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Pros and Cons of Miniature livestock

                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Thanks Jami,
So these cows that you have are are not like the tiny mini-goats then, they are kind of heirloom cattle.

When you go to by a mini-cow are the heritage breeds readily identifiable from others that might be selectively bread for size?
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
If you do a little research, there aren't many heritage breeds of small cattle in this country.  Dexters and Kerrys, and there are some small Jerseys.  Other than that, I don't know of any.  Other 'mini' cattle will be bred down in some way, not sure how they do it. 

Kathleen
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1791
    
  14
Kathleen's right - those are them.

And no they are not like the mini-goats, etc.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Thanks for answering my questions this has been fun! D
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2475
Location: FL
    
  79
Bought a bull: Lowline Angus


Not a picture of my bull.  He's out in the back field doing his thing. 

A guy I work with got him but was not ready for him-inadequate fence, working out of town, wife was not onboard, so he let him go at a loss.  I paid $600, including transportation.  He's 4 years old, fully grown stands up to my waist, is as gentle as a lamb, tips the scales at about 1000 pounds.

I did some homework before I took him.  These are Angus all right, the breed was derived in Australia and have been in the US since the mid 90s, so they are especially rare.  When I say the guy took a loss, this bull should have sold for around 1500-2000 for purebred, but has no documentation.  A 50% lowline should still command 1200 or more.  So I'm happy with the price. 

Abbatoir fees in this area run 60 cents/# cut and wrapped weight.  This breed has excellent meat, being Angus, with great flavor and fine marbling from grass feeding.  The carcass yield is typically 76% so his 1000 pounds would offer 760 pounds of packaged steaks and burgers.  He's got a small back end and a giant barrel of a front.  Ribeye, baby!  Quantity and quality of meat was a target of breeding.  Even if I had to take this bull to the butcher, I'd have a pile of meat for less than $1.50/pound.  I can't buy hamburger for that price.  I don't want this bull for meat, I want him for breeding.

Being a small breed, the calves have a birth weight of 40-50 pounds, with 42 pounds being normal.  You read it right.  Newborn calves stand lower than your knees.

(reference image)


Because the calves are small, calving is considerably easier.  The breed has one of the lowest rates of any breed for calf and cow deaths at birth, and most births are unassisted.  The bulls can stud normal sized cows, with a small calf being the result.  This offers an advantage for the first time mother.  I gotta find out how I can stud this feller and put him on a paying basis!

Looking at the charts, this breed offers more meat on less land with less waste than any other breed.  In the 3 acre back field I can fit the bull and 2 cows with little supplemental feeding.  If I keep the bull out earning his pay, I can fit another cow or the 2 cows and a couple of calves.  Once the calves are gone, the cows will produce about 1.5 gallons/day.  Plenty of milk but not so much I don't know what to do with it all.

I could get into the high Omega 3 content of the meat, and the low cholesterol features, but you can do your own homework.  The breed is gentle, efficient, and the right size for a small farm.  This one fell into my lap.  I don't often jump into something until I've checked it out thoroughly, but sometimes you gotta go with what your gut tells you, and my gut was grumbling to go for it.


Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
http://farmwhisperer.com
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
I think I would have gone for that one, too, Ken!  Sounds like you got a really good deal there!  What cows do you have now to breed him to?

Kathleen
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1791
    
  14
Good for you Ken, that's a super deal. 

Thanks for the info about the breed.
Post us some pics of your guy when you can. . . .
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
Saw this ad on the local craigslist (southern Oregon) recently and thought of this thread:
http://medford.craigslist.org/grd/1910666389.html


Dexter Cows and Bull (Talent)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 2010-08-20, 11:13PM PDT
Reply to: sale-nw5sn-1910666389@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Two Dexter cows, Lily and Daffy. Daffy is registered. Both are great mothers and easy calvers - $750.00 each. One 21 month old Dexter heifer, Azalea - $600.00. All are currently with a beautiful, friendly, gentle Dexter bull, Shipley, and should be bred to calve next May. He has consistently produced good calves. Shipley is $600.00. All are black, horned, and long-legged. They make a great herd together. They have spent their lives on pasture, eating fresh green grass. We would love to keep them but are a little short on space. We would take $2400.00 for the whole herd to keep them together. Dexters are a small, dual-purpose (meat and milk) Irish breed and make great family cows. For more information or to come see them, call Ken at 541-210-2278 or email.



