Wettin' my feet

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killingtime

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I'm new to the cattle business and I have a few questions. I wanted to get my feet wet first so I bought a few cows and everytime you ask someone how things should be done you get a different answer, so I want some of your opinions. So far all I have are purebred angus, who I plan on getting bred by a friends bull. I have a cow and calf pair, the cow is 3 years old, 1300 lbs and the calf is around 400-500lbs and 6 months old. The other heifer is about a 1 1/2 old and 800lbs. I want to know if the weight to age sounds about right( I know it's hard without seeing them), what age before breeding, and when and how to wein the calf. How much feed should I be giving them? What is the life expectany of Angus cows? Also any general info would be greatly appreciated. I know I have alot of questions and I'm sure they have been discussed here before, so if you could just point me in the right direction that would work too. Thanks!
 

cypressfarms

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killingtime":2kawkoa6 said:
I'm new to the cattle business and I have a few questions. I wanted to get my feet wet first so I bought a few cows and everytime you ask someone how things should be done you get a different answer, so I want some of your opinions. So far all I have are purebred angus, who I plan on getting bred by a friends bull. I have a cow and calf pair, the cow is 3 years old, 1300 lbs and the calf is around 400-500lbs and 6 months old. The other heifer is about a 1 1/2 old and 800lbs. I want to know if the weight to age sounds about right( I know it's hard without seeing them), what age before breeding, and when and how to wein the calf. How much feed should I be giving them? What is the life expectany of Angus cows? Also any general info would be greatly appreciated. I know I have alot of questions and I'm sure they have been discussed here before, so if you could just point me in the right direction that would work too. Thanks!


I'm not a registered Angus producer, just a lowly commercial cow/calf produce - but I'll throw my 2 cents:

1.You didn't say what the friend bull was....

2. 1300 pound cow would normally have bigger calves than 400 to 500 pounds at 180 days old. Not really bad, but they should be heavier. I'm guessing your estimating their weight. Be careful, many people have trouble guessing calves weight. Note how wide they are, how long, and how tall. They can be deceiving. If the calf actually weighs 650-700 then your in a whole different ballpark. 800 pounds at a year and a half is kind of small if she's out of the same stock as your cow is.

3. It's the summer, why are you feeding them? Caustic always says you can't make profit out of a sack and I agree with him. Those cows should be able to produce a good, big healthy calf without fee - especially in the summer.

4. Many people wait to breed when the heifers are around 14-16 moths old to calve as 2 year olds. The is no set in stone rule, but you don't want to breed too early (8 or nine months) because it'll stunt the moma. If you wait too long, say 18-20 months, your losing money - for a commercial operation the name of the game is producing calves, the sooner the better without causing harm to moma. The heifers size plays an important part in this. If a heifer is bigger than normal, she will cycle and can be bred earlier without causing harm. If you have a heifer that's 15 months old and still is very small you may hurt her to breed at such a small size. If she's that small, however, you probably need to change her zipcode.

5. Life expectancy varies based on many factors. If the cows are not properly taken care of, or if they live in rocky,sandy ground they may not last as long as a cow in lush pastures whose vaccinated and taken care of properly. With cows, it's more a factor of them losing their teeth. Once a cow's teeth have been grinded down to the gums, they cannot forage as well as others and start to lose condition. I would hazard to say that teeth are more important than age. I have seen 18 year old cows still raise great calves with good teeth, and I have seen 10 year olds woth no mouth (read teeth) that couldn't make it. Most crossbreds are longer lived as a general rule, but your angus' should last a good 12 to 14 years minimum.

Hope this helps!
 

BeefmasterB

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Sounds like you have a pretty good project to deal with! There's a pretty good write-up on CT you might want to read that could answer several of your questions:

http://www.cattletoday.com/archive/2003 ... T295.shtml

If you want some breed specific information you might want to tap into http://www.angus.org/

Since you have a breeding age heifer, 1 1/2 years old, I'd be critical about the neighbors bull and what kind of birth weight it's produces. Depending on your heifers frame, that bull could be just fine or problematic. Although many folks might breed their heifers at 12 or 13 months, I prefer 18 months so as not to push them. 800 lbs might be fine for 1 1/2 years, again, depending on their frame.

Is grass available?
 
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killingtime

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The friend bull is a purebred black angus, that from what I have seen makes a nice calf. I'm not sure about birth weights though. I plan on getting the moma cow and the 1 1/2 year old bred back pretty soon.
I do have grass available but my pasture is limited until I get some fence work done( It's hot in NC in July!). I'm not feeding right now, but I know I will have to feed this winter, especially if I increase my herd. I agree that feeding will definately eat up all your profits.

