Is it always so nerve racking?

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sciencegal

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I raise dairy goats and because I have so much extra milk Iast year I started getting bottle beef calves to raise on the goat milk. The first one last year, a black angus heifer did beautifully until about 2 weeks before she was scheduled to go to the butcher when I found her dead. She was fine the night before. I posted here wondering about it and came to the conclusion that it was probably a clostridial disease or she bloated.

So, number two, a red angus steer has been doing great, growing, eating well, I have both halves of him sold. A few weeks ago he bloated so bad I had to stab him in the rumen to save him. That was an experience! I worried about this happening because at the time all I had was alfalfa although I had slowly switched him over from the last of my oat hay. He is now on nothing but wheat hay and doing fine, but I'm on pins and needles that he'll bloat again.

Now, number 3. I got a Charolais/cross? at the auction last Friday. He looked like he was only a day or day and half old. I brought milk to the auction with me in case the calf was young since it is a long, hot drive home. He took the bottle in the trailer after only a little convincing then drank eagerly. He has been doing well, eating with gusto until Monday night when he didn't seem all that interested. He'd suck for awhile then act like he didn't like the nipple and only ended up drinking about a quart. Tuesday, same thing so I gave him an injection of B complex in the morning, afteroon feeding the same, then in the evening when he he seemed even less interested in eating I him a Pen G injection. I figured when I went out to feed him this morning I'd find him a goner. But, I was surprised to see he is much better. Jumped up when he saw me coming with the bottle, and while he didn't finish all of it he was much more interested.

Are cattle always so hard? I've raised goats for 15 years and I've not had these kinds of problems. Maybe I just worry too much.
 

OLF

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Calves from the auction are often dificult. First, there is a reason why a beef calf ends up at auction, and you have no way of knowing what that reason is. Second, if there wasn't something wrong with the calf when he went to auction, it's very possible he will pick something up at the auction. If you can get calves from a local farmer, it will probably go much smoother. You'll know the history of the calf and the environment he came from.
On the Charlois calf, make sure you follow the Pen G label for follow up shots. On the Red Angus, watch for infection. He should survive being stabbed, but an internal infection afterwards is very possible, and would slow his development dramatically.

Good luck.
 

dun

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Starting with healthy calves and a proper feed program and they're easier to raise then goats, you just have to feed them longer.
 
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sciencegal

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This is cattle country so I figured it would be easy to ask around and have someone let me know if they have a young bottle calf I could buy. But, I found out that most ranchers keep the orphans to graft onto cows that lose their calves. The first one, the black angus was directly from a ranch although she was abandoned by her mother and had either a break to her shoulder or dislocation, she always limped. I finally went to the auction for the red steer which was about 9 months ago, and then this one. This is mainly a cattle auction and according to the manager, the really young ones are twins or they break them off from calf cow pairs when they come in for some reason. I know I'm taking a chance but seems like a better idea than throwing away perfectly good milk.

When I got the calf I also bought one for another neighbor who needed one to graft onto a cow. That heifer which is a little older is doing really well, I just heard.

I did give a course of penicillin to the red steer and except for a small amount of swelling and discharge around the wound which has cleared up he seems to be fine. This was about 4 weeks ago that it happened so I am hoping he is over the hump as far as infection goes.

The new calf will get a full course of pen. I'm not taking any chances. He wasn't cheap.
 

dun

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Go to your vet and get a bottle of NUflor if you're going to mess with calves. It works a whole let better then any of the OTC stuff. As soon as you get a calf home give him a shot of it. That's the only time I give an antibiotic without actaul sickness symptoms.
 

BeefmasterB

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Why not just get some orphaned goats instead? That bovine castaway business is a tough road just to get rid of some milk.
 

angie1

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BeefmasterB":wooe6w05 said:
Why not just get some orphaned goats instead? That bovine castaway business is a tough road just to get rid of some milk.
The easier the battle, the lesser the reward.
Sometimes the "tough road" is worth the walk.

Good luck with your calves! :tiphat:
 

Keren

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I've always found poddy calves easier to raise than poddy goats, even ones from the sale yard.

that being said, I use my excess milk for raising poddy lambs - easiest to get around here. I get em free, raise em on the excess milk, then sell or eat them.
 