"Limitation is the mother of good management", Michael Evanari

Location: Southwestern Oregon (Jackson County), Zone 7
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
Makes me wish that I had more than our little one-acre lot!  That's a good price, especially for the whole herd, and bred.

Kathleen
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
It sounded pretty good from the info earlier in the thread... I've got plenty of space but I figure we're at least 6 months out from being ready for any livestock.  lots of infrastructure to get in first.
charles c. johnson


Joined: Dec 02, 2009
Posts: 369
i agree with Ken get full size cow then slaughter it young

prolly cheaper

mmm veal
                    


Joined: Aug 24, 2009
Posts: 106
you ask about pros and cons.  Welllll, for one person, a cow is quite a bit.  Also, you have to think of it from the  cow's point of view, too, so you really would need two.  What do you want with two cows?  We do have Dexters.  I love my little cows. the Bull is very gentle, the calves adorable.  The main drawback, though I think they are the perfect homestead cow for a not too big family,  you have a heck of a time selling the surplus. Especially bull calves. Around here people get a feeder calf at the sale barn for very little money and raise it for beef. Why bother with an expensive Dexter calf for the same purpose?  We  put a two year old bull in the freezer. I do not like to keep an animal for two years and then butcher it. I had a heck of a time before I could eat any of the  meat.  Still do not like it. 
If your main purpose is to produce food for yourself and your daughter, get a couple of milk goats and breed them to a Boer buck for meat. You'll have all the meat and meat you need.  Folks have invested too much money in those little cows,  it is difficult to just sell them at the same price as a dairy bull calf.  Otherwise they are just great. 

Goats are more personable and easier to handle.  Of course also a lot more of a nuisance, you have to consider the cost of fencing, and forget field fencing for goats. .  The cows will not jump on anything, they move slower,  are not as affectionate.  The goat will stand next to me and put her head against my arm.  Just stand there, (with a GD on the other side).
  I got 8 quarts of milk from a cow.  I can not sell it. If you have the money, have the land and have your heart set on little cows, there is nothing wrong with them.  If not,  goats will work just fine, and I almost passed out that someone posted about two doelings selling for $600.  I  have to raise prices. 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    8
Goats have some mega disadvantages, which I am finally coming out of denial over. I still love them, hope to keep them, but I must find an organic way to deal with these worms.

Cows give butter better and mow grass better, very important difference.
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1791
    
  14
I haven't own either, but I must admit I do not feel like taking on anything with the energy level of goats - oy!  Our good friends have them, and they are sweet and all, but they can be cute little pains too.  I wouldn't mind borrowing some for brush control should I have the need, but nothing permanent.  Goats need good shelter too, can't get cold/wet.... Dexters can take the weather.

And the butter is a goal    I can always use extra milk - you know it makes a super soil fertilizer, really grows the grass.
                    


Joined: Aug 24, 2009
Posts: 106
Cows give butter better and mow grass better, very important difference.


good point.

Pasture is an issue, if you have only open land.  I understand they are wormier on  grassland only.  And they really do not like pasture  that much.  We have 20 acres of brush, really goat heaven.  The cows keep our pastures in shape.  Right now we are still clearing some land, which translates that DH cuts down a poplar tree every so often and the goats eat it down to the nubs.  I really considered cutting a few in summer and drying the leaves for winter feed on the barn loft floor. 
You have to keep your vehicle away where goats can get to it, too, gates have to be goat proof, fences have to be tight if you have neighbors.  Nothing like a goat on the neighbor's shed roof. .  We have a small shelter for two goats, since we branched out to seven,  they stay in a lean to that is open ended. Come winter I close it off on one side with a cattle panel and stack straw bales As we need straw anyway, this has worked well. 
We have five stalls in the barn and when the weather gets bad the cows appreciate it, and they like bedding.  I had a pile of leaves lying in one corner, they laid down on it, and not some place else.  We have made temporary shelter with a bent over cattle panel and a tarp over  it,  some bedding, and they used that too.  Maybe I am spoiling them.

I had been looking at it purely from an economical point of view, considering that you are living by yourself.  I paid 75 bucks for my first goat. She still gives me a quart and a half at one milking.  If I were by myself she would be all I really needed. 

It just shows there is more than one way to skin a cat and what serves one person well does not  necessarily do so for the other.
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
Goats and cows each have their niche.  I'd love to have a cow, mostly for the cream so I could make butter, but we only have one acre of land, and that's not enough for a cow.  It's adequate for the four goats I have, though (though I do buy much of their feed).  And there is one of the goat niches -- places that are too small to keep a cow.

