What are the basic works for raising cows?

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morris_vu

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I'm thinking about raising cows (eventually up to 50). What are the things I'd need to consider such as vet care, land size, equipment, etc. I've never done it before, so anything will help. Thanks!
 

TCRanch

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Do you have neighbors with cattle or someone who can mentor you? Local Sale Barn is a great place to hang out, watch, talk to "seasoned" ranchers and learn a lot. Is there a college Ag Extension office near you? A lot of them offer classes. Heather Smith Thomas has written some very good books on raising cattle, health/nutrition and calving. Become acquainted with a large animal vet - you will need one! Vaccines, calving, diseases, nutrition, etc vary depending on where you live. And of course CT is a wealth of information :). Welcome and best of luck!
 

Rafter S

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You got excellent advice from TCR, especially the part about finding a mentor. I'd strongly advise getting some hands on experience with cattle before getting some of your own. Jumping in with both feet and not knowing what you're doing is a train wreck looking for a place to happen. The same is true with the restaurant business, and most others.
 

kilroy60

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I'll piggy back on what TCR and Rafter posted. Get some experienced help to assist. Don't depend on friends to help when you have trouble or issues because they may have issues too that they need to take care of first. Also, do you have access to hay fields and equipment to make hay? It's not as easy as it looks but it can be a good "hobby" if that's what you're looking for. Just make plans first before you jump in with both feet.
 

backhoeboogie

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Read the previous posts. You need the right tools and facilities. A mentor will help you. If you leave everything up to a vet, you'll never profit. On the other hand, you need to know when a vet's help is needed.

Could you imagine driving a nail without a hammer? How about tightening bolts without a wrench? Cattle are no different. You need the right tools. You need to learn how to use the tools. A good mentor will show you and help you way more than words in this forum.
 

Rafter S

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backhoeboogie":1dgykwmx said:
Read the previous posts. You need the right tools and facilities. A mentor will help you. If you leave everything up to a vet, you'll never profit. On the other hand, you need to know when a vet's help is needed.

Could you imagine driving a nail without a hammer? How about tightening bolts without a wrench? Cattle are no different. You need the right tools. You need to learn how to use the tools. A good mentor will show you and help you way more than words in this forum.

And also remember that owning a hammer doesn't make you a carpenter.
 

HDRider

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Patience, strong will and a supportive mate, plus about 18 million other things that all cost money. There are some good cattle people here, but you cannot appreciate what it takes until you do it yourself. A graduate program takes 6 to 7 years.

I am a freshman myself, in my first year of study. Learn from those that have got their degree, and are in private practice.
 

cowgirl8

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Don't do like a lot of people I see asking questions on FB cow groups.
1. Don't buy sale barn cows. We do not sell good cows at the sale barn, we dump the bad ones and sometimes they look really good.
2. Don't get cows until you have a place to work them. Doesn't have to be a big elaborate set of corrals, but you need something. I see so many wonder what to do when they need to pull a calf or doctor a cow. And since they are inexperienced, doing it without the safety of a pen with a chute is very very dangerous. Had a friend who works at a small animal vet get her clock rung because they helped a neighbor pull a calf from a cow they had no history of(and a simbra to boot)... They got the calf pulled in an open pen, then stood around to watch her get up. All that heifer knew was that those humans just hurt the heck out of her and yeah, she got her revenge. My friend was left with a broken leg..
3. DO NOT START WITH BRED HEIFERS!!!!!!!
I'll probably think of more...but these are the most mistakes people make who are just starting out.....
 

BRYANT

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cowgirl8":11elhj9m said:
Don't do like a lot of people I see asking questions on FB cow groups.
1. Don't buy sale barn cows. We do not sell good cows at the sale barn, we dump the bad ones and sometimes they look really good.
2. Don't get cows until you have a place to work them. Doesn't have to be a big elaborate set of corrals, but you need something. I see so many wonder what to do when they need to pull a calf or doctor a cow. And since they are inexperienced, doing it without the safety of a pen with a chute is very very dangerous. Had a friend who works at a small animal vet get her clock rung because they helped a neighbor pull a calf from a cow they had no history of(and a simbra to boot)... They got the calf pulled in an open pen, then stood around to watch her get up. All that heifer knew was that those humans just hurt the heck out of her and yeah, she got her revenge. My friend was left with a broken leg..
3. DO NOT START WITH BRED HEIFERS!!!!!!!
I'll probably think of more...but these are the most mistakes people make who are just starting out.....
#1 is not right some good cattle goes through a sale barn., especially a big sale like OKC Stockyards. I have bought and still own good sale barn cattle. You do need someone who knows something about cattle to help you buy out of a sale barn. To say no good cows are at a sale barn is a big statement that is not true.
#2 Is good advice don't try and buy cattle with out some kind of a place to work them, can start small and add to it as needed.
#3 great advice stay away from buying bred heifers if you don't know about cattle. I don't like to even keep replacement heifers, I do sometimes. I will never buy bred heifers out out of a sale barn even though they will always say ''they are bred to a low birth weight Angus bull''. That's the way I do it some people buy them and do fine, I know a man that bought 70 last year from different sales some even looked small to me he pulled 3 and only lost 1 and did great on them when he sold them in the fall.
 

