Template: Skinny | Lean | Well Rounded | Plump
Old 2nd August 2009, 08:02 PM   #1
cranky
advanced member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Upper Hutt
Posts: 15
Raising bobby calves

Hi all, we are new to lsb living and are looking at getting 4, 4 day old bobby calves to raise for our own use, we have 9 acres of hill and flat land. we also have some alpacas and llamas. we are wondering what is involved and what the costs would be for the milk and anything else we would need. any advice would be great.
cranky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd August 2009, 08:04 PM   #2
reggit
lsb member
Friend of LSB
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LSBer on the loose, footloose and fancy free!
Posts: 18,509
Blog Entries: 19
Re: Raising bobby calves

Hi cranky, and welcome to the site hopefully someone will be along soon who can provide a bit of info and advice.
__________________
Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! PM me...
reggit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd August 2009, 08:27 PM   #3
LongRidge
lsb member
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: nelson, New Zealand.
Posts: 13,910
Re: Raising bobby calves

Are you sure that you will be able to kill and eat a calf that you have bottle-fed twice daily for 6 weeks, and once daily for 6 more weeks?
You will need $200 and upwards to raise a calf to weaning, by which time you will be able to sell it for $150 to $200.
LongRidge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd August 2009, 08:29 PM   #4
reggit
lsb member
Friend of LSB
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LSBer on the loose, footloose and fancy free!
Posts: 18,509
Blog Entries: 19
Re: Raising bobby calves

Longridge, it seems to depend where in the country you are and what the calves breed or crossbreed is. Weaner fresian x hereford crosses up here sell for $350 each
__________________
Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! PM me...
reggit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd August 2009, 08:33 PM   #5
Kate
LSB web goddess
 
Kate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Helena Bay, Northland
Posts: 12,853
Blog Entries: 16
Re: Raising bobby calves

Hi Cranky and welcome to lsb

We've raised cattle from 4 days old and if you want very friendly cattle it's the way to do it. We raised Jo from 4 days and she's now 8 and our herd leader and very tame. If you look at the lsb header at the top of the page, that's Jo with my husband on the right Jo has bred us a number of excellent calves.

We were never going to eat any of our hand-reared animals so got very attached to them.

Offer them hay immediately, they'll nibble at it and it will help their rumens to develop. A feed like Moozlie is ideal when they're a little older. They love it and it's made for calves so has all the nutrients they need.

I can't think of anything to add but if you need to know more then just ask.

Cheers
Kate
__________________
lsb web goddess
Kate is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd August 2009, 09:04 PM   #6
FraSla
advanced member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Waitaki Valley
Posts: 150
Re: Raising bobby calves

Hey Cranky,
If you've got a dairy farm nearby you could go to the and work out a price for any excess calf, although then you have to have storage or be able to get fresh stuff every 2 or 3 days. Or you could use milk powder. Now I'm not sure of this years price, it tends to fluctuate a wee bit but 3 years ago it was $99 for a 25kg bag. If you choose milk powder you'll need a large bucket to mix it in - a 20 litre would be easier even though you'll only be mixing 8 litres just for spill factor, and I recommend getting a whisk to mix it with (farm shops sell big ones). I'm not sure exactly, depending on how long you feed them for but for 4 calves you might use 2 or 3 bags of powder.

For the first month should feed them twice a day, 2 litres each feed, increasing to 3 then 4 litres. You could bottle feed them, although you'll need to be able to seperate them into pairs for each feed or have another person to help each time. The easier option would be to get a feeder from CRT or one of those ones, milk bar make 5 tit ones and at four days old they will be trained to go on them. If you want them to be friendly and don't intend to have them killed give them lots of cuddles while they are feeding till they get used to you, otherwise don't touch them much.

They need to have shelter, a wee shed of some sort will do, put straw on the floor if you can, or bark chips or something similar. To test it out sit down in the back of it and if your warm it'll be fine. They need to have fresh water everyday and as Kate said above hay to chew to get their rumen started. Use meadow hay or straw never give them lucerne because it is too tough on their gut and their won't thrive.