BeefmasterB

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Keren":zgfi9jrz said:
I've always found poddy calves easier to raise than poddy goats, even ones from the sale yard.

that being said, I use my excess milk for raising poddy lambs - easiest to get around here. I get em free, raise em on the excess milk, then sell or eat them.

Now, that makes sense! :nod: At first glance the economics of bottle calves might make sense but in reality, those instances of sustained success (in terms of dollars )appear to be rare. In any case, I wish sciencegal the best of luck and hope her problems with the calves diminish.
 
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sciencegal

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Well, I have plenty of goats and even though I have customers for the meat from the wethers, I have a list of people who want beef raised on grass. These people are consistent goat meat customers and like the way I raise the goats for meat. Both halves of the red steer are already sold if I can keep him alive long enough to get to the butcher. Someday I may even get a half for my freezer, although I really prefer goat meat.

It's more the new learning experience with the calves. I'm not expecting to make any money on them.

The calf perked up last night and ate well, but is back to fussing about it today. He has developed jelly-like yellow poops this morning. So, now I've searching the CT forum for the best way to handle this if it's scours or the beginning of scours. I have oral neomycin on hand but outdated. I also have oxytetracycline injectable, and the pencillin. I also have couple of pouches of electrolytes. The vet is 75 miles away so I won't be able to get there for a few days or after the holiday.

The last two I raised never had a problem with scours on the goat milk so I'm not prepared for this.
 

djinwa

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sciencegal":8tt7c60k said:
This is cattle country so I figured it would be easy to ask around and have someone let me know if they have a young bottle calf I could buy. But, I found out that most ranchers keep the orphans to graft onto cows that lose their calves. The first one, the black angus was directly from a ranch although she was abandoned by her mother and had either a break to her shoulder or dislocation, she always limped. I finally went to the auction for the red steer which was about 9 months ago, and then this one. This is mainly a cattle auction and according to the manager, the really young ones are twins or they break them off from calf cow pairs when they come in for some reason. I know I'm taking a chance but seems like a better idea than throwing away perfectly good milk.

Ever consider getting rid of some goats? I thought that was one advantage of them over having a cow - easier to adjust their numbers to meet your needs.

Of course, I understand the urge to do stuff just for the experience, or maybe you're attached to some of your goats.
 
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sciencegal

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I am planning on reducing the herd starting with not breeding any this fall (well maybe one that I can't let go to waste). I have a herd of old-style, dual purpose Nubians so all the boys and cull does go for meat. But, this year I have some of the best milkers of my 15 years of breeding. I decided to raise a few more bottle calves and then see what happens in a couple of years. I sell an occasional milker but few people want to make the commitment to milk every day twice a day. I do have milk and cheese customers but not enough.

When you have raised livestock and have done a good job it's hard to just stop plus I just like doing it. I have started on a 3 year plan so that by the time I'm 60 I'll be down to only a few goats. I've selected does over the years that milk through so I will have plenty of milk for two years or more without freshening any more. When I quit raising dairy goats, I'll have to quit drinking milk.

I have to accept the fact that I'm getting on in years and eventually it will be a little too much to continue doing this by myself no matter how much I enjoy it.
 

OLF

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Do the people that want grassfed beef also want hormone and antibiotic free beef? It's kind of tough with auction calves, since many of them need antibiotics early on.
 

BeefmasterB

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OLF":2o7zwjvz said:
Do the people that want grassfed beef also want hormone and antibiotic free beef? It's kind of tough with auction calves, since many of them need antibiotics early on.

Yes! But you'll find most of that demand in the cities where the "all natural" advertising and supply is marketed the most. I hear someone mentioning it almost weekly now down here the Houston area.
 

dun

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sciencegal":171ncudi said:
I do have milk and cheese customers but not enough.
Might want to give some thought to adding yogurt to your product list. The byproducts from the cheese and yogurt make great pig food.
35-40 years ago we used every angle to get the goat dairy to pay and we found that besides the milk, yogurt and butter, selling butcher pigs and raising a couple of hundred dairy calves a year was pretty lucrative.
 

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