I attached some pictures that I took this afternoon. Thanks for all the info!

3 years old
blackie.JPG


6 months old
calf4.JPG


1 1/2 years old
midnight.JPG
 

Bez+

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killingtime":1d5ryq1q said:
The friend bull is a purebred black angus, that from what I have seen makes a nice calf. I'm not sure about birth weights though. I plan on getting the moma cow and the 1 1/2 year old bred back pretty soon.
I do have grass available but my pasture is limited until I get some fence work done( It's hot in NC in July!). I'm not feeding right now, but I know I will have to feed this winter, especially if I increase my herd. I agree that feeding will definately eat up all your profits.

I attached some pictures that I took this afternoon. Thanks for all the info!

3 years old
blackie.JPG


6 months old
calf4.JPG


1 1/2 years old
midnight.JPG

It is a kinder and gentler board here so I will be nice and polite.

After making a comment about not often commenting on cattle - I feel obliged to make one here - and once again it is a person who thinks he is getting quality Angus. What I see here is a person who thinks he will raise purebred and registered cattle - when in fact he has not got the quality he would need.

And he has been ridden all the way to the bank by an unscrupulous seller preying on a newbie.

I am seeing more and more of this as colour and trend chasers belatedly get on the band wagon of "black is best".

First off that cow looks very dairy to me - and she is typical of what many think a purebred registered cow should be - especially those new to the business. In fact she is a relativle poor example of a decent Angus.

In my opinion she might also be lacking in minerals.

Pull that calf off her now and sell it or put it in a separate pen. Whatever the cow is getting - give her more. I think she needs it

All calves / yearlings look skinny and rangy - they are either hungry, wormy or just bad genetices - or a combination of all three. Other than the genetics - fix them and feed them.

I do not care how hot it is - I am far hotter here than you will ever get and we still get the work done - so get off your butt and get the fencing done so these animals have some decent grass. Get ready the night before and put in four or more hours the next day - start just before daylight and you will be fine - you can get a pile of work done in a week like this. No more excuses.

Put some wormer into them as well - they look more than just hungry to me.

Probably better to sell that bottom pic for whatever you can get for it - looks very inbred to me - head far too large for its body - and no amount of feed will widen that funnel shaped hind quarters.

Your six month old is ready to go and would not come close to being a breeder - fatten (bet that is an exercise in futility) and eat or sell.

Use any monies to buy one quality replacement!

Time for all to come back and tell me I am a prick - but none of these are real good animals from the pics - and I think you personally were sold a bill of goods - we see this ALL THE TIME with new folks on these boards - not your fault - your seller - in my opinion - was a person of low moral standing who was quite happy to do this to you.

In all honesty I might keep the top one as a commercial prospect for the herd after seeing a few additional pics of her and after her being fed and wormed - but the others would have been gone long ago.

Do some additional due diligence - and DO NOT over stock your place - which most small holders seem to do when they start out.

1. Weaning? Separate them and make it a solid separation - let them bawl as long as they want - or sell that calf right off the cow - probably your best bet.

2. How much feed? Lots of info on this - but here is a good way to judge it - put a pile of feed out on the ground every day - if you do indeed feed every day - when the cows almost clean it up - you are there. I know some will disagree - but these animals look hungry to me.

3. Life expectancy? Do not ask Angus - ask "COWS" - they are all pretty much the same - just like Europeans, Americans, French, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, etc - all breeds live as long as their individual genetics allow - plan on 12 good years - some less and some more - then judge from there - I have a couple that are going strong in their late teens and have seen them go more than twenty.

4. General info? You better not have paid more than about 300 bucks for any of those animals. Lots of good Angus folks on this board - you should be talking to them - your seller was a person I would never go back to.

5. Breeding - We do not breed on age as much as weight - if the calf is a normal calf and growing well - we generally breed in the 8-900 pound range and sometimes in a bit heavier (1000 pounds plus) range if the breeding dates do not match our desired "calf on the ground" date - we try to drop everything on the ground in a 4 week period with a one week on either end allowed for "misfits and such" making our calving period six weeks in total - and that is just us.

It generally makes our cattle around 12 - 13 months of age when they are bred and that generally gives us her first calf at around or just before the two year old point - plus or minus a month or two depending on a bunch of other factors that do not need to be discussed here.

