Aussies Living Simply

Raising bully calves

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  • #258126
    Bel
    Member

    There are quite a few ads on Gumtree at the moment for bully dairy calves – mainly Holsteins, but also the occasional Aussie Red. They are very cheap to buy and I like the idea that they’re having a chance at life given they have no future on a dairy farm. If we bought one, ours would eventually find its way to the butcher, but not before it spent many months growing big on our farm. Does anyone have any experience raising calves and can give me any tips? They are about 1 week old, so I know they’ll need bottle-feeding twice a day. We have plenty of pasture at the moment, so lots for him to eat. Do they need company? Of their own kind, or other furry friends like sheep or alpacas ok? I have read that they make nice meat, just not quite as high yield as some breeds intended for beef. This is an example of the calves going cheap: Bully Calves

    #535495
    bindi
    Member

    they will need to be bottle fed or some people bucket feed for at least 3 months but will do better if given 5 to 6 months of the milk. This will cost a bit depending on what the calf replacer costs down your way but usually around the $100 mark per bag but you should only need a bag or two. You’ll then need to introduce something like calf crumbles also to give them the protein boost they need unless you want to go a more natural method and use something like Pat Coleby mix as per her books. They’ll also need some minerals to keep them healthy – again you can use pre prepared or mix up Pat Coleby’s recipe. I would personally have 2 or more at a time as they are very social animals and love to play with each other, groom each other etc . You may also encounter problems swapping them from mum to bottle and from real milk to replacer but these are usually overcome with patience and TLC. Hope I haven’t made it sound too difficult as it is rewarding and fun to raise them and we’ve done quiet a few now 🙂 The only other thing you might want to check is what are your State’s requirements re livestock movement etc.

    #535496
    Snags
    Member

    40 and 60 $ sounds cheap for veal

    Lots of osso bucco,saltimbocca, stock and sausages.

    Do the maths of feed and time and does the end product increase in a few weeks or months over just butcher now?

    #535497
    Bel
    Member

    bindi post=360805 wrote: they will need to be bottle fed or some people bucket feed for at least 3 months but will do better if given 5 to 6 months of the milk. This will cost a bit depending on what the calf replacer costs down your way but usually around the $100 mark per bag but you should only need a bag or two. You’ll then need to introduce something like calf crumbles also to give them the protein boost they need unless you want to go a more natural method and use something like Pat Coleby mix as per her books. They’ll also need some minerals to keep them healthy – again you can use pre prepared or mix up Pat Coleby’s recipe. I would personally have 2 or more at a time as they are very social animals and love to play with each other, groom each other etc . You may also encounter problems swapping them from mum to bottle and from real milk to replacer but these are usually overcome with patience and TLC. Hope I haven’t made it sound too difficult as it is rewarding and fun to raise them and we’ve done quiet a few now 🙂 The only other thing you might want to check is what are your State’s requirements re livestock movement etc.

    Thanks heaps for the info bindi. We plan to get both calves to keep each other company. Tonight I bought a bag of milk replacer for $80 and a dual-teat bucket feeder thingy and a couple of bottles in case they don’t take to the bucket initially. I think they’ve already been weaned off their mum, so that shouldn’t be too hard. I’ve got a friend with dairy goats, so I’m going to see if I can get some of her surplus milk to mix with the milk replacer as apparently it’s meant to be very good for them (and will also be cheaper for me). We have lots of lush green pasture here, but will also supplement with the calf feed. We have a PIC number, so livestock movement shouldn’t be a problem. Pat Coleby’s book sounds interesting – might have a look for it in the library. will also look into the minerals as you suggest. Thanks!

    #535498
    Bel
    Member

    Snags post=360808 wrote: 40 and 60 $ sounds cheap for veal

    Lots of osso bucco,saltimbocca, stock and sausages.

    Do the maths of feed and time and does the end product increase in a few weeks or months over just butcher now?

    I don’t think there’s much meat on the bone atm snags. It’ll be an interesting experiment. Obviously the bottles & bucket feeder are one-off costs that can be used for future calves if we do it again. It’ll depend on if I can lay my hands on an alternate milk source to mix in with their milk replacer. The milk, at least, will be nice in the end 🙂

    #535499
    GirlFriday
    Member

    A friend of mine was saying recently that ideally really young ones should be fed three times a day as its less likely to get the poddy pot belly. We used to get the calf sucking our fingers and then train them to use a bucket instead of using a bottle. We are raising a bully at the moment but he is still on mum as well (he gets locked up at night and gets a bucket of pollard and hay for breakfast).