Another of the goat niches is land that is too steep for cows, or too rough and rocky, or just brush with little if any grass. 

Another is the very small family -- my daughter and I would have a hard time using up the production of a good cow, although we could theoretically sell the excess.  I have a friend up the road who does that, and next year she hopes to be milking two cows (she has an older Holstein and a Jersey heifer).  I'm not entirely comfortable with selling such a perishable product -- and my friend has a real milk room, something I don't have. 

I traded a rug we didn't need for my first two goats.  They were unregistered purebred Alpines.  You don't always have to spend a huge amount of money to get started.  Just breed your does to the best bucks you can find in order to upgrade your herd.  Anyone close to me?  I'll probably have some good quality kids for sale next year at very reasonable prices, out of my Oberhasli X Alpine doe and my reg. Ober buck.  There hasn't been much market here for good goat kids, and I hate to take them to the auction, or to put such good animals in the freezer....Of course, if the economy continues to deteriorate, there may be an increased demand.  Hard to tell right now.

Kathleen
Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    8
Electric poultry netting is working pretty nice on my goats honestly, but I got 1 joule per net, we will see what happens when I double my nets...
          


Joined: Jul 26, 2010
Posts: 21
We have a mini jersey, and a full size jersey who we AI'd using semen from a mini bull.  (Mini jerseys have a program where you can start with full size cows and breed down to registerable mini's.) 
So here are just some various learning experiences and observations:
We had full size saanen goats first, with the plan to breed them down in size.  My husband loved them and their milk, but I learned I was not a goat person at all. I hate horns and dehorning and polled goats are not available. 

Sheep and cows are peaceful and bliss -but  those goats were hell raisers - if critters got loose in the barn, the sheep and cows wandered around exploring, , maybe  tossed some papers around, and then stood at the gate until I  helped them get back into their pen. The goats jumped on the tables and chairs, broke everything they could reach (when they stand up they can be tall!), went  upstairs to the haymow, climbed all over the cars..... etc

The taste of goat milk and goat cheese appeal to me on occasion, but I  didn't want it every day. I also resented having to buy cream for our coffee even though I was milking every day.

Affection wise - it varies by individual, but all my critters love humans. If I go sit in the pasture, they'll all wander over and lie beside me, chewing cud.  The goats must walk on me first, chew on my buttons or try to eat my earrings, and fight over who sits next to me before they'll lie down, but eventually, they do, too.
The goats are best for walking in the woods - they stay  close, like a good dog would, and munch at tree branches I pull down for them.

That said, goats have those tidy little manure beads, while cow pies are beastly. The goats don't lure flies from 2 counties away. It's easier to push them off of your toes and it hurts less.

You'll want to check to see if your mini animals have mini teats if you will be hand milking. Mini teats are maxi pains no matter what species.

They all yell equally loud when they're in heat - and all night long.

Bucks stink no matter what size. A mean bull can kill you even if he is a mini.

Our local butchers charge a flat rate for each animal, so smaller animals are more costly to process than large ones.

I found the mini cow to be a really nice compromise between the full size cow and the goats.
I have some interest in learning to train oxen and the mid-size beasties will be must less intimidating for me. 

So I think it's really true - you have to pick the species and breed that YOU like.
Everyone is so different in what their preferences, in their geography and their needs. 
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1791
    
  14
Great information, thank you...



Our local butchers charge a flat rate for each animal, so smaller animals are more costly to process than large ones.



Um... if the charge is the same then how exactly do minis cost 'more'?
          


Joined: Jul 26, 2010
Posts: 21
Say they charge a flat fee of  $70 for processing.  A  heavy animal means you bring home more lbs of meat for that same 70 dollars than you'd get from  a smaller animal.
I guess in some areas butchers don't charge that way, but that's how they do in my region. Its just something you might want to look into and consider.

That also brings up the question about on-farm processing. If you will be butchering your own animals for home use, mini's would be much easier for the average person than full size beasties.

The size of the hides, if you will be saving those, is more manageable too.
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1791
    
  14
Oh I see, I wasn't thinking about price on the open market.
Pound for pound you would have to apply that same fee, and so if the base selling price were the same the end price would be higher for the mini-cow - gotcha.

I was considering it would be much cheaper for me to raise & eat my own beef instead of buying grass-fed top dollar (and pay for it's butchering) as I do now    Well I can hope anyway.