That is how WE do it - what you do will depend upon you and your operation. I would not breed any of your younger stock - they would not make our program.

6. General info? Papers for cattle are schitt! Does not mean anything - so forget those magic words - purebred and / or registered. Lots of commercial herds out there are topping yours right now. In fact I ALWAYS recommend a commercial bred cow calf pair for the newbie to start off with - three way - makes them realize how little importance should be placed upon papers and has a whole bunch of benefits that the newbie will come to realize on his own.

7. General info? You have entered a business that will take your @ss and kick it every chance it gets - so hang on and go for the ride - or become a leader and pave the road - either way good luck and welcome.

Suggest you stay at no more than 5 animals total - including calves - until you actually know what you are doing. That would be for several years my friend - it is not an easy game and that dirty, growly, crusty old [email protected]@rd farmer driving the pickup truck that should have been replaced years ago is probably me - and yeah, we really do know what we are talking about - so find one of them in your area to help you out - the guidance you are receiving now is poor at best.

Finally - you sell those bottom cattle as breeders or anything other than meat - then you are no better than the person who sold them to you - remember that.

Regards

Bez+
 

Ryder

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Agree with Bez.
Purebred means nothing unless they are registered and you intend to raise breeding stock. These animals are not breeding stock quality.

I understand that you are going to use your friends bull and I can't fault this if it is for free. But if I had my drothers I would breed to a different breed for heterosis. Probably Hereford.
If you don't understand heterosis, look it up or do a search. Plenty information available.
But you would come out better to consider getting rid of them and put your money into better beef cattle. That is if you plan to seriously raise cattle.

You are new and just starting out with only a few head. Be thankful for the harsh criticism now while you only have a few head. You did the right thing to ask.

Check with your county agent for manuals,etc. on beef cattle production. Also information on pasture . That is one of the main things.
Go to top of page and click on cattle today.com web site. Look in menu for books. Get "A Guide to Raising Beef Cattle" by Thomas, I think it is. It will give you a lot of basic information you need.



You say you are in NC. Put that under the avatar space. Makes it easier to identify you for future posts. What would be the right answer for a person in one part of the country/world may not be right for another location.

Best to you in the future.
 

kscowboy

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Stay harsh Bez , us beginners need it ! I learned after my first year you can sure waste a lot of time and money raising runts or sub par animals , yes they all taste good , but it's really a pleasure to get your hands on well bred stock and watch them blow up without having to hand em 10 dollars in supplement feed each week to get em there. After spending a lot of time hunting I found an old guy who sells me some of his calves and set me up with a couple nice heifers and there is just a world of difference and I found they cost less in the long run.
 

Ryder

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Bez+":wn71e4ro said:
Harsh?

I thought I was straight up and passed on some good info

Cheers

Bez+
I, of course, was referring to the comments I had made. :roll: I have sometimes been taken to task for being strident in speech and am working hard to be more sensitive.

Would never think of your comments as anything other than soft and gentle. :nod:
 

3waycross

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As much as I respect Bez I am gonna differ with him a bit here.

First. the 3 yr old is not so horrible that she should go. I have seen worse praised here. She's just not great. I think a lot of her problem is condition. Which leads me to

Number two. Get that calf off of her, and get them both a health program The fact that they are in NC and not slick this time of year tells me they are hungry, wormy, and probably mineral deficient.

Number three. Do whatever it takes to get that 1 1/2 yr old off of your place, she's not what you want to raise calves off of, and for sure not the future of anyone's herd.

Number four. I actually like the 6 month old and if that's her mother in the background of that picture she's not bad for her age size wise.

Number five and MOST important. Find yourself a Mentor. Someone with some cow smarts can and will save you thousands. Especially if they are unbiased and don't have a dog in the fight so to speak. I would be leery of taking advice from anyone who is in a position to profit from your choices.
 
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killingtime

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Let me start by saying thanks for all the time and the honest answers.

Bez you should be happy to know I should be finished with the fence by next week, I didn't mean I wasn't wanting to get out in the heat, I was just making a joke. I wormed all of them last week so hopefully that will help them get slicked up. And when I said they were purebred I was just trying to describe them, I didn't mean they were great animals nor do I want to have anything to do with papers. My friends bull is convienent and free thats why I was going to go that route, hopefully it will be worth it.

And I don't plan on getting more than I have now (4) until I figure this game out a little better.

Thanks for the help!
 