Don't be disheartened by what others have said, raising calves is a wonderful experience and if you play your cards right can be profitable. Although I would recommend raising them through to two year olds before selling them and/or you wouldn't want to eat them till then anyway.

Good luck, let us know how you get on. Oh and welcome!!
__________________
I'm open minded and I'm looking to learn something everyday.
FraSla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd August 2009, 09:38 PM   #7
sod
lsb member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Masterton, New Zealand.
Posts: 5,087
Re: Raising bobby calves

Hi Cranky if you have time calves are cheap at the moment, get yours from a farm not sale if you can, check they have had colostom get them to stand up move, if you can go just before they are fed pick the keen/bellowing ones with clean bums. You should get about $200 more than you payed for them as weaners, we work on this most years here they are $300 to$350 . so then work out your costs, we rear ours on nurse cows so I cant help with costs sorry. If you like calves and are keen you canhave fun don't name themor call then roast beef HAHA
__________________
Having time is a measure of enthusiasm
sod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd August 2009, 09:40 PM   #8
reggit
lsb member
Friend of LSB
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LSBer on the loose, footloose and fancy free!
Posts: 18,509
Blog Entries: 19
Re: Raising bobby calves

Quote:
Originally Posted by sod View Post
If you like calves and are keen you canhave fun don't name themor call then roast beef HAHA
Or Kelvin(ator)

Or Stewie

Or Herbie

Or...?
__________________
Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! PM me...
reggit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd August 2009, 10:16 PM   #9
sod
lsb member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Masterton, New Zealand.
Posts: 5,087
Re: Raising bobby calves

Tigger thats it
__________________
Having time is a measure of enthusiasm
sod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 12:54 AM   #10
wiredkiwi
advanced member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Invercargill
Posts: 296
Re: Raising bobby calves

Calf raising is a good thing for a LSB - I spent a bunch of time growing up raising dairy replacements and it's really rewarding, although you need to be aware of some of the requirements - mainly time, facilities and more facilities! Even with only 4 calves, the following still applies!

Calf raising isn't for me now as I like to sleep in whenever I can! Plus there are days I'm not at home and have to get others to feed my 'critters' - you pretty much have to be onsite for most of your calves first 3 months so it can be a tie.

I'm not set up for calves either, as they need really good indoor shelter (not big, but totally wweatherproof), plus you would probably find you need an isolation shelter (one nasty bug can take take down your whole mob). Good pens are essential for castrating and tagging - you have to have a primary and secondary ear tag in each beast to sell cattle. My neighbour tends to wait too long to do her calves and I can tell you it's a nightmare trying to tag and castrate the blighters even in good yards - they can be pretty damn strong! So shelters and pens/yards can set you back a bit if you don't already have them.

I think the final thing (and most important for a successful operation) is cleanliness - you don't have to have brand new facilities with acres of concrete, but immaculately clean, dry, draft-free buildings, deep straw beds, and good gravel areas where you will be working are essential! Easy access to copious amounts of boiling water for cleaning teats and buckets, airtight drums for storing milk powder and Moozli, and some way of lugging lots of heavy containers of milk & feed around (eg motorbike & trailer) are ideal.

Since I knew what went into raising really healthy calves before I bought my LSB, I took an easier route (easier for me) to just run a small fattening operation. I buy in weanlings and raise through to killing weights (24 - 30 months). It's fairly simple - turf them into a paddock (tagged and castrated) and wave a bit of pour-on at them once or twice. The only downside is they eat*huge* amounts of grass! However be aware that to fatten cattle, for the times you need to drench and handle them you need far more industrial strength yards and a proper cattle trailer or to call in a stock truck to get them off the property - it can sometimes be better to get rid of them as weanlings at the sales and be able to use smaller, cheaper yards and standard trailer crates.

