Missing Cattle

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MadRanchTX

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Over the weekend 7 of my 8 heifers disappeared. I talked with the neighbors, nobody has seen them, Talked with the sheriff, nobody has reported loose cows. About 6 months ago they all went over the (old) fence and a couple of hours later a neighbor was knocking on the door to let me know. I don't think they went over the fence this time. Obviously I don't make a living on 8 cows but never the less that is real money out the window. Not sure what to do from here. Any suggestions on how to proceed?
 

farmwriter

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May be too late to catch them now, but if you have pics, brands, ear tags or anything that might help identify them, I'd send it to every stockyard and processor I could find. Does TX have a state Ag investigations dept? Might contact them, too.
 

TexasBred

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MadRanchTX":20fizvs9 said:
Over the weekend 7 of my 8 heifers disappeared. I talked with the neighbors, nobody has seen them, Talked with the sheriff, nobody has reported loose cows. About 6 months ago they all went over the (old) fence and a couple of hours later a neighbor was knocking on the door to let me know. I don't think they went over the fence this time. Obviously I don't make a living on 8 cows but never the less that is real money out the window. Not sure what to do from here. Any suggestions on how to proceed?

Call Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
 

djinwa

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What's your situation?

How many acres were they on?

You've inspected all the fence and no damage? How tall is the fence and how old the heifers?

You mention an old fence - did you upgrade?

Have you walked around outside the fence looking for tracks or crap or hair on the wire? Are neighbor cows across the fence?

If stolen, any reason they'd leave that one particular heifer?
 
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MadRanchTX

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Update:
Got home after work last night and drove around the surrounding area. I saw a sign saying 'found lost cows' with an address. So I go to the place, turns out it is a horse ranch, and talk to the owner. He shows me the heifers, which are mine, and says they were in his yard Sunday morning when he got up. I get the girls home safely and all is well. Here is the really strange part. To get from my place to his place four miles away they had to either go through the only unlocked (but closed and latched) gate on my property or go over a five foot fence walk four miles down the road and go over a five foot fence to get into his yard, he has a man gate in this fence but said it was closed. I don't know what to think.

A little background on my situation. I grew up in Grapevine,TX nice little town but I'm basically a city boy. In 2002 I was transfered by my job to Stockton,CA pretty much the armpit of America. Ended up buying a house 30 miles east of Stockton in the Sierra foothills. Nice house on an acre. Beautiful, quite, out in the country, expensive. Even that far out of town it is half the house for twice the price as TX. So after a bit I'm sold on living in the country and want more land, I just can't afford it in CA. In 2007 I get notice that I'm being transfered back to TX in 6 months. I'm on board with that here is my chance. I get a map of the Dallas/Forth Worth area take a compass and draw a 90 mile diameter circle centered on the office, tell the wife go home find us a place between 20-50 acres inside this circle. Shes not real crazy about my plan but also wants to go home. We end up buying a 45 acre lot from an elderly lady who's husband had passed. House is in decent shape, nothing special but livable. Very nice lot with a lot of potential but also very run down. 90% of the fence is 30-40 years old, place is overrun with weeds (she had goats so I guess weeds are OK) all kinds of junk just laying around incredible what people will do.We move in July 4,2008. Lot of work ahead but I'm extremely excited. Like I said I'm basically a city boy and don't know squat about livestock but what I do know is I can't afford to lose the Ag exemption on the property. I start reinforcing the weak areas of fence and go buy some heifers, mistake #1! I keep the girls penned up for a week and walk around them talking quietly trying to let them get use to me and vice versa. After a week I let them out into a pasture, their good for a couple of days then one night I walk out to them en mass they turn around and jump a four foot fence. My jaw is hanging down about even with my belly button, I would have never guessed a 600 pound cow would clear a four foot fence. Lesson learned #1 CUBES are your friend. I was planning on replacing the bulk of the fence anyway but that priority got moved to the top. 7000' of 5' tall fence later things are looking up. There is about 2000' of 4' fence remaining but it is in good shape. The girls are pretty calm now not pets but they run to me not away from me. They are now breeding age and I need to get that done this summer. I'd like to rent a bull for this purpose but have not had much luck yet apparently folks in these parts don't do that. I guess I could buy a bull but that doesn't make a lot of sense to me for eight cows. Anyway thats my story, I learn something new everyday and and am having fun with it. Wished I'd have done this when the kids were little, my kids will never enjoy it but hopefully the their kids will.
 

SRBeef

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Also glad to hear you got the heifers back. Are you sure they didn't run into a bull somewhere on their travels? you may not need to rent a bull after all...

I would suggest you borrow a good, known bull if you can't rent one or as a last resort buy one, even for 8 heifers. The reason being you want a calving ease bull and want to know what sort of calves you are going to have around the place for a couple years. You could sell him after breeding.

Are you rotationally grazing? That would help you get more grazing out of your acres.

My other suggestion would be to run an electric wire around the inside of your fence, old or new. I have a dairy farmer neighbor with a Jersey bull directly on the other side of an old t post 5 wire fence from my now cycling heifers. I put 5" standoffs and 14 ga wire on his side of the fence and hooked it to my existing hot wire on my side fed by a Gallagher M600.