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I STARTED the same way, you have to learn one way are the other. If thats waht you want than go for it. Yes you should of had your infastructure before you ever brough cattle to your place, but....... doesn't matter now does it. You learn what to look for & what not to look for as you see more & more animals. And there or a few sellers out there that will sell you anything. Just beware of that. I started with (2) one Angus & (1) brangus. Now i have (7) some of my cows aren't the best looking cattle but the make a nice calf. And they keep my grass down, which keeps me off the tractor and with my family and other things. ITs not an easy road. Until i got out and talked with cattle people and looked at a lot of different cattle I didn't know what "good cattle" looked like. I have an ideal now. I'm just went thru my first year with cattle, no problems so far. Good luck to you. And ask if you don't know. There aren't any stupid questions if you don't know :cowboy:
 

Bez+

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Ryder":33curyed said:
Bez+":33curyed said:
Harsh?

I thought I was straight up and passed on some good info

Cheers

Bez+

I, of course, was referring to the comments I had made. :roll: I have sometimes been taken to task for being strident in speech and am working hard to be more sensitive.

Would never think of your comments as anything other than soft and gentle. :nod:

I thank you for the kind comments - and I would like to state categorically that you have never offended me with any of your comments to me or others - I will admit they have made me chuckle at times though - laughing with you - not at you.

Yeah - I have lost my edge - age does that. 8)

Out of here for a few days - have a couple long trips to make - crossing the pond a couple of times

Cheers

Bez+
 

talldog

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There's HARSH and then there's--- TOO HARSH-- which I think the majority were !! Everybody has to start on the bottom and work there way up--- Criticisim is best given out with a explanation !!! He's looking for some HELP, not a BASHING !!!
Everybody is NOT as SMART as MOST of you !!! Can YOU remember the mistakes you've made along the way !!! :stop: :stop: :stop:
 
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killingtime

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I almost forgot. How do you put your location in, I didn't see anywhere to enter it.

And yes that is the calfs moma in the background of the picture.
 

backhoeboogie

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killingtime":z8mrb35l said:
I almost forgot. How do you put your location in, I didn't see anywhere to enter it.

And yes that is the calfs moma in the background of the picture.

Go to the upper left of the screen and click on "User Control Panel". Once you are in there you will see some tabs on the top of the screen. There is a tab for "profile" and I think it is the second from the left. Click on that and go in to update your profile with any information you want to add - including state etc.
 

Bez+

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talldog":15ty8g8c said:
There's HARSH and then there's--- TOO HARSH-- which I think the majority were !! Everybody has to start on the bottom and work there way up--- Criticisim is best given out with a explanation !!! He's looking for some HELP, not a BASHING !!!
Everybody is NOT as SMART as MOST of you !!! Can YOU remember the mistakes you've made along the way !!! :stop: :stop: :stop:

Tell you what - he got advice and lots of it - here is some for you

Relax before you have a coronary.

Find something for your blood pressure problem.

Go find a new use for your fingers besides typing stop signs.

He has already responded and you are the idiot taking offence

Big hug - because I think you need it :D

Bez+
 

rockridgecattle

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I agree they need feed. The third pic would not be a replacement on this farm. That animal is boney. Not a good genetic choice. When she is heavy in calf, and then calved, she will not be able to keep on the weight or produce a good calf...not a good feed converter. Make sense?
One thing i would like to comment on is their color. For pure blacks, the red, or copper coloring hints to mineral deficient, especially for copper. Upgrade your free choice mineral to a better product more suited for your lands. Not all minerals are created equal.
 

talldog

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Bez+":2sih38t2 said:
talldog":2sih38t2 said:
There's HARSH and then there's--- TOO HARSH-- which I think the majority were !! Everybody has to start on the bottom and work there way up--- Criticisim is best given out with a explanation !!! He's looking for some HELP, not a BASHING !!!
Everybody is NOT as SMART as MOST of you !!! Can YOU remember the mistakes you've made along the way !!! :stop: :stop: :stop:

Tell you what - he got advice and lots of it - here is some for you

Relax before you have a coronary.

Find something for your blood pressure problem.

Go find a new use for your fingers besides typing stop signs.

He has already responded and you are the idiot taking offence


Hey Pez----If I wanted advise, it wouldn't be from you---And by the way-- I got your stupid !!! :tiphat:
 

dyates

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I agree with 3-way more than some of the others. Cow and calf have promise. Get them wormed and on a mineral program. Get rid of the yearling. Look at the size of her head compared to her body. She is stunted from worms and/or lack of feed. This is what your calves will look like as yearlings if you don't fix the problem(s).
 
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