December 31, 2010 at 5:05 pm #254071
We finally have our 5 acres on the mid north coast and would really like to get a couple of cattle. Our aim is to raise these cattle for our own consumption. However, it will be a first time for us both living with/raising cattle and we’re really not sure what’s involved. Is there anything that a newbie like me will need to know? I’m assuming they’ll need to be wormed at some stage. I’m not afraid of getting physical with these creatures so I can’t see worming or drenching being too much of a problem 🙂
I’m sure it’s not as easy as putting the cattle out to pasture and then when they’re bigger, sending them off to be culled. So what are we going to be getting ourselves into????
Any good recommendations on good beef breeds for newbies???December 31, 2010 at 5:07 pm #486113
Not sure of your livestock back ground, what other animals have you had?December 31, 2010 at 5:23 pm #486114
Only ever horses and chickens 😀December 31, 2010 at 5:51 pm #486115
I would start with something a bit smaller such as sheep & goats. You are so lucky to have 5 acres but dont over stretch your self with cattle in mho. I had a couple of goats and they were great, lots of personality and you can actually get them fairly tame and almost pet like.December 31, 2010 at 8:39 pm #486116
Nah! If your neighbours keep cattle, they’ll be your best guidance. Buy your stock from them if at all possible and stay friendly so you learn their tips, have them recommend a vet, advise you of their practices and when to do what. They may even be able to recommend a mobile butcher.
A lot of people raise their own beef around here and we intend to acquire some cows (for milk, but also beef) sometime future. We also have relatives who keep cattle and pigs (naming them Barbeque One, BBQ Two, Three, Four…). Hardest thing for them, living in a remote area, is finding a reliable butcher. Each region will have its peculiar issues with keeping cattle. Your neighbours are definitely your first port of call.December 31, 2010 at 9:28 pm #486117
Whatever stock you decide on you will need basic yards ( or access to the nieghbours yards) to handle them, just a simple thing like worming is impossable if you cant catch or confine them.
You will also have to register for a NLIS number with the DPI for your property( no charge but compulsary).
This is one thing I cant stress enough for someone on small acerage………..find quiet, well handled stock! Dont even consider anything that spooks easely or wont respect fencing.
Research, research, research and personally inspect and handle anything you may be interested before buying.
Good luck Cackleberry and look foreward to lots of lost hours…..just watching the antics of whatever you get, it’s one of the best ways of really learning how your animals tick.December 31, 2010 at 10:42 pm #486118
You will need good fences as well, altho for goats they need prison fencing, a cattle crush, and good pasture with only 5 acres, 2 cows will quickly eat it out. Buying cattle feed is economically questionable
Northern coastal regions are not good areas for sheep and they require constant attention.January 1, 2011 at 1:19 am #486119
Even with a season like this 5 acres is not really viable for running cattle.
Even smaller breeds like galloways or square meaters will quickly deplete your pasture.
Buying feed does not cheap beef make!
You may want to look for alternatives like goats or sheep.January 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm #486120
Hmmm… We’ve got 4 acres and it carries a Jersey (and not so small calf) just fine. We used to have three dexters – but I wouldn’t recommend them as they are a bit crazy. Look for some Lowlines… they are good. the prob you’ll have is whether to keep a bull or not… i suggest not, as your fence won’t last long on 5 acres…January 2, 2011 at 12:40 am #486121
and dont get too attatched to the ones you are going to eat.
we had cattle and they were mainly for eating/breeding, we sent some to market and couldnt bring ourselves to buy steak for months.
The last one we sent to market was Dh favourite,he would moo and she’d come running from down the paddock.
At the market we watched as she came into the pen to be sold and she was so confused and frightened, DH mooed and she nearly jumped the fence to get to him now that was a very sad day.
since then we’ve had sheep and they’re real easy to eat no problems in getting too attatched to them.
cows have fabulous personalities and their antics are hilarious except when they jump the fence to get to the bull 2 klm down the road and take 2 hours or more to drove home.January 2, 2011 at 12:02 pm #486122
thanks for your replies everyone 😀 I’m afraid we’re not interested in goats at this time, and I’ve heard that sheep don’t do so well on the coast here. We’re still pretty set on getting one or two cattle. The smaller breeds definitely appeal. Our neighbour has an Angus which seems to be a good size. I had considered Dexters but if they’re crazy I’ll give them a miss LOL! Lowlines … I’ll have to do a search and see what’s around.
Yes I’m hoping we won’t get too attached to these lovely creatures. We’ll see how it works out for us. Got to at least give it a try! 😀January 2, 2011 at 12:45 pm #486123
I had cattle on the mid north coast, but that was on 14 acres… But not greatly productive land (steep and a bit wooded) so maybe you’ll do well! Get small ones like galloways or cross angus…
Unless your 5 acres is pasture improved you’ll have to hand feed in winter as the local grass dies off and becomes rank. That gets expensive but don’t be afraid of cattle losing a bit of weight over winter, as they’ll put it back on. Growing a heap of pigeon pea and tagasaste (if tagasaste will grow there… not sure about that as I just had pigeon peas) will help provide high protein winter fodder.
Keep a mineral block to them and the worms will be less of a problem (they’re rampant anywhere with wet summers). A tiny bit extra protein e.g. pigeon pea branches or bought-in pellets) also helps defeat worms and you may not have to drench at all.
Lastly as others have said you will need access to a loading ramp and crush… I hand tamed my cattle so I could worm them with pour-on in the paddock, and that’s the beauty of the small holding (you can tame your animals), but you still need a ramp (or neighbour’s ramp access) for the final trip to abattoir and you also need a crush with holding yard (or access to one) to do the ear tagging.
Once you get the DPI property registration and ear tag etc it’s no big deal… Bit of stupid paperwork if you sell animals or send them to abattoir, but that’s life…
Good luck, it’s a lot of fun and they can be absolutely gorgeous animals to have around.January 2, 2011 at 9:24 pm #486124
If the purpose is to raise a few head of weaner steers for ones own beef requirements, they should be bought when there’s plenty of pasture for them to grow fast to a good size. Then, call in the mobile butcher, freeze the meat and use as required. Buy another few head of steers when you again have enough pasture, so on and so on.
There’s no need to have or keep steers for your own beef needs through winter or drought, when there’s not enough feed, only to have to buy feed when it would be most expensive too.
When buying cattle for your own beef needs, have them wormed, treated for all other parasites and vaccinated before purchase, then there’s no need for it to be done on your property. No need for it to be done again before the butcher arrives, they wont be around that long.
Only a basic small yard and race-way, maybe a head-bale, be needed in case of illness or injury so a Vet or you can treat them safely. A ramp to unload the cattle may be needed in case the livestock transport has no ramp.
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