                        


Joined: Sep 13, 2010
Posts: 148
Location: South Central Idaho
I think you might like Pharo Cattle Company

http://www.pharocattle.com/philosophies.htm


If you get too far from the stone age .. things go haywire.
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2475
Location: FL
    
  79
Have a couple of pics of Bull, thats what I call him, to share...

I think I'll m ake this one my Christmas card this year.  Merry Christmoo!


[Thumbnail for bull1.jpg]

Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2475
Location: FL
    
  79
Bull by his scratching tree


[Thumbnail for bull3.jpg]

Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2475
Location: FL
    
  79
He is fully grown, just about reaches my belt.  That's Fanny in the background, neighbors horse.


[Thumbnail for bull2.jpg]

Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1791
    
  14
Great pictures Ken   

Your making me jealous . . . .
                            


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 32
Location: Vancouver Island, BC
Hi all,
Considering small animals for small properties--how do sheep compare to the goats vs cows discussion?  Small, peaceful dispositions, milk and meat... Issues to consider?
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
It depends (I guess just about every question could be answered that way, LOL!).  What specifically do you want them for?  How many people would you be feeding?  Any use for wool?  How much land is available for pasture and for raising winter feed?  What is growing on that land now, and what could you grow on it?  How good is the fencing?  Are you willing to have livestock guardian dogs (which are sometimes escape artists and often bark a lot at night) to protect the sheep, or would you be putting them inside a locked barn at night?  How much time do you have at lambing season?

None of the sheep breeds that are milked, are as good of milkers as goats.  Some milk fairly well, but as far as I know, none have as long a lactation as a decent goat (goats will milk for ten months of the year and some can be 'milked through' for two or more years without re-breeding).  Most sheep will only milk for about six months of the year.  This may be an advantage if you want to make cheese and store it for the dry months of the year, but if you need fluid milk year-round, sheep probably aren't your best choice. 

Some breeds of sheep are better meat animals than any of the goats if you like lamb/mutton (I prefer chevon, myself).  There are several breeds that are used in sheep dairy operations and are also good meat animals; generally these breeds aren't the best for wool, but the Icelandic sheep are considered to be pretty decent for all three uses.  (You didn't mention wool in your post, though, so maybe that isn't a consideration for you.)

Sheep, for the most part, require grass and some forbes in their diet; some will browse a little bit like goats and deer (and don't turn a flock of sheep into a young orchard as they will bark and kill the trees!).  They usually need only small amounts of grain, if any at all.  They do need salt and minerals, as well as clean water.  And they will need to be wormed regularly; have certain vaccinations in some areas; have their hooves checked and trimmed once in a while; and you have to watch out for maggots and lice among other external pests.  (There's a reason why most sheep raisers remove the tails from their lambs -- if the tails are left on, and get dirty from wet manure, maggots can literally eat the sheep alive.  Icelandics, Shetlands, Finn Sheep, and Romanovs all have naturally short tails if you want to avoid having to dock your lambs' tails.)  Sheep with fleeces must be shorn annually unless they are a naturally-shedding breed, and even most of those don't shed completely and will need to be clipped.  If the fleece isn't shorn, it just continues to grow until the sheep is unable to move and feed, so this isn't an optional item.  It can be difficult to find a shearer willing to come to your place for just a handful of sheep, so it's best to either learn to shear them yourself, or go together with several neighbors with small flocks and take all the sheep to a central location for shearing.  (If you are going to keep sheep that need to be shorn, keep the wool clean while on the sheep -- put coats on them if you have to -- and skirt it before bagging the wool.  It will be worth something to handspinners this way.  Dirty fleeces or fleeces full of burrs and foxtail are only good for mulch.)

Sheep can be just as good at getting through fences as goats are, so fences need to be very good and tight.  They are also extremely vulnerable to stray dogs and coyotes, as well as to larger predators.  So again, good fences and if possible, livestock guardian dogs are needed. 

The number of sheep you can raise on a piece of ground is going to vary considerably depending on your climate.  In the humid East, generally they figure around six animals per acre; in the arid West it might be twenty acres per sheep, depending on where you are!

