How to obtain a spotted calf

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Jan 11, 2017
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I am new here and I need some assistance. I'll outline my situation and what I am looking.

New to owning cattle. Been around them most of my life. Worked them for friends, but mainly "hired" help with vaccinating and moving them from pasture to pasture. I understand the difficulty of working them and know what to expect with regards to them being brilliant one minute and dumb as a box of rocks the next. Friend is running 50+ head of Beefmaster on 300+ acres in central TX as "hobby" to his regular job. I am in the same situation. Recently purchased 30 acres 1 hr east of Austin, TX. Close enough I can be there in 45 mins, but I travel for a living and need self sufficient animals. I will have fence completed at the end of the month. My place had cows on it for years from my north neighbor, I recently removed all animals October 1 as he never rotated them and IMO was over grazing the place. He was running 42 head on 76 acres(30 of it mine) of which 36 was grass, the rest all thick unproductive brush. I have 15 acres of costal, 15 acres of brush, just had stock tank rebuilt to hold more than 5' of water. Tank is half full and I can haul water if needed. My calculations the tank will be 3/4 acre when full, 12' at deepest point holding ROM 2 MIL gals. I should have water covered as it is 1/3 full now.

I've spoken to my south neighbor(running 100+ head on 400 acres) and by friend on how to get started with minimal effort. Both recommend starting with an older bred cow, preferably on her second calf. As before I bought my place it apparently was the place the three neighbors bulls would crash fences to get at each others cows. So there is a history I want to avoid. I have fixed the fences, but I know if they want in there is nothing I can do but watch. They both claim that with a bred cow the bulls in the area, although fenced off, will be less likely to crash the party if she is already bred and give them a chance to get used to her.

What I want:

5-6 animals maximum.
Practically pets as I have a 7 yr old that gets a kick from feeding them. - I'll cube feed them in a pen everytime I am there to get them on the program.
Large frame Heifers for easier calving-I want easy calving as I may not be there enough to assist if needed. I have pulled calves and don't want that misery.
Polled - no horns
No mini cattle as I fear a full size bull getting in when I am not there and causing injury.
SPOTS.... I really like the look of Longhorns, however, I don't want the horn hassles. Prefer red & white or orange & white
I am good with solid colored cows now if I know they will throw a spotted calf.

My Plan:
I want to purchase 2-3 bred cows on their second calf, due in 6 months.
I'll AI for the next breeding to get the color and size I want, if this is even possible.
Any animal that doesn't meet requirements will be sold or eaten once old enough. I'll never have more than 6 total animals at one time in the event we hit a massive drought and I have to feed constantly. My math on the available grass/rain tells me I can support 1 animal per 4 acres of grass and likely never have to feed. Therefore, I don't want to exceed 6 animals total. If they all throw twins I am making burger for everyone in the family.
I am not concerned with sale value or fast growth. The ROI is not $ driven, more enjoyment and ease of use.

Thinking Polled Beefmaster cow bred by a Polled Shorthorn bull to get the color I want? I don't know enough about it to make an intelligent decision.

What I need:
Input from the forum on what breeds will get me the desired result
Recommendations from those with the gray hair to speak intelligently to my situation.

No concerns from me on different opinions or comments. Until I am on the floor bleeding, fire for effect.
Welcome :)

Shorthorn is probably going to be one of the more reliable 'spotted' breeds.. might want to look into some old school Simmental/Fleckvieh as well.. The Shorthorn will often be more roan than spotted, and the Simm/Fleck perhaps more splotchy?

You're probably looking for more spots than this guy.. Both parents are 1/4 shorthorn, 1/2 Gelbvieh.. One grandma (sires) is all red, the other is a big white roan

the white roan grandma
Actually he would work since he has a heart patch on his head similar to my Brittany. I did see a 5 yr old longhorn cross cow that I liked but she had a solid black calf from an angus. I assume at 5 yrs she still has some calves left in her?
Speckle Park is your go though most I've seen are black and white. They have a Shorthorn background with a bit of Angus thrown in and the carcases grade very high. My neighbour has a Speckle Park bull over Xbred cows and gets the speckle colour in well over half his calves.

SH are good easy working cows.
My running buddy that has terminal cancer has a small herd I have been taking care of. They are actually too gentle for me as they are a pain to work. He makes good money on the show calves he sells but gets killed at the barn. Several years ago he went to using my Angus bull on his cows and AI and embryo on his best cows, he has done well with this approach.
The only negative I see is they really suffer in this Texas heat and their milk production was down in the summer.
He went to fall calving season and has some mighty fine calves.
Well, do you want big "spots" or smaller "speckles"?