That bull, while still loud, won't come near that wire. They can smell it. Your heifers once they get out may try it again. Putting a hot wire inside doesn't cost much per foot. Even on a new barb wire fence, I have been making the middle of 5 wires smooth 12 Ga and hot. If you have a very bad section of fence just put step-in posts in the inside of it a couple feet and keep them back from the fence.

You may need to train your heifers to electric for it to be effective. get them in the corral, put a tray of cubes or hay on the other side of a hot wire across a corner and leave them in for a while.

I agree about the cubes. With mine the only place I give them treat/training grain is in the corral feedbunk. This way when I need them in the corral I just have to bang on the white bucket I use to carry some grain and they come running.

Best of luck to you. Jim
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Check with your area Cooperative Extension agent. He may know someone that would "rent" you a bull. Or better yet, might have a yearling bull to sell you. Just make sure whatever bull you use, he is a calving ease bull.
You think cattle getting out is bad - wait till you have calves too big to get out of the heifers!
 
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MadRanchTX

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I'd like to not go electric if I can help it but we'll see. I'm still not positive they jumped, we had a little friction with the son of the lady we bought from. He lived on site and was basically forced out, I think he was hoping to inherit. I don't know exactly where he is but I do know he is still in the area and we've had other weird things happen. I not making any accusations but I'm not ruling it out either. I've talked to enough bill collectors and neighbors to have an idea about him.
I have the place divided into (2) roughly 11 acre pastures, (1) 15 acre pasture with a little mixed woods, and (1) 6 acre pasture. Each pasture has a water source. My job requires a fair bit of travel so daily rotation is out, I'm trying to rotate through the 4 pastures to make the most of the available grass and allow regrowth. Haven't been doing it long enough to see if this will work but makes more sense then just letting them have free range of the place. Grass/weeds are the next thing on my list. The 3 smaller pastures have a lot of weeds but also a lot of grass, the large pasture has a lot of open dirt/rock. I'll leave it as is until I get the other ones in shape and then figure out how to deal with it.I was going to spray but it's been so windy this spring that I haven't been able to. I'm trying mowing on one of the pastures instead. I didn't cut short just topped everything. I'll mow again mid summer if the weeds poke up again. Might be a better way to go in the long run anyway. The girls are all black angus, not registered. Found a guy (via the feed store) running a 1700 acre ranch south of town to purchase from. I liked that idea better then buying from a sale barn.
 

cypressfarms

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MadRanchTX":ic8nzjo0 said:
I'd like to not go electric if I can help it but we'll see.


Then go "solar". For a couple of hundred bucks you can buy a Parmak solar fence charger that would cover 25 miles. I've got two, they work great for areas that don't have access to electricity. One side benefit, in your case, is if "someone" is doing something weird, they might get zapped. :)

Have you notified any local law enforcement people about the potential problem with the son of the lady you bought from? It may come in handy later if it turns out foul play was at hand.
 

grubbie

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Don't rule out electric. It's cheap, easy, and effective. I have very good barbed wire fences, but I use one electric wire with a 12" stand off in the bull pasture to keep the bulls from sniffing cows over the fence. It has saved me a lot of heartache, I waited too long to try it. Don't make my mistake.
 
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MadRanchTX

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I have talked with the sheriff about the son so it is on record.

I had not considered solar powered fence charger. I'll look into it.
Thanks for the advice.
 

TheBullLady

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Since it sounds like you're not around the place much, you might want to find a reputable"local" that will keep an eye on the place for you.... you know, just drop by at odd times. I'm south of Waco, and they just recently busted a couple of guys that had a cattle rustling business going on. They'd stolen over 4000 head. With so many people unemployed, it seems like more of an opportunity for people to take things that don't belong to them! And you really have to be careful if you a have a schedule, and they know when you're around, and when you're not.
 

kerley

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I have to agree with your coment about Stockton, California. My son lives there and can't escape soon enough. Stockton, California is a real Rats Nest for the most part.
Back to Alabama.

We took a week end off to go to the beach. While there my wife Kathy called home to get phone messages. There was four threatning calls from a new neighbor that we had never met. She informed us that our cattle were on her property. If they ruined her newly planted garden we would be held responsible. She also called the Sheriff. She was very rude to be living in an area where most every family has cattle. We left our trip early and when we arrived home our cattle were all where they should be. Kathy called the neighbor and squared her away in a hurry.

We have good fences and I am glad we do. Good luck with your cattle.

~Tom
 

dcara

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Have you checked to see what the actual Ag exemption rule is for your county? I'm in Rockwall county east of Dallas where the rule is you have to produce an Ag product 5 out of every 7 years. So depending on what the previous owner was doing with the property you may have some time to change/work on your situation. Regarding the cows jumping, if you travel much then getting this problem fixed is even more critical. If you have some determined jumpers you will be better off selling them now while prices are good and buy some non-jumping bred spring calvers from an area rancher in the fall/winter when prices drop and after you've had a chance to strengthen your fences. As far as a bull goes, 8 girls probably won't keep him busy enough and he may go looking for love in all the wrong places, fence or no fence. Good luck
 
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MadRanchTX

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I'm not so sure they are determined fence jumpers. I watched them jump a year or so ago but they were young and fresh off a large ranch. My one unchained gate is now chained, we'll see what happens.

I do travel a fair bit but the schedule is completely unpredictable and the better half is always home. I've also read about the increase in rustling because of the economy.
 

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