid on anything that’s wild and crazy. Personally, I don’t like to buy any cow with a lot of ear and I’m getting where I don’t like anything that’s tiger striped. Same goes for horns as far as my opinion goes. They’re just too ornery with the other cattle and de-horning calves is just one more chore.

The best advice on the other responses was to get a mentor. Find some guy with gray hair that has been around and doesn’t mind sharing his wisdom – but isn’t a loudmouth. Buy his lunch and ask some questions. If you’re just getting started and don’t want to buy a trailer yet, ask around and find out who hauls cattle. Odds are that guy will know something about the business and you can ride with him, sit with him at the sale, pick his brain. It’s amazing how much we can learn if we’re not too proud to ask and listen. That’s what these boards are all about. One last thing, there is usually more than one right answer.
 
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Anonymous

Around here this year, we've had several older farmers either sell out or drastically reduce their herds -- resulting in some very nice cow/calf pairs going through the salebarn. Heck, bottle calves are bringing HALF of what the cow/calf pairs are bringing! Don't I wish I had more land and I'd be buying up some of those pairs, the way it is I can only watch and bemoan the fact that nice animals are going so cheap.

Ann B

> All good thinking, I’ll add my two
> cents.

> For a cow/calf operation, purebred
> cattle are not necessary. Look for
> sound young mothers that can raise
> a good calf. The safest way to do
> that is buy pairs. We buy thru the
> ring a lot. They don’t have to be
> in great shape – a lot of times
> (especially the past three years)
> they are being sold because the
> owner is running out of grass. The
> main thing is that they are young
> and healthy. You can pick up the
> cows in marginal condition cheaper
> and they will fatten up if you
> take care of them.

> Get to the sale early and go back
> to the pens, spend some time on
> the catwalks and see what’s there
> that day. Only consider cows that
> have been toothed, then avoid any
> problems with eyes, bags, limps
> etc. Then evaluate what kind of
> calf she has. If they are numbered
> wrong when unloaded (or somebody
> is playing games when
> pre-numbering) or the barn makes a
> mistake it is possible that the
> calf is not hers. The only way to
> know for sure is to witness the
> calf suck. Usually not a problem
> but it can happen. Don’t bid on
> anything that’s wild and crazy.
> Personally, I don’t like to buy
> any cow with a lot of ear and I’m
> getting where I don’t like
> anything that’s tiger striped.
> Same goes for horns as far as my
> opinion goes. They’re just too
> ornery with the other cattle and
> de-horning calves is just one more
> chore.

> The best advice on the other
> responses was to get a mentor.
> Find some guy with gray hair that
> has been around and doesn’t mind
> sharing his wisdom – but isn’t a
> loudmouth. Buy his lunch and ask
> some questions. If you’re just
> getting started and don’t want to
> buy a trailer yet, ask around and
> find out who hauls cattle. Odds
> are that guy will know something
> about the business and you can
> ride with him, sit with him at the
> sale, pick his brain. It’s amazing
> how much we can learn if we’re not
> too proud to ask and listen.
> That’s what these boards are all
> about. One last thing, there is
> usually more than one right
> answer.
 
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A

Anonymous

We would prefer to buy cows through a private sale, but when we buy we only look at cows that are being sold in complete dispersion.
 

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