Kathleen

ETA:  You mentioned disposition.  Most ewes are pretty calm.  Some are a little skittish, but usually if you spend some time with them, you can get them to calm down.  Rams can be dangerous.  Even a small ram needs to be 'handle with care' -- be very cautious around them.  Unless you have a neighbor with a good ram that you can use, you will have to keep a ram.  If you watch two rams knocking heads, they can hit one another with enough force to knock themselves cuckoo -- a four-hundred pound ram hitting YOU at a dead run could at the least break some bones.  Even a little Shetland ram could break some bones.  I'm not sure what to tell you about working with them -- when we had friends with sheep (Shetlands and Merinos) I didn't go in the ram pens.  We had some ewes at our house, but never a ram.  If my buck goat challenges me, I flip him upside down and sit on him until he submits.  But I'm don't think that would be such a good idea with a sheep, and a large ram would probably be difficult to flip in any case. 

                            


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 32
Location: Vancouver Island, BC
Kathleen, thank you so much for all of that useful information.  I love the idea of sheep, and the wool is a definite bonus.  I wondered if there were mini-versions like cows and goats.  But your response makes clear that a milking goat or two will likely be the best fit for us down the road; we just don't have pasture, and it sounds like the more mixed brush and meadow that we have a little of is better suited to chickens, ducks, and then possibly a goat.  But sheep will clearly have to wait until we have more property!  So much to consider!
Brice Moss


Joined: Jul 28, 2010
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
    
    2
a fiber goat makes higher value fiber than any but the finest sheep, if I were gonna go to the trouble of shearing by hand I'd want fiber that was worth the work, same goat can provide most of your household dairy for about half the year.

biggest difference in my view is intelligence, goats can be trouble cause they is smart sheep can be trouble cause they are dumb. I prefer to deal with animals I can reason with though its prolly more work
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
Actually, goats are NOT intelligent.  They are clever, especially when it comes to opening gates, finding holes to squeeze through, and getting into trouble.  But intelligence implies the ability to think ahead a bit, and they don't have that.  Mine have destroyed the roof over their own heads when I had them in one of those portable Costco carports; they foul their own food and water if you don't take precautions to prevent it (and then won't touch what they've fouled); they are just about as prone to over-eating on grain -- and then getting sick from it -- as horses. 

In all honesty, I think that sheep and goats are probably about equally intelligent -- I've had sheep that were just as clever about being escape artists as any goats I've had. 

As for the value of mohair (the fiber from angora goats), the highest value is for kid angora, which only comes once per animal.  Cashmere is high value, but has to be cleaned (has hair mixed with it) and each goat produces only a few ounces per year.  Neither angoras nor Cashmere goats (if purebred) are particularly good milk producers, so are probably not the best choice for a dual-purpose animal.  However, since most goats produce some cashmere, it might be possible, with some work and a commitment of at least a decade, to produce a strain that was good for both cashmere and for milk.  Add meat to the equation and I'll buy some breeding stock from you, LOL!  It would be harder to do this with Angora goats partly because Angoras are much smaller than most dairy breeds, and partly because a lot more energy goes into growing a good coat of mohair than into a winter fluff of a few ounces of cashmere -- energy devoted to hair or wool isn't available to go into meat or the milk pail.

Kathleen
                            


Joined: Aug 07, 2010
Posts: 271
I currently have a mix of purebred nigerian goats and purebred Jacob sheep. The nigies are way easier for me to handle (by myself, I need to be able to manage my critters alone).  Each has their own personality, the difference being, the goats tend to "ask and beg" when they want something, the sheep "demand". For example, if I went out with one handful of grain, I would be immediately surrounded, probably have some hooves on me from the goats, but the sheep would walk through the goats, pushing and shoving if they needed to, then if I didn't give up the goods, I would more than likely get butted from a horned sheep. Not good. I have found each to be very cold hardy and tolerant to nasty weather conditions (zone 4) NE Washington state, near Canadian border. The difference is.. the goats choose to spend their nights in the barn, the sheep sleep outside under the stars, regardless of weather or time of year.
During the summer, all free range (sigh... just got a neighbor... I suspect it's time to bring that to an end).

Nigies have this incredibly luscious milk, overall is higher in butterfat as well as a milk protein called casein than other dairy goat breeders. I've heard (I don't know) that you can make 25% more cheese per volumn of nigie milk than per the same volumn of saanen milk.

I've also heard that if you have goats you need a fence tight enough to hold water. Dunno who said it, but they knew what they were talking about.

Both my nigies and my sheep have stood of coyotes and dogs successfully, although the Jacobs are much more adept at it. Goats got lost once (ok, they knew where they were), spent nearly three months in the wild. All survived... the girls came home pregnant (The bucks were with them). Didn't have the sheep back then.

