Guys and ladies, thanks a lot for your input. Mr. Judy or whoever, I understand that it all different depends on the circumstances. As for the locals, very little cattleman to see, and those who are to follow doing somethings I won't be able. They are very large farmers and by that I mean they have virtually free feed (grain) because they till 10s of thousands of hectares and grow grains. And they can afford to build barns and whatnot for the animals and feed them all winter long. My approach is low input...others around me that are in the similar conditions started to feed hay late October, and keep animals in some sort of pans all winter long...well with no experience I did completely different and almost everyone thought I was crazy...my animals were grazing up until January 2-3d, and moved daily...then I continue to move them to where the hay bales were. My questions are asked not bacause I try to "mimic some guys on the internet"...and yes I came here to ask questions and then try to understand as to WHY people doing it one way or the other.
For example, one thing I try to understand and decide as to when to castrate the bull calves...all suggest as young as possible, but then tell to use hormones...this is something I won't do, because there is a reason American beef with hormones injections are not allowed to sell in Europe...so then we back to square 1...if castrate early, how much smaller are they going to be? Some say the same others say smaller...simple physiology telling me that of course they will be smaller if castrate early, because of lack of testosterone in the system...castrate late then is an option.
Then the next question to follow...if wean bull calves in 6-7 months it make sense to put them with the stockers that are 10-11 months at the time. But I wanted to know is it going to be ok, or the larger animals won't let the smaller to eat?
The last question then...female calves...leave them with mothers, seems like the only option, because otherwise, I would have to have 3 herds to manage in most of the winter, and I think it is just not the best way to do things.
Oh and the last thing to add...most likely I won't even sell the live animals, but rather finish them on grass and have them ready for slaughter July-November at 24-28 months...and market meat
Very different I understand that, that's why I am learning to lower the cost and use some cost saving tips on managing the cattle through winter with minimal cost.
There's been some good feedback on here...and some helpful ones. I think Greg judy does some things right...I also think he takes things to a level that isn't profitable for most producers in many environments. Here's my take.
I calves in late April-End of May in Colorado. I know plenty of people here who calve in Feb/march here. They stress, create a lot of extra work, buy calf warmers, and ultimately lose some calves. We normally have to feed hay through March.
My cows have green grass at the time when they need it most. They calve in great condition and gain it back fast. I work with nature, not against it.
Here's a basic lay down of the steps to my calving season.
1. Get a great night's sleep.
2. Wake up, have a cup of coffee, look out of over the mountains and have breakfast with my family.
3. Go out, see what's calved, tag, vacc, and band. Write it down in my notes. I spend a couple minutes per calf doing it by myself.
4. Go have another cup of coffee and go about my day.
As you can see calving season here is really stressful
Yes I band at birth using a tri-band bander which causes significantly less pain and stress due to the flat band (I've tried a lot of different banders).
I can post some links to several studies about castration timing. Banding at birth causes so little discomfort that there is no loss of gain and minimal stress. Banding after 6 mo you will lose the gain you got from the testosterone plus some.
I did my own experiment with a group of calves to back up the research. The ones I banded at birth weighted more at 7 months than the ones I did at 5 months.
What you're suggesting would cause more stress and pain resulting in loss not extra gain.
I tried the natural weaning deal. Sometimes it worked. Mostly it didn't.
So...I wean my calves in October (replacements go back with the cows). I fenceline wean to reduce stress. I do not creep feed but do bunk train them with alfalfa for the buyers that want them trained. They spend maybe 3 days bawling max, and they keep on growing with very little loss.
This also means that the cows are dried up and requiring a lot less feed when I'm getting into feeding hay. And I get to sell the calves as weaned and vacc. It's good econimcs on both sides and requires very little effort on my part. Typically my calves sell at 580 average this year a little less with the bad drought.
100% of my cows and replacements I kept bred...again...with my 17 year old cow being the first to breed back...again.
Raising cattle can be pretty dang easy, enjoyable, and fairly profitable if you make the right choices on genetics, and your management and handling practices