What to do? I need some opinions.

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BC Acres

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First, let me tell you I am nothing but a hobby cattleman. I only have a small herd of 5 mommas, and I am in the middle of my 2nd calving season. Of my 5, three are having their 2nd calves and two are having their first calves, one of which has already calved. I sell calves in the fall at about 500 lbs. I am not in it for the money. I enjoy being around the cattle and spend time with them daily. I enjoy learning more and more about them. I don't want to lose my shirt, but I'm not dependent on cattle for income. I have a regular job for that. Anyway, here is the problem:

My brother is in the same boat in that he has a small herd. He has a pretty nice bull that we swap back and forth so I have calves in the spring and he has calves in the fall. Great deal, but he wants out. He owns the bull outright and has offered to sell him to me, but in my opinion he wants a little too much, and I generally try to avoid large exchanges of money amongst family. Plus, I am pushing my stalking rate already. I'm trying to start a rotational grazing set up so it works better. If I add a bull, I'm sure I will be well over stocked. Plus, if I need to separate him to keep a calving schedule, there wouldn't be any shelter should there be sever weather of some kind. He would have shade but nothing for extreme cold or hail etc. So what should I do?

1. Sell my pairs this fall and buy calves and background them.
2. Learn how to AI and do it myself.
3. Buy my own bull and hope weather isn't too bad when separated. Feed hay most of the year.
4. Sell my stock and buy my own bull. Buy pairs, breed momma and sell as heavy breds and sell calves too.
5. Say heck with it and sell out.
6. Other

Help me figure out what to do.

By the way, I live in KS if that matters.
 

kucala5

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We lease a bull for breeding and have 26 momma cows. Our place doesn't easily support separating a bull from the herd when we would need to so that's the approach we've taken so far.
 

RanchMan90

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Renting a bull may be an option so he's not on the feed bill year round. Or buying steers you'd never have to deal with a bull again. Whatever makes you happy if your not in it for a profit.
 
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BC Acres

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I have access to a bull I could rent. Should I be worried about disease from an outside bull?
 

Workinonit Farm

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BC Acres":2fbkatd4 said:
I have access to a bull I could rent. Should I be worried about disease from an outside bull?

Do you know the vaccination/management history on the bull? Do you know the history nd health of the cows that he's with? Are your cows well vaccinated?

If he, the cows he's with, and your animals are healthy, have good health histories, vaccination records, then I wouldn't be too concerned. You could always have him tested for any communicable diseases prior to signing a lease agreement.
 
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BC Acres

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I just learned about my brother getting out a few days ago. I heard yesterday that there was a bull available from a coworker. She is a nice lady who is running her grandpa's herd after he passed a few years ago. I haven't had time to look into the bull and get health records and epds. My cows are on a regular vaccination schedule and have access to free mineral. I don't know about hers, but I would guess not. He has been rented out in other places already. Initially, I was a little hesitant.
 
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BC Acres

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True Grit Farms":3dnn5yjk said:
Good young bulls come through the sale barns here almost weekly. And most of the time you can buy them for a bid or two over kill prices.

Would you feel safe buying a bull you don't know what the calving ease might be? He would be the sire of the second and third calves of my cows. How many calves until you don't put too much stock in calving ease?
 

bse

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Have someone come out and A I. No disease, should be way better bulls than you are gonna pick up at the local sale barn. Cost on 5 head should run around 300, you can't lease a bull for that!
Take the time to learn yourself how to do it, you will end up with around $750 in a tank and breeding kit + school. If you like being around them learning A I and doing your own will be something you will really enjoy.
 
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BC Acres

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bse":3odmw81s said:
Have someone come out and A I. No disease, should be way better bulls than you are gonna pick up at the local sale barn. Cost on 5 head should run around 300, you can't lease a bull for that!
Take the time to learn yourself how to do it, you will end up with around $750 in a tank and breeding kit + school. If you like being around them learning A I and doing your own will be something you will really enjoy.


I've been debating going to AI school. I've heard people say it seems much easier at school than it does in real life. If I had someone AI them, are there people that do it professionally, or do I just need to find someone that does their own and ask for help?
 