    #535500
    Bel
    Member

    GirlFriday post=360835 wrote: A friend of mine was saying recently that ideally really young ones should be fed three times a day as its less likely to get the poddy pot belly. We used to get the calf sucking our fingers and then train them to use a bucket instead of using a bottle. We are raising a bully at the moment but he is still on mum as well (he gets locked up at night and gets a bucket of pollard and hay for breakfast).

    Thanks for the tip GirlFriday. We didn’t end up getting the 2 calves on the weekend because they got sold quickly. Ditto for some others we had seen advertised. We are now on the waiting list with both places for the next available calves.

    #535501
    Jye
    Member

    There’s two new ones just been posted on gumtree! At mount torrens! Hope you get this soon

    #535502
    Bel
    Member

    Thanks Jye! We’ve got ’em! Pick them up Weds night 🙂 Thanks 🙂

    #535503
    Jye
    Member

    That’s awesome! Can’t wait to see the photos and read the stories 🙂

    #535504
    Melrose
    Member

    Heya I’ve helped raise a few…hundred of holstein, friesian and various crosses and more recently jerseys. All are from the dairy industry. One thing to check for is have they had their cholostrum. Depending on how old they are you might want to get the cholostrum replacer or give them an egg yolk in their milk once or twice. I raised them from a machine due to the large number of them. They could drink when they liked but only a certain amount. Most were only on milk for 2 or so months and we on pellets as well. You should keep them on pellets til atleast 6 months and then it depends on your pasture. Holsteins are notoriously hard to keep weight on. One thing I have seen people do so they get bigger animals is not castrate them til they are older.

    Feeding two or three times a day should be adequate but I would have them on pellets as well. There is a special one for dairy calves.

    Have fun with them but don’t get too attached or you won’t be able to eat them. I have three heifers at home from the system. One was a twin the others were accidentals I think.

    #535505
    Bel
    Member

    Melrose post=360936 wrote: Heya I’ve helped raise a few…hundred of holstein, friesian and various crosses and more recently jerseys. All are from the dairy industry. One thing to check for is have they had their cholostrum. Depending on how old they are you might want to get the cholostrum replacer or give them an egg yolk in their milk once or twice. I raised them from a machine due to the large number of them. They could drink when they liked but only a certain amount. Most were only on milk for 2 or so months and we on pellets as well. You should keep them on pellets til atleast 6 months and then it depends on your pasture. Holsteins are notoriously hard to keep weight on. One thing I have seen people do so they get bigger animals is not castrate them til they are older.

    Feeding two or three times a day should be adequate but I would have them on pellets as well. There is a special one for dairy calves.

    Have fun with them but don’t get too attached or you won’t be able to eat them. I have three heifers at home from the system. One was a twin the others were accidentals I think.

    Thanks for the tips Melrose. We picked them up on Weds night and have been bottle feeding them twice a day. They seem to be going really well and now moo when they see us walking over to their yard. I’ll also buy some calf pellets for them during the week. As it turns out, one of the ‘bully’ calves is actually a girl – a jersey Holstein cross. We have named her Molly and DH is almost convinced to keep her for a future house cow. The boy is Henry and is a fresian. We are already very attached to them, so I imagine it will be hard when the time comes to kill and eat them. The kids have been forewarned, so hopefully will be ok when the time comes. If it all works out well, we’ll do it again next year. There are a few photos below and more on the Bellandarreh Farm thread 🙂

    #535506
    Melrose
    Member

    they are gorgeous! So hard not to get attached especially because they will become very very familiar with you. That mooing is just the start. Wait for the demand for scratches and pats. The ever so disgusting licks and slobbers.

    the heifer is a lovely little thing. Was there a reason they got rid of her?

    #535507
    Bel
    Member

    Melrose post=360987 wrote: they are gorgeous! So hard not to get attached especially because they will become very very familiar with you. That mooing is just the start. Wait for the demand for scratches and pats. The ever so disgusting licks and slobbers.

    the heifer is a lovely little thing. Was there a reason they got rid of her?

    Yes, the slobbers have begun! They suck on your leg when the bottle is finished and it’s a race to get out before you’re covered in milky gooey slobber. They are beautiful though. I’m not sure why the heifer was for sale. The guy originally advertised her as a boy, so made a mistake with the sex (?). He told me when we picked them up that someone ‘accidentally’ put a Holstein bull over the Jersey cow or vice versa. Not sure why they wouldn’t keep her regardless, but I suppose they want consistency in their milkers??

    #535508
    Melrose
    Member

    Holstein jerseys are good milkers. It is funny they sold her they normally keep them it increases the fat content of the milk a bit. Not as much as jerseys though.

    You should keep her as a milker! she will be very used to you all so it shouldn’t be hard to get her quiet enough. 😆

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