Articles from Fairfarmhand

  1. Keeping Cows Cool in Hot Weather

    Even though the end of summer is drawing near, there are still at least four more weeks of hot weather for most areas. In places like Georgia, Texas, Florida and other parts of the South, the heat may hang on through early October. Because cattle have a giant fermenting vat in their bodies in the form of their rumen, they are uncomfortably hot at much lower temperatures than people are. Even at rest, a cow will be generating heat, merely by the action of her rumen digesting her food. By...
  2. The History of Hereford Cattle

    Big, brawny, and red with white faces, Herefords have been popular in the United State cattle industry for decades. These cattle are easy to keep and versatile. Currently, they are very popular to cross with Angus cattle. The resultant offspring are usually black with white faces and feature the hybrid vigor that heterosis brings. Origins During the 1700s, cattle breeders in England set out to improve the red and white cattle that were native to their region. Their desire was to create a...
  3. What's the Big Deal About Grass Fed Meat and Milk Products?

    Whether you are producing your own food products, or just trying to live a simpler, more natural life, you can run across buzz-words that sound good, but to the average consumer have little meaning. Natural, hormone-free, grass-fed, organic-all of these words can seem like jargon to the uninitiated. One phrase that is common nowadays is the term "grass-fed." Read on to get the low down on grass-fed meat and milk. Modern Conventional Farming Techniques Since World War II, most cattle in our...
  4. Hand or Machine Milking?

    After you've decided to buy a milk cow, the next big decision that you'll need to make is whether you should milk by hand or by machine. Here are the pros and cons of both methods to help you make the wisest decision for your farm. Machine Milking Pros Machine milking is quick, often taking less than 10 minutes to milk out the cow. If your cow is nervous, milking quickly is an advantage. Milking by machine means that your milk will be cleaner than hand-milked milk. Dust and flies can't get...
  5. Texas Longhorns

    A symbol of the Wild West, the Texas Longhorn is the only breed of cattle that evolved to adapt to life in the Western United States. Currently, the Longhorn is much less popular than British Breeds like the Angus and Charolais, but for decades the Longhorn was the backbone of the American beef herd. Origins Not long after Columbus discovered America, Spanish explorers brought Andalusian cattle to Central America. These cattle interbred with native Mexican cattle. Over the years, the herds...
  6. Cattle Handling: Fear versus Respect

    A common misunderstanding that novice cattle owners have is the thought that a cow will fear you if you strike it. Of course, I am not advocating beating a cow or other kinds of cruelty to animals of any kind. However, if you watch cattle, it will quickly become apparent that cows are very physical animals. They are not gentle with one another and express dominance by roughly pushing and shoving one another around. When you own cattle, you should not confuse fear and respect. You do want...
  7. Teaching Calves and Cows Respect for Humans

    If you are new to cattle, one temptation that you must resist is expecting them to act like dogs, cats, or even horses. Of course, cows can be funny, cute, and affectionate, but they are still cows. If you don't teach them to respect humans, they can develop dangerous ways of interacting with people. Cattle see the world differently from other animals. Once you understand how they think, you can treat them according to the cow-rule book, and they will respect you as the Boss. Of course,...
  8. Tips for Beginning Cattle Farmers

    Do you have the dream of starting your own cattle farm? Our family started farming over twelve years ago. I've talked to plenty of people, both beginners and experienced farmers. I've also read lots of books about getting started in farming. Here are a few tips for the novice farmer. 1. Stay out of debt. Debt will cripple your farm quicker than you can say "interest payment." Do all that you can to live a debt-free lifestyle, both for the farm and for your personal life. Save up and pay a...
  9. Preventing Fertility Problems

    It is a cattleman's worst nightmare. He's expecting a crop of calves. Day after day passes, and the calves just don't show up. The cows don't look like they are in any hurry to calve. A few calves may arrive, but after a month or two goes by, it is clear to the cattleman that he has a fertility issue in his herd. Whether it is one cow who doesn't breed back reliably, several cows who just can't produce, or most of the herd coming up open, having infertile cows will cost the farmer money....
  10. Five Myths about Cattle

    1. They have four stomachs. Cows are amazing animals, able to take in copious amounts of plant matter and digest it. They are able to do this because they are ruminants. They have a single stomach with four compartments. Each part of their stomach has a specific purpose. Taken together, the stomach of a cow can break down fibrous plant matter and turn it into beef or milk. The first stomach is called the rumen. It is an enormous compartment that is something like a fermentation vat. The...
  11. Lice on Cattle

    They are tiny little creatures but they can have a big impact on your bottom line. Lice are a common problem on cattle. Often, springtime shows up, and soon after the warm weather comes, ranchers notice that their cattle are scratching like crazy. Sometimes large bald patches will appear from the cows and steers rubbing all of the hair off of their bodies in certain areas. Heavy infestations of lice can reduce the amount of milk a cow gives or the amount of weight a calf gains because the...
  12. Cattle Breeds: Jersey Cows

    Jersey cows are one of the most appealing breeds in the cow world. They have a delicate, refined face with lovely, wide brown eyes. Jersey cows have typically feminine facial features with a distinctive, tipped-up black nose bordered by white. They are smaller in frame, usually between 800-1000 pounds in weight, with the typical bony dairy conformation. Their udders are large and most often, are white or pinkish. Jerseys can vary in color from charcoal gray to black. However, most Jerseys...
  13. Calf Health-Navel Ill and Joint Ill

    Navel ill occurs when bacteria invade the umbilical cord of a newborn calf. This malady can be prevented by using clean calving practices and dipping the navel in a disinfectant solution. However, sometimes, despite all of the precautions that a farmer may take, a calf can come down with navel ill. The infection could stay in the external part of the umbilical cord. Yet, at times it travels through the cord and into the abdominal cavity of the calf through the blood vessels that lie in this...
  14. Calf Health-The Prevention of Navel Ill

    Navel ill occurs when bacteria find their way into the body of a calf through the broken, wet umbilical cord. At its outset, this infection is not too serious, at first causing a bit of lethargy in the calf. However, if navel ill is left untreated it can become a much worse problem. Calves with navel ill can develop septicemia, a systemic infection that can affect major organs, the brain, and the joints. Untreated, navel ill can lead to a previously healthy calf's death. Like most illnesses...
  15. Calf Health-Navel Ill: The Early Stages

    The umbilical cord was once the lifeline for a new calf. Veins and arteries transported life sustaining energy and fluids to the calf from the mother's body, and waste was carried away. However, during the birthing process or shortly after, the cord is broken and soon, the calf must eat, drink, urinate and defecate for itself. As the cord is broken, the torn arteries pull back into the abdomen of the young calf and seal themselves off. In most normal births, there is seldom any bleeding at...
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