Calves are a heck of a cute, and raising them is pretty rewarding. Good luck with it, do let us know how you get on!
__________________
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Horses must be magnetic. Have one and others come along to join it.
wiredkiwi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 01:36 AM   #11
cowvet
lsb member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: .
Posts: 5,896
Re: Raising bobby calves

I think the MOST important thing is to get the right calves. It is essential that they have had a good couple of litres of colostrum within 12 hours or birth....get that bit right and there are 101 ways to raise a calf ;-)
__________________

I love animals...they're delicious
cowvet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 08:50 AM   #12
Seaside
Compulsive blatherer
Friend of LSB
 
Seaside's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Eyrewell, North Canterbury, New Zealand.
Posts: 2,685
Blog Entries: 16
Re: Raising bobby calves

I have never raised calves - too busy and too lazy, so we buy them as weaners or yearlings. However, I have fed my neighbour's calves for a week while they were away.

They had theirs in an open-sided barn, gated, for several months. They also have a calf crate that they used for a new arrival that was getting bullied by the slightly older calves and who wasn't doing well healthwise.

You need a calfatiere (sp?) for feeding, which is like a plastic paddling pool (except semi circle) with teats. This has to be washed out after every feed.

You need to feed milk twice a day, I think it's for 3 months? Or perhaps they go to once a day when older. Someone else will know. Also introducing calf pellets at a certain age.

If they are not naturally polled (bred not to grow horns), you will need to get their horn buds cauterised or cut off. I believe this has to be done by a vet.

Finally, be prepared to get every body part sucked and drooled on at feeding time
__________________
Kids, beasts, and chillies in Swannanoa South.
www.farmaway.co.nz

Last edited by Seaside; 3rd August 2009 at 10:04 AM..
Seaside is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 09:14 AM   #13
hilldweller
...neither up nor down...
Friend of LSB
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Otago
Posts: 8,509
Re: Raising bobby calves

Bobby calves are cute If you're looking into different feeding regimes, just be aware that the ones that advocate early introduction of meal/grain products etc to stimulate rumen development and allow very early weaning off milk at just a few weeks of age are quite a departure from natural cow-rearing (weaning at say 6-10 months). Those regimes are therefore pushing the limits of what a calf can cope with and the calf is unlikely to do as well and there is more risk of problems. I'm not saying don't go down that track, but if you do, just be aware that you need to be very vigilant about standards of care and on the look-out for early signs that a calf is not doing as well as it should. Whatever you do, buy bright healthy calves with dry navels that have had colostrum. Don't be tempted to take pity on a sickie unless you know what you're up against. If possible, try to buy direct from a farm, not via sales - gives you access to better information and means much less stress and risk of exposure to disease for the calf.
__________________
hilldweller
hilldweller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 09:25 AM   #14
Sue
Moos and clucks
Friend of LSB
 
Sue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Levin, New Zealand.
Posts: 11,360
Re: Raising bobby calves

Also pick what breed or cross carefully.
Preferably pick calves which have been sired by beef bulls, Angus Hereford etc.
Bull calves will grow best but need to be steered at an early age, beware of straight jersey or freisians of either sex as they will not be as easy to sell or fatten.
__________________
Sue
Sue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 09:37 AM   #15
edster951
lsb member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: invercargill, New Zealand.
Posts: 535
Re: Raising bobby calves

For get what others have said about not naming them.

Give them a name, and from day one tell yourself and your family they are for the freezer, if that is what you want them for.

We name ours, and its easier to say "Diasy has scours today" Or " Nigel is doing well" then there is no identity crises.

Killing ours was never an issue when named.

Then as others have said, feed 2 litres twice a day, check with vet for vaccinations etc..

You'll love them, they are so much fun.
__________________
Eddie
Invercargill
New Zealand
edster951 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 10:20 AM   #16
Ronney
lsb member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Fairburn, Kaitaia, New Zealand.
Posts: 7,125
Re: Raising bobby calves

As Cowvet says, there are 101 ways to rear calves and you are already getting a lot of confusing information.

