The Zoo

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zookeeper

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Hello all,
Have only recently found this forum and think it is great, so thought I would share our little adventure into the cattle "business".

The plan.
To build up a "herd" from more or less scratch, and on a shoestring budget.
With the added benefit of having home produced beef along the way.

The story so far.
March 2006: Purchased 6yo Jersey cow with Charolaise heifer calf at foot for $500 Aus (calf slaughtered and eaten)

We have access to dairy cross calves from a nearby dairy. These calves are usually dairy/Hereford cross. Sometimes the calves are Jersey, sometimes Freisian, and sometimes Swiss Brown, mostly sired by a Hereford bull.
They cost $30 to $40 Aus, depending on how sappy they are.
The idea being that the old girl has 2 calves swing off her for 3-4 months, then they are weaned off and a new pair are purchased.
We started off buying bull calves, which we steer at weaning, but have added a few heifers to have a bit of a bash at breeding. (a weak heart never won a fair maiden they tell me)

The calves are let run with her all day and are locked up in their pen at night. The cow is milked in the morning and then the calves are let on to strip her out, and then run with her all day again.

To date she has raised 10 calves and supplied the house with milk without a freshen.

Jan 2007: Purchased 1x Jersey/Hereford heifer, and 1x Swiss Brown/Charbray heifer. With the idea being that whichever heifer threw the best calf would be the sort of cow that we would start buying/keeping.

May 2008: Borrowed neighbors Droughtmaster bull to serve heifers and Jersey.

March 2009: Both heifers drop heifer calves. (We think they are beautiful)

So at the moment we have,

1 x Jersey cow (due to calf in a week or so to the DM bull)
1 x Jersey/Hereford heifer, (red and brindle with a broken baldy face) with a red broken baldy faced heifer calf by the DM bull at foot.
1 x Swiss Brown/Charbray heifer (dark chocolate) with a fawn coloured heifer calf by the DM bull at foot.
2 x Freisian/Hereford steers (black with baldy faces)
1 x Red Freisian/Hereford steer (red or orange with a baldy face)
2 x Red Freisian/Hereford heifers (red or orange with baldy faces)
1 x Red Freisian/Hereford/Charolaise heifer (white with red patches)

Hence the user name, as the paddock looks a bit like a zoo, eleven cattle and hardly two the same colour.
(oh, to have an even line of cattle. One day perhaps, one day)

Now I know that these cattle are no oil paintings, (cow hocked, pot bellied, post legged, sway backed etc etc, in fact too many faults to mention) but seeing as we have nothing to lose and everything to gain we shall have a bit of a bash at this.

If anybody is at all interested I shall see if I can get the camera working and post a few pics.
Bit addictive this cattle thing isn't it.

Cheers.







To date she has raised 10 calves and supplied the house with milk without a freshen.
 

cmf1

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:welcome: Sounds to me like you've got a great bit of fun going on and you're able to eat off of it also.
Unless you're spending a ton on feed, sounds like you may even be running at a profit if your selling weaned calves , AND, you get to feed your addiction as well.
Addictions are only a problem when they control you. Sounds to me like you've got this one well in hand.
I'd love to see pix of the zoo. My little herd's got a fair amount of color in it also. That's the way I like'em.
 

bigbull338

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:welcome: sounds like you have a real good start on raising beef for your family.an you have a real good nurse cow as well.
 

Keren

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I'd love to see pics of the zoo! I love a licorice all-sorts herd ... grey gets kindof boring sometimes ... but not as bad a black! Sorry angus guys, I just like a bit of colour, but then what am I saying I have solid white goats and white with red heads :roll: ... anyway I'm rambling ...

Zookeeper, are you in Australia?
 
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zookeeper

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Ta for the encouragement all, I shall try to get some photos up soon.

K.
Yes, South East Queensland to be more precise. Feel free to ramble all you like as well.

B.
Yes, she doesn't owe us anything that's for sure. She is a bit stand offish with any new calves to start with, so she has to be bailed up to let them on for the first few days, but once she gets used to them she lets them on no problem. She's definitely the boss though.

C.
Yes, the more colour the merrier for me as well, for now at least.

Am actually trying to reduce our "footprint" on the Earth, so the cattle are a part of an attempt to have a Permaculture type set-up here on the blocks.

The cattle are spread over two properties at the moment, one 10 acres, and one 42 acres. The 10 acre place is not bad country as far as feed/grass goes, that is where the house cow and the weaners are kept. The 42 acres is a rough block, but it happens to be the one next to the DM bull, so the heifers have to be here. We are improving it all the time though, with a bit of slashing on the tractor and some pasture seed thrown about occasionally.
We have actually had one of the best seasons for about 10-12 years here at the moment, grass everywhere there is. We may have to lighten off, stock wise, when winter gets here though.
No matter, there is plenty of room in the freezers.

Having to hold down a full time job in the City, (about an hours drive each way) isn't really conducive to getting much done around the place, but we are having fun trying.

Am not exactly computer savvy, so I'll see how I go with the pics.
Cheers.
 
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zookeeper

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19032009_008_.jpg

The pride of the fleet.

(It has only taken me a week to upload this)
Will see if it works in a minute and try to post a few more.
IMG_3343_2.JPG

Slashing the block.
 

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