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Cow picture MIT Review

Above:  Link to an article about the dangers of Genetically Modified Cattle.

Disclaimer:  This website is ONLY intended to provide information to assist New Homesteaders in getting started and/or established in a sustainable lifestyle.  In most cases, livestock will play a significant role in that lifestyle.  In particular, this page's specific purpose is to provide a new cattle rancher with the terminology and basic information they will need so they can ask the right questions when they meet the right people.  The Cattle industry is massive and has been in existence since man first discovered his love of steak.  **This is only an introduction to that industry, nothing more, nothing less.  

THAT BEING SAID, we are working diligently to review and post as much information as possible in order to help new farmers/cattle ranchers make informed decisions. Cattle can be integral to most ranching/farming operations.  They serve at least 3 different purposes.  The primary purposes are meat production, dairy production and grass/weed control., ohh and the babies are super cute!!!  Unlike horses, cattle are less picky about their grazing and can help maintain fields and pasture ground. They either eat or trample most weeds and keep the grass managed without destroying the structure and roots unless overgrazing is involved.

THERE ARE MANY breeds of cattle, each offering specific traits that Hereford Cattlemake them desirable for different climates and purposes. The Image link above provides some basic information how how to select a breed of beef cattle for your farming/ranching operation.   

Cattle Breed ChartHERE IS A chart of some of the most common cattle breeds.

HERE IS AN article on getting started with BASIC CATTLE CARE

17 Tips on Starting a cattle Ranching operation as told by a 91 Year Old Rancher

SOME PEOPLE choose to start their operation by buying young steers to fatten and sell at the market.  Often this is a good stepping off point and is usually minimally labor intensive.  Selling the steers at the market can give a new farmer a much needed cash injection, enabling them to purchase a few bred cows or cow calf pairs or even bred cows with a calf by their side. 

RAISING CALVES to sell to market presents a few new challenges.  Raising calves can be more physically challenging.  They need to be vaccinated, branded/marked and bull calves need to castrated if they are being raised for beef. The best time to castrate your bull Cowboys working cattlescalves is discussed here. Many people choose to perform these procedures as soon as possible after the birth of the calves.  Early castration/vaccination/branding reduces stress on the animal and lets them get back to eating as soon as possible.  Performing these procedures early also makes it easier on the rancher, as each calf must be handled physically and it is much easier when they are small. Some cattle operations do this the old fashioned way with cowboys, ropes and a snubbing pole.  This is the cheapest method but requires at least 3 or 4 people.  Once you are more established, you will probably choose to use a squeeze chute.

ONCE THE CALVES are around 3 months old, Cow Calfmost ranching operations wean them off their mothers.  The purpose for this is so the Cows can be rebred and so the calves can begin to transition to their primary purpose, eating and gaining weight.  Here is an alternative idea for weaning beef calves which provides for less stress and less emotional distress.

RAISING DAIRY cattle is significantly different from raising beef cattle. One of the primary concerns when raising dairy cattle is to have good natured cows that will be easy to handle.  It is important that they do not develop a dislike for humans.  Many dairy farmers opt out of firebranding dairy cattle because of the stress.  Instead they freeze brand them which has a quicker recovery and is less painful.  Dairy farmers handle the calves from an early age. 

BULL CALVES are often removed from their mothers immediately after getting the colostrum and are sold as bottle calves.  You can buy a dairy bull calf sometimes for as little as $40.00, but raising a calf on the bottle is very difficult and dairy bull calves do not bring as much at auction because they are big boned and require a lot of feed.  Click the image link to the right for information on the care of nHolstein Heifer Calfewborn dairy calves

DAIRY HEIFERS are different as they are the backbone of the dairy industry. Click here to learn about newborn Heifer care.  Here is another article for the next stage of the Dairy heifer's life from weaning until calving.

BELOW ARE links to some items you may be interested in to help get started with raising cows in your sustainable farming operation.

Guide to Raising Beef Cattle Cattle Health Handbook Essential Guide to Calving
Milk Cow Kitchen Keeping a Family Cow

Calf Breaking Halter

Calf Breaking Halter 

Pistol Grip SyringePistol Grip Syringe

Castrator/Bander for Cattle Sheep and GoatsCastrater Bander 

 Burdizzo Bloodless EmasculatorEmasculator

Livestock Comfort Brush

Livestock Comfort Brush small 

 Calf Bottle 3 Quart

Calf Bottle

 LIvestock Comfort Brush Large

Livestock Comfort Brush

Ear Tags and Applicator

Cow Ear Tags


 Cattle Insecticide Applicator Curtain

Cattle Curtain 

Adjustable Cattle Halter
Cattle Halter 
 Calf Feeder Pail Bucket

Calf Bucket

 Livestock Scale KitLivestock Scale kit

Vetericyn Wound SprayVetericyn Wound Care

Pink Himalayan Salt BlockHimalayan Pink Salt Block 

Cattle Squeeze Chute

Cattle Squeeze Chute 

Livestock ScaleLivestock Scale



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