General Cattle

This category covers information not covered in other categories.

  • Holsteins on the Small Hobby Farm

    One of the most widely-recognized breeds of cow is the Holstein. These cows were made popular by the advertising scheme of Chick-Fil-A, despite the fact that they are mainly a dairy breed, rather than a beef breed. Holsteins are used in the commercial dairy industry because they are the highest milk producing cow breed. With specially prepared feed rations and two or three times a day milking, Holsteins in commercial dairies can give up to 12 gallons of milk per day. Nine out of every ten...
  • Five Cattle Farming Chores You Just Can't Put Off

    Farming means that you are signing up for more work than any person can possibly get done. Of course, at the end of the week, some chores will be left undone. The difference between good farmers and those that will struggle is that good farmers know which chores are most important and tackle those first. Here are five chores that you can't afford to put off on your cattle farm. 1. Fence checking and repair Cows are big, strong animals and they can quickly demolish what once was a sturdy...
  • The Secret Lives of Cattle

    Cattle are considered contemplative and very social amongst farm animals, and have strong emotions. They have a fantastic memory and can remember things over a long period. It is important to know various aspects of cattle behavior and their emotional life, as you would want your cattle to have the least stress. Research has shown that cows are intelligent and they are able to develop friendships and hold grudges against other cows and humans. They are able to feel the pain of separation...
  • Evaluating Heifers as Herd Replacements

    Well cared for cows can live up to twenty years. However, by the time a cow reaches the age of 12 to 15 years, she may be less profitable to keep. Many cows begin missing heat cycles, and the cycles that they do experience may be less fertile. Additionally, older cows may struggle with keeping body condition, which can seriously affect their ability to become pregnant and maintain a pregnancy. If you have cows that are getting up in years, it may be time to give some thought to raising some...
  • 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...
  1. 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...
  2. Evaluating Heifers as Herd Replacements

    Well cared for cows can live up to twenty years. However, by the time a cow reaches the age of 12 to 15 years, she may be less profitable to keep. Many cows begin missing heat cycles, and the cycles that they do experience may be less fertile. Additionally, older cows may struggle with keeping body condition, which can seriously affect their ability to become pregnant and maintain a pregnancy. If you have cows that are getting up in years, it may be time to give some thought to raising some...
  3. Livestock Guardian Dogs-Great Pyrenees-Part 2

    Our Great Pyrenees dogs, Lucy and Fezzik, are a great help here on the farm. They are wonderful with the cattle, and they make us all feel a little bit safer at night. However, as much as we love our dogs, the breed may not be the best for everyone\'s situation. Here are some of the drawbacks of keeping a Great Pyrenees on your cattle farm. 1. Protective Great Pyrs are wonderfully protective and very territorial. That\'s a great thing when they are protecting the calves from coyotes or...
  4. Livestock Guardian Dogs-Great Pyrenees-Part 1

    Dogs are an essential part of almost every farm, but for cattle farms, a valuable part of your farm team are the livestock guardian dogs. These dogs are different from a herding dog, like a Blue Heeler or Border Collie. They don't necessarily move the cows from field to field, and they are not as much as a part of the family as the house-dogs that many farmers have. However, they are an essential part of our team here on our farm. The LGDs that we own are both of the Great Pyrenees breed....
  5. Identifying Your Cattle, Part 2

    For years on our farm, we have used ear tagging to identify our cattle. However, this year we have finally had enough. We had two young cows that needed to be bred. They were born the same year and were close enough in size that they needed to be tagged so that we could tell them apart. However, at some point in the last few weeks, both of their ear tags were snagged on our hay rings and jerked out of their ears. To make it even more complicated, they\'ve lost multiple tags, so now their...
  6. Choosing Your Cattle Farm

    When you are just starting out farming, you probably have plenty of ideas of what you want your farm to look like. Images of picket fences, rolling green pastures, white frame houses, and red barns may be going through your mind. However, for most farmers starting out, those visuals will have to remain a fantasy for at least a few years. Most farmers starting out will need to look at the \"bones\" of the land rather than the pretty extras that can be added over time. Here\'s what you should...
  7. Identifying Your Cattle, Part 1