cowgirl8

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My #1 is advice to a newbe.. They go there looking for a good deal to get started. As a typical rancher, we do not haul a cow that is in perfect form to a sale barn. Sometimes they may be bred, but to a new person in the cattle business, will they be able to handle the problems we sold her for. Bad udder, prolapse history, bad mother, crazy and dangerous to be around. There are many reasons we sell a cow, but its not because she's making us money. I totally stand by that one due to so many comments made in FB cow groups complaining the bred cow they bought at the sale barn is having problems that, they have no corrals to address them in.. Special sales are good, but most people wanting in, want a good deal and special sales you pay more.
 

dun

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cowgirl8":1otfjepl said:
My #1 is advice to a newbe.. They go there looking for a good deal to get started. As a typical rancher, we do not haul a cow that is in perfect form to a sale barn. Sometimes they may be bred, but to a new person in the cattle business, will they be able to handle the problems we sold her for. Bad udder, prolapse history, bad mother, crazy and dangerous to be around. There are many reasons we sell a cow, but its not because she's making us money. I totally stand by that one due to so many comments made in FB cow groups complaining the bred cow they bought at the sale barn is having problems that, they have no corrals to address them in.. Special sales are good, but most people wanting in, want a good deal and special sales you pay more.
Stand by it all you want, it still isn;t 100% right
 

salebarn junkie

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There's alot of good cattle go through the salebarn for no other reason than somebody had a bill the pay. You can buy crap cattle off the farm just as easy. I sold 40 of the best cows I ever had at the salebarn because the IRS wanted money. The main thing get somebody to help you.
 

cowgirl8

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#4 Get a trailer first...That's another complaint/excuse I see on FB cow groups, "We don't have a trailer."
Just a note, we would never ever sell a good cow at a sale barn probably because we'd never let ourselves get in the position of needing to. Good money making cows, we'd sell privately If we ever needed to sell a good cow. Still a little scary selling to someone who's just starting out though. I've seen people in those FB cow groups publically trash the person they brought from because the calf the cow was carrying died at birth. I've seen people say they got taken advantage of.. :???: Or this one person who bought a group of heifers and out of the 10 got only 2 live calves. Which goes back to #3, don't start out with heifers.
I had a friend that did that, her husband bought like 20 bred heifers. She was telling me how excited she was and could hardly wait for the calves to start popping out. I asked if she knew what they were bred to and she said Simmental... :shock: This was in the early 90s... Saw her a year later and she said they lost most of them, heifers and calves.
 

BRYANT

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cowgirl8":3jjn7x9x said:
Special sales are good, but most people wanting in, want a good deal and special sales you pay more.
:lol2: :lol2: that's funny, I know several men that puts together groups of sale barn cattle then takes them to a '' special sale '' to sell them. There must be lots of people with your mind set because they will most always bring much better than what they gave for them at the weekly sale barn. Sale barn junk becomes special sale quality, don/t think so if she was a good cow at the special sale she was just as good at the weekly sale.
 

backhoeboogie

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BRYANT":3mfe4rig said:
cowgirl8":3mfe4rig said:
Special sales are good, but most people wanting in, want a good deal and special sales you pay more.
:lol2: :lol2: that's funny, I know several men that puts together groups of sale barn cattle then takes them to a '' special sale '' to sell them. There must be lots of people with your mind set because they will most always bring much better than what they gave for them at the weekly sale barn. Sale barn junk becomes special sale quality, don/t think so if she was a good cow at the special sale she was just as good at the weekly sale.

People have been making a living horse trading all their lives. There's an old saying about a "sucker being born every day" and it seems to be fact.

Entire estates go through the sale barn. Pop kicked the bucket and his lifetime work is being liquidated. That happens over and over.

It goes right back to having a good mentor. My Grandaddy had an eye for cattle I have never developed. He could look over a pen of cattle and tell you each one's problems. There are people that good out there. Take one of those with you to the sale barn.

I had a brother-in-law come home with a free martin. He knew it all! LOL I had offered to go with him. He went on his own. Bought that heifer for his daughter telling her they were going to build a herd off of her. A heartbreak for the kid.
 

pdfangus

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I gotta stand with cowgirl8......
if I am looking for cows....I find someone with the cows I want and buy them off the farm....I know where they came from and where to go back to if they are not as advertised....

disease is a valid reason to avoid the sale barn...everything every cow can catch can be picked up at the sale barn....

When we established our registered herd we bough a cut of weaned heifers from a herd I had worked at as a cattle manager and never bought another animal. We bred up from there....

there are no shortage of cows for sale in the country.

for someone with zero experience to go to a sale barn and buy something unknown is a recipe for disaster.

not saying you guys who have been running cows since noah parked the ark can't do well at the sale barn...more power to ya...
but it is no place for a newby to get started...
 
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