Hawkes Bay rookies

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1 year 3 days ago #555510 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
(Sorry for the multiple posts, I just don't want to fight with max file size limitations.)

So right now we have two heifers of our own, Sweetcheeks and Tiger. We're also currently grazing 37 intact feeders, and they met each other today. They were understandably rather excited to meet each other.



One of these boys is going to get very lucky shortly, we just need to decide which one it will be. Next year we'll hopefully have some calves of our own, and we'll gradually build up our own stock over the years.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.
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11 months 3 weeks ago #555581 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
That's an interesting and unwise mating choice. Using a crossbred bull of unknown origin and doubtful value is asking for calving trouble and not much growth in the resulting calf. Try and find a decent bull!

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11 months 3 weeks ago #555584 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
Both our heifers and the calves have been supplied by the same person, who is a good friend and very experienced farmer, so we trust his knowledge.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.

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11 months 3 weeks ago #555585 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
Ok. As a very experienced farmer, I've met a lot of very experienced farmers who do things in ways I find horrifying. But if, on the basis of your own knowledge, you feel confident, of course you're free to do as you please. I was offering an opinion on the basis that it could lead to helpful discussion if you wished it to.

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11 months 3 weeks ago #555588 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
Of course, and any input is very much appreciated. He is a man of high integrity and respected in the community.

We're paying very close attention to the calves, weeding out the "bolshy" ones (there's one in particular who's pawing and grunting that's not going to get a look-in) and seeing which ones are healthiest, calmest and easiest to guide. If we don't find one that we're completely happy with we'll just hold off for another year. We're in no rush to breed, this is a long-term process for us.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.

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11 months 3 weeks ago #555589 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
The point is that they're cross-bred feeder calves which are a by-product of dairy breeding, not a bull bred for good growth, temperament and calving ease. You just never know what kind of calf they'll create.

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11 months 3 weeks ago - 11 months 3 weeks ago #555592 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
Another problem is that both the bull and the heifers are likely to have genes for horns, even if they are polled. Thus about 25% of the calves are likely to need to be dehorned. That is likely to be a minimum $50 per horned calf vet operation. If you had a pure polled beef bull then that cost would be removed :-). And you need a good calf head bale to do it :-(. If it is able to be done, it would be worthwhile getting the bull gene-checked for horns before you use it.
We have always used a polled beef bull for mating our cows, using him for two years then selling him when he starts to get too tame and talkative. But I would never use a hand reared bull because they sneak up behind me and give a friendly bump to tell me they want to play bull games. I have a rig like that and he is very close to having to go. Fortunately he can't run fast, and kind of wobbles along.
Last edit: 11 months 3 weeks ago by LongRidge.

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