This site has a very good resource section and I suggest you go here:
http://www.lifestyleblock.co.nz/inde...d-calving.html

and once you have read that, come back and ask any questions or clarify anything that isn't clear.

Once you've got it right, calf rearing is very rewarding

Cheers,
Ronnie
Ronney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 10:48 AM   #17
bev
lsb member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Te Aroha, New Zealand.
Posts: 2,475
Blog Entries: 1
Re: Raising bobby calves

There is going to be alot of advice given about rearing them.
If you are planning on rearing for meat, definately get a beefy cross. A hereford X will always bring good money no matter what time of year it is. A angus X will bring good money when they are 18month old or older, Heifers generally 'fatten' earlier than steers, but steers bring in better money, so depends on what/when you want to sell. Heifers also come into season, so can bruise each other stupid if close to killing, not to mention any nearby bulls!! (as you often read on here)
If you want a house cow, a beefy cross will be ok too, they dont make as much as a straight Dairy, but theres only so much milk you need, and i find that you have less metabolic problems with them.
bev is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 12:14 PM   #18
sod
lsb member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Masterton, New Zealand.
Posts: 5,087
Re: Raising bobby calves

Best crosses we've ever had for growth and ease to do were wait for it...............Murray Grey cross black n white but seem hard to find
__________________
Having time is a measure of enthusiasm
sod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 01:32 PM   #19
LongRidge
lsb member
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: nelson, New Zealand.
Posts: 13,910
Re: Raising bobby calves

We've done it 3 times. The first year was profitable but the other 2 were huge losses.
Remember that you cannot get straight beef bobbies. Try to get calves that have absolutely no Jersey in them unless you want a housecow. They grow slower so you've got to feed them through more winters to get them to the same size as a Friesian X, they have yellower fat, and have a different flavour that some people do not like.
LongRidge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 02:02 PM   #20
Cinsara
Slave to the Critters
Friend of LSB
 
Cinsara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Nthrn Waikato
Posts: 4,474
Re: Raising bobby calves

I prefer to buy them after someone else has done all the hard work and I work full time. Black white face steers will cost $300+ as weaners and will sell for $700+ after less than a year. You can also choose ones that have been ringed already (or not if you want bulls) and they will have been ear tagged as well - either from your local farmer or the sales. One year I bought 3 Charolais (who came off mum that morning I found out later which was obvious thinking back but I didn't realise at the time being a city kid) for $280 which was an absolute bargain and they sold for $780 a year later. No matter how wild a youngster is when it arrives it calms down to a 'follow you everywhere lamb' after it figures out that you're the food lady/gent. I sell as store cos I can't bear to finish I have 10 acres and back in the day when I only had 2 horses I grew 13 weaners up to $700 store steers - good grass in my area though...ex dairy farm.
__________________
>

Save the Earth... it's the only planet with chocolate!



Last edited by Cinsara; 3rd August 2009 at 02:04 PM..
Cinsara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 03:43 PM   #21
max2
Lost in translation
Friend of LSB
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: West Coast Nth Waikato
Posts: 8,289
Re: Raising bobby calves

We have 2 babies at the moment and I went to the sales today with a view to buy another in.

Next week I will be on the lookout for another 2 as I also have 2 jerseys, 1 of which (daisy) gave birth on the 22nd.

I am currently hand milking her until my single milking plant arrives on Wednesday, and have a frozen supply of colstrum

Duncan is a pure jersey bull calf and he will be kept intact as a breeding bull for re-sale in 12 months or so time. Our stock agent advised us of this, and a couple of former dairy farmers also confirmed the info was correct, that Duncan would be worthless if we ring him now.

Freddie is a white faced (currently) bull calf, both born on the 22nd who i bought just over a week ago for $40. Freddie's manhood will be getting seen to shortly.