    To be successful at cattle farming, you must keep good records. And, to keep good records, you have to have a dependable way of identifying your cattle. Marking your cattle in some way does more than just keep your cows from getting mixed in with your neighbor\'s cows. Marking your cows means that you can keep track of which cows are the highest producers, which cows are the worst producers, and which cows came up open and should be culled. You can make wise decisions about which cows are...
  8. Benefits and Challenges of Multi-species Grazing

    Those who own small acreage may wonder about grazing multiple species of animals on their land. Perhaps you have a few cows and wonder if you can add a horse to the mix. Or maybe you have some brushy patches on your property and wonder if putting some goats in with your cows would be okay. Putting several different kinds of animals together in the same field actually is a wonderful idea. When you understand how each different species eats, you will begin to understand the benefits of adding...
  9. Bossy Could Really Be Bossy!

    You don\'t have to be around cows very long to figure out that they are very social creatures with distinct personalities and a rigid hierarchy. This social system can influence many aspects of the cow\'s life. Scientists who study such things have learned that cows have a social ranking system that is largely dependent on the weight and age of the cow. Cows who are younger and smaller will be at the bottom of the pecking order, and cows that are bigger and older will be at the top. As a...
  10. Which Cow Should You Buy?

    Buying your first cow or group of cows is a big step. You will have to live with this decision for a long time and you will probably be spending a lot of money, so think it over and take your time. Here are several considerations that you should keep in mind as you make this decision. If you've never had cows before and you are just learning, don't worry too much about the breed of your cow. Choose one of the breeds that are common in your area. A cross bred cow will be perfect for you to...
  11. Holsteins on the Small Hobby Farm

    One of the most widely-recognized breeds of cow is the Holstein. These cows were made popular by the advertising scheme of Chick-Fil-A, despite the fact that they are mainly a dairy breed, rather than a beef breed. Holsteins are used in the commercial dairy industry because they are the highest milk producing cow breed. With specially prepared feed rations and two or three times a day milking, Holsteins in commercial dairies can give up to 12 gallons of milk per day. Nine out of every ten...
  12. Wannabe Farmer's Reading List

    I was corresponding with a young friend of mine, and she wrote to me about my farm. She said, "Sometimes I'm torn between farm life and having a lot of land. I think having a farm with lots of animals would be so cool! But I have no idea how to take care of them or anything! You seem very knowledgeable about it all. I sometimes wish I had been raised on a farm or at least some place with larger animals." There is a misconception that I see all the time regarding farmers. Many people believe...
  13. Supreme Cattle Winter Management

    Fall and winter are challenging times for all livestock, and farmers need to take tough decisions about the number of dairy and beef cattle they want to maintain through winter. For big farmers decisions will be based on commercial considerations, whereas for small farmers sentiment will also play a role. However, for the cattle to remain healthy until spring there will be many financial and practical aspects to be considered. Here are some of the basic requirements for managing cattle...
  14. The Secret Lives of Cattle

    Cattle are considered contemplative and very social amongst farm animals, and have strong emotions. They have a fantastic memory and can remember things over a long period. It is important to know various aspects of cattle behavior and their emotional life, as you would want your cattle to have the least stress. Research has shown that cows are intelligent and they are able to develop friendships and hold grudges against other cows and humans. They are able to feel the pain of separation...
  15. Farmer's Cologne? Learning About A Cow's Sense of Smell

    A Maine woman has invented a new cologne. However, the cologne is not necessarily designed to be attractive to women. Lisa Brodar chose scents that are attractive to cows. She got the idea after reading about a Canadian farmer whose cows were spooked by the fragrance of his fabric softener. Lisa researched a bit and experimented with natural essential oils. After some tinkering, Lisa created a fragrance she named Farmer's Cologne. Lisa was on the right track. Cows have a tremendously...
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