If you're looking for spots or just extra white on legs, anything with Holstein influence (if you don't mind dairy) or Fleck/white socked Simmental will give you something pretty close. If you're looking for Speckles then I would go with what the above posters said and go with Speckle Park or Shorthorn. Some Longhorns can have speckles or spots, but the horns can be a issue if you're looking to go polled. One of my speckled cows is a Longhorn/angus and her calves are consistently spotted and speckled. I have a friend who had some spotted Simmi x Shorthorn and they looked kinda similar to a Speckle park. Pinzgauer will also give you a bit of a different kind of white coloration, more of a line back but they still cross up pretty neat with Hereford and Simmental. They also performed well for a friend of mine who had a few of them.

Good luck with whatever you choose! :D
Looking for small speckles. If the heat is an issue with shorthorns I may consider a different route.

I have to ask a dumb question. How difficult is it on a 2 yr old longhorn cow to have the horns removed? Will this cause he calves to not have horns if from a polled bull? Or is it better to pick up new longhorn calves and have then dehorned immediately?

I look at the other beefs mentioned to see if they will hold up in my area.
Beefmasters would be a good fit there, theyre percentage shorthorn with enough Brahman to handle to TX heat. You should get some crazy spots out of them without horns. Just start out with 2 or 3 and a bull for a low maintenance stocking rate, leaves a bit of room to keep back a couple heifers if you wanted to. Should be able to get them bought cheap because spotted cattle are discounted :2cents:
RWT":agrpjicc said:
Looking for small speckles. If the heat is an issue with shorthorns I may consider a different route.

I have to ask a dumb question. How difficult is it on a 2 yr old longhorn cow to have the horns removed? Will this cause he calves to not have horns if from a polled bull? Or is it better to pick up new longhorn calves and have then dehorned immediately?

I look at the other beefs mentioned to see if they will hold up in my area.
LH don't play by the rules on several issues if they carry the African horn gene they will still have horns. This gene was carried up into the Iberian peninsula by the Moorish Invasion . ... me-decoded
it's a PITA to remove big horns from a cow, and longhorns have some funky genes when it comes to horns, so that there are still some horned calves when bred to a polled bull
Are you set on cows that are bred ? They will calve and when they come in heat you are going to have bull problems again. The bulls will be "used to them" next door....until they come into heat... then they will be looking at them and thinking..."fresh meat"; and across the fence they will come. Why not try to pick up some steers and do without the temptation at first and see if this is going to work? You can get some that might be more tame, and find the speckle colored ones at a pretty good discount most places. They won't be calving so don't have to worry about that; even older cows can have a problem...not as likely but it happens. This way you can get 6-10, feed them and probably will have one or two that will be friendlier. Then, sell/eat some, keep the friendliest for a "pet", and either get a few more, or then get a couple of cows. Heifers are cheap too, and yeah they will come in heat. But if you start out with some steers, you will be able to see if this is going to work for you especially if you travel much. Here we have some that have Lineback influence and they have speckles, just most are black/white. Cows milk good, and the calves are all spotted/speckled even bred to an angus. Had a blue roan "mixed" something cow, bred her to an angus, got a speckled red/white heifer from who knows where. Probably some shorthorn in her. Every calf she had was roan/speckled. I'd say some belted galloway but don't think they would manage the heat but you could have an "oreo" cow for your son.
Just some suggestions....
Lots of Belted Galloway cattle in Texas.

They handle heat well.
I am only thinking bred cows so I grow the herd as needed. I have considered steers, but my research tells me 4 or 5 of them together and they are not nearly as tame as a cow. I considered some young Corriente as they seem to be popular in my area, smaller and easier to handle. I considered picking up young steers or heifers and cutting the horns off. This should get me the spots I am after. I'll think about the steers. I was wanting to have them pay for themselves and I figured selling the calves once I reach maximum capacity will cover the expected cost of feed and vet bills.
Good luck with spotted calves paying for themselves your going to get your clock cleaned at the sale barn with horns you might have to pay them to take them.
It cost a buck fifty a day to keep a good cow or bad one standing in the pasture.
Are you from Austin? :). Get what you want but remember you need something easy keeping til you figure what you can really handle. Why not get something from your neighbors to check your water , fences , hassles etc? You got a hay source yet?
Oh yea make sure you get that AI deal all set up nice and tight on 4 cows....just saying. You can't get AI at the convince store in Seguin.
I am in Round Rock and my place is in Thorndale. Only one neighbor close enough and that I trust to check on them and I am reluctant to ask. Before I bought my place it was "used" by everyone in the neighbor hood as if it were their own. I am trying to keep the traffic down as I have had some interesting responses from the neighbors when I found them on my place without permission. It was always assumed to be open pasture and they got sideways when I put up a fence and gates with locks.

No hay source yet and I want to go square bales due to ease of putting out and waste I've seen from round bales. If you have a recommendation for hay send them my way.
Ok, it' s been a long day but am I really the only one whose eyes bugged at:"How difficult is it on a 2 yr old longhorn cow to have the horns removed? Will this [taking the cow's horns off] cause he [sic:her] calves to not have horns if from a polled bull?"

(bracketed words and italics added).


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