Bull

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10 years 11 months ago #34882 by Tui Ridge
Bull was created by Tui Ridge
We have 3 lowline X heifers who have just produced their first calf each - 2 bull calves and 1 heifer calf. So i'm thinking ahead to next summer when I will want to get them back in calf again.

This time around we leased a pure lowline bull (Sirocco :D ) but he has since moved up north further and its just too far for us to get him back again (if his new owners were even interested.)

I've been pondering and I really want to stick to another lowline bull - our girls are lovely and friendly and placid; Sirrocco was lovely and friendly and placid and the babies are so small and cute (seems like a pretty good reason to me :D ).

So I have 3 options that I can think of:

1. find another lowline bull to lease - have been looking but have found none in this area.

2. Buy a lowline bull - there are some purebred, registerd 6mth old bull calves for sale in our area for a reasonable price. I know of at least 1 person who would be interested in 'borrowing' him for a couple of months each year.

3. Keep one of our 3/4 lowline bull calves and sell his Mum; except I want to keep his 1/2 sister to add to our little herd and his Mum is the friendliest / most placid of our 3 girls and I think she may make a good nurse cow.

Of course there are the logistics of keeping a Bull on our property - fencing and neighbors with heifers etc.

I'm after ideas / thoughts / things I need to consider etc.

TIA :)

Me and hubby and 2 boys, Alpacas, Arapawa sheep, Lowline cattle, lots and lots of chooks and ducks ;)

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10 years 11 months ago #458641 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Bull
How big is your place? How many paddocks, how many are on boundaries with neighbours with cattle? Do you have electric fencing? Just a few first questions. :)

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10 years 11 months ago #458642 by Tui Ridge
Replied by Tui Ridge on topic Bull
We have 15 acres, we also have the use of (with permission of course!) the back 1/2 of the neighbors property - another about 8 acres but lots of weeds / scrub etc but some areas of good grazing and we are slowly working on tidying it up.

Our boundary fences are good - 7 wire and batons etc. most of our internal fencing has electrics we are slowly upgrading to sheep netting with a top hot wire. One area is only fenced for our alpaca - wouldn't keep cattle in - keeps the sheep in but not the lambs :rolleyes: about 4-5 acres.

Other then that we have 3 smallish paddocks, 1 largish paddock and a huge paddock (that we can split into 2 large paddocks - will be our next bit of fencing to do). The neighbouring block is one big area - no internal fencing or electrics (unless we take a portable unit over there). The far boundary fence is good but neighbours over there used to have belted galloways - haven't seen any sign of them for over 6 months and not sure if they have cows or steers.

Bottom boundary is a river - big dairy farm on far side. Other main boundary he has weaners and yearlings (I think) - our front neighbour is fattening up a mob of heifers about 18mths old at the moment.

Me and hubby and 2 boys, Alpacas, Arapawa sheep, Lowline cattle, lots and lots of chooks and ducks ;)

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10 years 11 months ago #458643 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Bull
It's usually the fencing issues which cause trouble if you have bulls. Good fences with electricity will generally keep bulls in order. If you give them a chance to find out how to get out, it's quite hard to get them back under control in a trustworthy manner.

On many farms bulls spend lots of their lives alone, but cattle are never really happy like that. If a bull is inclined to wander, being alone will add to that inclination.

On a small place though, they're not really far enough away from other animals to be very much alone.

It sounds like you may have the infrastructure to manage a bull alright. Except I'd be inclined to do something to ensure the boundary fences are as hot as anything internal. Better to have to deal with an internal "escape" than one involving a neighbour's heifers!

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10 years 11 months ago #458644 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Bull
What about AI, you would probably then have access to a better proven bull than either using just any bull, your own part bred Lowline, or a bull of another breed/cross that was just handy.

Regarding the time of mating-you mentioned -"next summer' the normal time would be spring, as in October, so that resultant calves coincide with grass growth for milk production and calves, when they need it most. It would also coincide with when the AI technicians would be operating in your area.

Have you checked out these people? They have semen straws for sale.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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10 years 11 months ago #458645 by blimeyvicki
Replied by blimeyvicki on topic Bull
Can you get someone to come out and AI just 2 or 3 cows? How much does that cost (approx)?

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10 years 11 months ago #458648 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Bull
blimeyvicki, get in touch with one of the national AI companies, like CRV Ambreed or LIC (livestock improvement) They will let you know who your closest technician is. Look up their websites , like this one, and you will see a list of breeds they have stock, or alternatively you organise to buy some straws from an individual and have them delivered to your technicians 'tank' When you notice your cow is in season-yes they will come out to one if they are notified you are on the list, and inseminate it for you.
It is up to you to observe when a cow is ready and in standing heat and the most suitable time-Ruth will advise what to look for!
You may have to buy 3 straws to ensure at least one and if you are lucky, 2 pregnancies!