We bottle feed Freddie of a morning (2 bottles something to buy or at least the red teats to fit on a used but clean bottle) and he lives in a calf pen that SOH built on a bed of straw (11.60 per bale - 1 bale) of a night time.

when the milking plant turns up, Duncan will be joining Freddie.

both are nibbling at hay we feed out of a night time after we have put Freddie on Daisy in the run. (she won't take him and we feel we probably received Freddie a day or so too late to mother on successfully).

We were advised to take Duncan off after 4 days (when the colustrom runs out) but I enjoy seeing Daisy with her calf.

We are going to eat Freddie when old enough. I too would be worried about how E would have reacted in time, however she once had a favourite lamb and when it grew out of its cutness stage, then she wasn't bothered.
Freddie steps on her foot from time to time now and he is getting a bit of a lad in his running, so it won't be long and her interest in the baby will pass.

Better to know what you are eating if you have the choice. I would rather see Freddie dropped in our paddock than send him to the sales or works. They drive the trailers past my office window each week and they all look so sad as they sway about....

but that end of it is a personal choice after all.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	erin & freddie.jpg
Views:	53
Size:	45.4 KB
ID:	2942  
__________________
max2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 03:52 PM   #22
Cinsara
Slave to the Critters
Friend of LSB
 
Cinsara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Nthrn Waikato
Posts: 4,474
Re: Raising bobby calves

Quote:
Originally Posted by swaggie View Post
I would rather see Freddie dropped in our paddock than send him to the sales or works.
In an ideal world home kill is the best option for sure.
__________________
>

Save the Earth... it's the only planet with chocolate!


Cinsara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 03:56 PM   #23
ronnie
lsb member
 
ronnie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Lora Gorge, Winton
Posts: 3,884
Re: Raising bobby calves

I agree that the white faced should be ringed shortly. I also agree the jersey bull would be worthless if ringed, however, don't go holding your breath thinking you might make serious money off him as a yearling.
It can be quite hit and miss and only having one, puts you at a disadvantage.
The growers who grow jersey bulls to use as service bulls, are specialised units who have most, if not all, of the market sewn up.
You may be lucky enough to find a dairy farmer wanting a yearling bull, but most of them buy them in as a 2 year old, by which time the bull is showing all the traits that jersey bulls have, and are well known for.
Do not keep him any longer than absolutely necessary, as they can be exeptionally nasty creatures.

Also, mothering on calves can be a very frustrating excercise. Some cows will acept everyones babies, others want their own and nothing else.

Good luck and enjoy your babies while they are little - they can be a real handful as they grow.
__________________
Cheers
Jan
www.kozitoez.co.nz
ronnie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 03:58 PM   #24
Sue
Moos and clucks
Friend of LSB
 
Sue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Levin, New Zealand.
Posts: 11,360
Re: Raising bobby calves

Swaggie I'm sure people have said it to you already-but be very caustious of entire Jersey bulls, especially those that are reared in close proximity to humans! For some reason their temperamnet is vastly different to the female of the species!

All young bulls turn from being placid young lads to rumbunctious teenagers somewhere after 8 months, or whenever the testosterone gets flowing! I love my bull mob, now just turning 1 year old, they are placid and only interested in their tummies, but I know in another couple of months they will be humping each other, fighting in the yards and generally just ready to work-I can't wait to see them off on the truck to their new destinations!

Just make sure Duncan is confined away from any females from 6 months onwards (Jerseys mature young!) and keep a watchful eye on him whenever you are in the same paddock-bulls without fear and respect of humans can be a danger, especially Jerseys!
__________________
Sue
Sue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd August 2009, 04:48 PM   #25
TKFARMER
freezer meat
Friend of LSB
 
TKFARMER's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: north waikato
Posts: 415
Smile Re: Raising bobby calves

Hi cranky, go to www.nrm.co.nz and click on 2009 calf rearing guide in the left hand column

tkf.
__________________
Playing farmer on 3.5 acres.

Last edited by TKFARMER; 3rd August 2009 at 04:56 PM..
TKFARMER is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +12. The time now is 03:56 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.