New & advice for newbies please :)

4 years 8 months ago #546787 by JohnsonNewbies
Hi there

We've recently moved from Auckland to a 13 acre lifestyle block in Mangonui. A complete lifestyle change but we're loving it thus far... except for the zillion unknowns that await us. We plan on getting a few cows & some Wiltshire sheep (need to improve fencing before the sheep can come)

We recently picked up 3x white face heifers approx 6mths old, so they can make a dent in the paddocks & for the freezer in years to come. They are hand reared so quite tame, we can get to about 2m from them but then they walk off, not run - but we can't get super close to them yet. I'm getting mixed messages/advice on drenching for them, one local said don't bother unless needed, but everything online says otherwise. And currently we don't have a way to actually drench them don't have cattle yards (yes probably something we should've thought of pre-getting cows...) The previous owners said they were drenched about "a month ago so won't need doing for 2-3 weeks" which is shortly.
Any advice on how we can tackle the above & if so when I need to get this underway?

Also, we have a great vege patch here but this one plant I can't figure out whether it's a weed or vege - can anyone recognise it?

We got onto this great page from good ol' Country Calendar, the goat farmer episode. Such a great resource for everyone!


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4 years 8 months ago #546790 by LongRidge
Hi Hania and welcome. Because Northland has just got some rain and is still warm then drenching against internal worms might be needed, but ... I'm a firm believer that if the animal has a few worms then if the animal is not too young, nor too old, nor too sick, nor pregnant, then the animals immune system will fight the worms. If you kill the worms with drenches before the immune system has worked then you are prolonging the time that it will start working.
Do not under any circumstances get friendly with your animals. We do, and it is very difficult to get our tame animals killed for our meat, or to put them onto a truck to go on their overseas experience :-(. So keep well away from them. There is also a huger risk of being injured by a a tame animal that wants a scratch, or to get to the food that is being fed to them. I've been belted a couple of times this winter by my too-tame cows. And if you have a dog that does not know how to stand up to cattle, and cattle that do know how to chase a dog, then when the dog follows you into the paddock the cows will run after the dog, the dog will hide behind you, and you will get flattened. It hurts, even if you manage to get up and away before she gores you :-(.
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4 years 8 months ago #546800 by Ronney
Hi and welcome :)
I live not so far away from you and tend to agree with your "local". If the calves are in good condition, have good grass so are not going to be stressed for food, leave well alone.

Next thing is to get yards asap! You cannot own cattle without somewhere solid to contain them for drenching, TB testing, vet visits (and these will happen eventually), ear tagging etc. You will be very unlikely to be able to eat three beasts so will probably be shipped off somewhere else - how is that going to happen without yards and a loading race. They don't have to be state-of-the-art but they do have to be there. You are very definitely going to need yards if you want to keep sheep as there is no way you will be able to handle them otherwise. I own 30-odd cows and 70-odd sheep and use the same set of yards for both.

I don't know how long you have owned your three calves but if they have been hand reared, they will be fairly quiet but probably a little upset at their new home. If they have been grain fed during their rearing (and they probably were) buy a bag of Super50+ from RD1 and put it in dishes in their paddock at the same time every day and then walk off and leave them to it. Like most animals, they are ruled by their stomachs and will meet you at the gate after a week or so. I've been at this, off and on, for over 40 years and as I get older have no compunction about making life easier for myself and no compunction about putting a beast in the freezer that I've been giving treats to. I have a good slaughterman and the animal is usually eating when it hits the ground. They never know what hit them and that's the way it should be.

Align yourself with one of the vet clinics up here. I use Far North Vets but there are also Top Vets and I think they have a clinic at Coopers Beach. Whichever you choose to go with, they are your port in a storm. They know the area, they know the land, they know the people.

Good luck with your venture,
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