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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10 years 11 months ago #458649 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Bull
Sirocco is available as A!, thats what I have used in the past.
How far north did he go as David Klee in ahuroa may lease you a bull.
On the other hand, my jersey x lowline were pretty good and I think, for me anyway, rather than having a bull on a small property, i would be looking either to A! or to find a Jersey Bull.
There is also Tartan farms down your way and he has lowline bulls he leases out, or did.
If you keep one of the boys as a bull, how are you going to keep him away from your new heifer calf until she comes of age?

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10 years 11 months ago #458652 by Tui Ridge
Replied by Tui Ridge on topic Bull
We looked into AI'ing before we found sirrocco - we can get straws from Tartan farms (he doesn't lease any more) or sirrocco straws but we couldn't get any AI tech / company to return our calls :rolleyes: also the logistics of getting a tech out to do 4 cows (also counting Speckles our new house cow) when they are cycling / timing etc made me a bit [B)]:confused::eek:

I suspect we will always have a young steer or 2 around to keep a bull company.

Keeping him away from his sister would be the same problem as keeping him away from any of the girls - my plan would be to keep a 'boy mob' and a 'girl and babies mob' - just like we do with the alpacas. When a boy is weaned he is moved to the boy mob (6 months old with alpacas - i'm guessing about the same age with calves?) he wouldn't be old enough at 6 months to do any 'damage' would he? [;)]

As for timing - I was thinking calving Oct / Nov - the sheep are lambing july / august, one lot of alpacas unpac september the other lot march /april so i'd want to stagger the calving to fit in with that lot. (In my plans anyway :rolleyes:).

Me and hubby and 2 boys, Alpacas, Arapawa sheep, Lowline cattle, lots and lots of chooks and ducks ;)

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10 years 11 months ago #458656 by oskatd
Replied by oskatd on topic Bull
Just a thought about the river, we had a borrowed dexter bull (from Wino) who swam across the pond at our old place to get to a cow. When we opened the gate between the two properties, he just walked back (obviously got what he went for ;)) - not so easy with a river. Ofcourse it might be a huge river, but bulls can swim. In summary ;)

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10 years 11 months ago #458665 by tonic
Replied by tonic on topic Bull
shame you are not closer, my bull is finished with our cows for this season. he is lovely and placid, not tame but very unconcerned about anything. check out any bull you get for temperment, i have seen some very spooky lowlines and some that are just naturally lovely. obviously you do not want a spooky bull.

as far as fencing goes, our chap is shorter than the 7 wire post and batten fences and has never tried to jump them, even with dairy heifers nearby. he will put his head through it and push all the battens together which means he could in theory push himself through. we put an electric wire (with a very weak shock due to our shonky set up) at his head height and not a batten has been touched since.

so, if you want to go down the owning a bull route fences would be the first thing to consider. can you keep him safely away from his daughters once they are cycling. can you keep him away from other peoples cows, esp the dairy farm as messing up their breeding can cost them greatly. at least with lowlines you have a shorter, less agile bull to contend with though.

also, we have a bull for just a few cows. it works for us as we have either a steer or two or the ram and horses for him to hang out with when i don't want him with the cows. i would not do it if i had to keep him on his own for long periods as i like my herd animals to have some company. ours likes the ram and the horses and will hang out with them by choice so i don't mind him being without bovine company at times. remember also that a bull will be working for a few weeks each year, then you will be caring for and feeding him for the rest of the year while he holidays. so either leasing one or finding another option will probably be cheaper.

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10 years 11 months ago #458765 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Bull

blimeyvicki;460068 wrote: Can you get someone to come out and AI just 2 or 3 cows? How much does that cost (approx)?

Get in touch with CRV (Ambreed) They do AI for about $50 cash and will come to you when your cow is in standing heat.
I wouldn't recommend LIC. They want you to sign a sheaf of papers which covers everything from bank accounts to birth certificate, and that seems all to do with shares in the company. CRV have a "housecow" service and don't require all that paperwork.
Really nice guys too.
There are some local techys around Pukekohe, one at Mangatangi and you can find a link for them on the CRV website that Sue has posted above.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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10 years 11 months ago #458766 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Bull
I shall repeat my usual as well: LIC techs are better trained. The paperwork is a pain, but you're not signing up for shares, you're just signing up for an account.

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