Rafter S

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You mentioned calving ease. As I've said here a time out two before, while I'm very concerned about it with a 2-year old having her first calf, after that I don't worry about it at all. Unless you're breeding to a Belgian Blue, or something similar, the greatest effect you'll likely see from selecting for calving ease on mature cows is lower weaning weights.
 

alisonb

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bse":2vutzoul said:
Have someone come out and A I. No disease, should be way better bulls than you are gonna pick up at the local sale barn. Cost on 5 head should run around 300, you can't lease a bull for that!
Take the time to learn yourself how to do it, you will end up with around $750 in a tank and breeding kit + school. If you like being around them learning A I and doing your own will be something you will really enjoy.
Good advice!
 
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BC Acres

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Rafter S":2kh6s8qs said:
You mentioned calving ease. As I've said here a time out two before, while I'm very concerned about it with a 2-year old having her first calf, after that I don't worry about it at all. Unless you're breeding to a Belgian Blue, or something similar, the greatest effect you'll likely see from selecting for calving ease on mature cows is lower weaning weights.


I mentioned calving ease just for peace of mind. I know there are no guarantees but it seems like there may be less chance of a difficult birth if a calving ease bull was used. I'm probably just overly cautious. I am only on my second round of calves so I'm still pretty green. Should I be more focused on birthweight instead? If so, what range do you look for? Thanks for the comments. Love the suggestions.
 
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BC Acres

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For those of you that AI, is it fairly easy once you learn? I heard pregnancy rates go down compared to natural service. I've also been looking at sires online and some mention "superior settling." Does site selection really play a role in pregnancy rates? Should I expect to get all 5 bred most years with proper training. I wouldn't have a clean up bull.
 

bse

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There should be a tech around somewhere, contact the stud services!
If you sync 5 you should get 3 or more first service (nomally) then hit repeats 21 days later.
Doing it yourself will allow you to breed on natural heat if thats what you want to do. Wasn't real easy for me starting, but hung in there, feel like I do Ok now. And doing your own will be way cheaper than any bull, easy enough to get 100% doing your own cows.
 

farmerjan

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One of the biggest problems with AI is simply getting them bred at the right time. Seriously, I did relief breeding for many years and the farmers were the bigger problems, because they weren't getting the cows caught up at the "optimal" time for breeding. If you are doing it on natural heats yourself, you will know when she comes in heat. AI isn't that hard, practice does make it easier and you better at it, so only 5 cows won't give you alot of practice. Some people have a "feel" for it and some don't. First off, I would contact the AI company closest to you. See if they have a tech. Take the course and see if you even like it or have a feel for it. Then make a decision from there.

How soon does he want to get rid of his stuff? It is getting near time for you to want the bull to use again. Can you talk him into letting you use him for the normal time then sell him? He wouldn't be out any money for feed if he is on your place for the next couple of months. Will he be taking him to the stockyards? Prices aren't all that great, you could very easily buy him back for kill price, use him for the time you want then sell and make decisions for next year. That way you are not getting into a money deal directly with your family.....they don't have to know you bought the same bull they sold, just that you bought a bull. Keeps the peace sometimes a little better. Unless he has a sale for him, he might be surprised what he ISN'T worth. Pound price here for cull bulls, and they are often perfectly decent bulls, is $1.00 lb or less.
 

Workinonit Farm

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farmerjan":3hgiexgn said:
How soon does he want to get rid of his stuff? It is getting near time for you to want the bull to use again. Can you talk him into letting you use him for the normal time then sell him? He wouldn't be out any money for feed if he is on your place for the next couple of months. Will he be taking him to the stockyards? Prices aren't all that great, you could very easily buy him back for kill price, use him for the time you want then sell and make decisions for next year. That way you are not getting into a money deal directly with your family......

This here, is a very good suggestion! Doing this, will buy you about a year to figure out and plan what to do for the future.
 

Brute 23

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I would learn to AI if you have time. It will be benificial to you and in high demand as time goes on. You can probably make some decent side money doing it for neighbors like yourself.
 

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