What I don't like about nigies: when I milk I don't get huge quantities of milk, so I have to clean more udders and milk more goats than I would with a bigger breed.
Sigh.. .they girdled some trees that I wanted.... oops.
Getting hay for winter feed

What I do like about nigies:
*I can handle them myself, without help.
*Incredibly prolific--they have litters!- normally have triplets and quads or quints happen.
*Butter fat/protein content of milk
*Saleability-- I think it's better than full sized goats
*easy for children to handle
*rabbit sized goat berries, great for the garden
*gentle



laura sharpe


Joined: Nov 17, 2012
Posts: 244
    
    2
I like the idea jamie. I do not have any experiences with cows at all. I do see the wisdom in buying them and breeding them, it could be a good income. Do you have to own a bull or can you just buy semen? Oh I do know some would point out this isnt permie, and it isnt, but if anyone follows my posts i am a fan of start small and then get better and bigger. It would be much more cost effective to raise two females, unrelated, and raise their two offspring from each year using different semen so you now have a genetically diverse herd. Isn't this to be hoped for?
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2475
Location: FL
    
  79
Bull's "Sexy Glamour Shot"


[Thumbnail for bull.jpg]

Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2475
Location: FL
    
  79
Added for perspective.
I'm 6' tall.


[Thumbnail for bull2.jpg]

Cj Verde
pollinator

Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 3237
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
    
  54
Ken, that bull is way smaller than mine!

I have mini-belted Galloways and I'm pretty happy with them but the smaller they are the easier it is for them to escape. Belties are probably even more likely to escape as they are good foragers (euphemism for escape artist). I think these belties are 15 months old.



27 month old bull = 750 lbs live weight which = 250 lbs meat. A benefit to Belties is no need to castrate.

Someone mentioned buying a full sized animal and butchering young but you're not supposed to. You can butcher at less than 6 months for veal and after 18 months which is basically full sized. If you do it in between the meat is supposedly not the right texture.


My project thread
Agriculture collects solar energy two-dimensionally; but silviculture collects it three dimensionally.
Adam Klaus
pollinator

Joined: Apr 16, 2013
Posts: 851
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
    
  50
Cj Verde wrote:
Someone mentioned buying a full sized animal and butchering young but you're not supposed to. You can butcher at less than 6 months for veal and after 18 months which is basically full sized. If you do it in between the meat is supposedly not the right texture.


Not at all true in my experience.

I butcher my uncastrated Brown Swiss bulls at 12-18 months of age. The meat quality is excellent in all regards. Maybe if you were to castrate, there would be an issue, maybe. But definitely, my intact young bull beef is excellent in texture, flavor, yield, and efficiency.

Go baby bull beef!


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Cj Verde
pollinator

Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 3237
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
    
  54
Well, I'm relaying heresay. I wonder if breed is a factor.
I'm not clear if castration is about flavor or more energy going into growing but, like I said, from experience it isn't an issue with belties.

I've also heard that at a certain point (age) you need to turn it all into ground beef. So far, a 3 yr old mini is fine as cuts though. Except for the T-bones - they were tough.

I do wonder if some of that meat could be not ground and just braised?
Joseph Fields


Joined: Feb 23, 2011
Posts: 162
Location: Berea, Kentucky
    
    1
I think for most people that have small acreage (like me) sheep and goats are a better fit. I think mini cow's are awesome. I'd like to have a couple some day. Just a few hang ups that keep me getting rom them.
They are expensive in my area, I hope the price comes down. I could buy 13 feeder lambs for what one mini cow cost in my area. That would be around 450 pounds of lamb. I like having my own breeding stock. Even if a mini bull eats half as much as a full size cow, that's grass that could feed 3 or 4 sheep. If I could find someone with a stud that would negate part of that cost, but then, I wound have to buy equipment to move a mini cow around. I can put a 200 pound sheep in a large dog crate in a pickup. Lamb turn around is a lot faster than a cow. Hair sheep can have three sets of lambs in 2 years. Just to many down sides for me.
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2513
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  22
How do they do against coyotes and dogs?

Around here you need to expect significant predator losses of sheep and goats unless you have really good guards, and when you figure in the dog food bill the sheep are way less attractive.

If you have a pickup, you can build a ramp and stock rack that will hold a mini cow pretty cheap and easy. I built a 4x6 carrier (basically a 3XL dog crate) out of 2 cattle panels--one good horse-tight one for all the sides and one cheaper one for the top and bottom. Only tools were a bolt cutter and vice grip.


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subject: Pros and Cons of Miniature livestock
 
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