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I have a calf - want it or not.

 
Bev Huth
Posts: 36
Location: AR, USA
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Okay, I now have a calf I am bottle feeding. A neighbor and good friend of ours is a cattle rancher, this past Sunday he had a cow in birthing distress and couldn't get the calf pulled so, he called us to come help. We (us and the rancher) finally decided the calf was not coming out the proper way and, since the cow had had the same problem twice before and, lost the calf, we put the cow down and cut the calf out of her. The calf made it, the cow is in my freezer since the rancher didn't need the meat, he gave all of the cow to us for our help and, because we are the sort of friends that give stuff to each other often. I now have the calf in a pen where I can bottle feed it.

Now this calf is a heifer but, she is a Black Angus so, not a dairy breed still, I'm considering making a milk cow of her since the rancher has offered us free service of his bull to breed her when she is old enough and, we do want to breed her for the meat calf she will give us. Just wondering if anyone has ever tried to milk an Angus or other beef breed and how that worked out?

By the way, we are very grateful for the windfall of free beef, even if we did stay up all night butchering to get it (too warm and no facilities to hang it for aging so had to ice it in the bathtub while we got it cut and wrapped for the freezer.)
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
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You can milk anything that is willing. Most non-dairy breeds have really good milk, just not much of it (for commercial use). The trick will be getting enough to share between you and the calf.
 
Bev Huth
Posts: 36
Location: AR, USA
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I was thinking just take a quart per day when the calf is young and gradually increase what I take as the calf starts eating other feeds to keep the cow's production up. I don't care if she just gives a gallon or two a day, that's plenty for milk, butter and cheese for us (just two of us) and I don't plan to sell milk - too many regulations on doing that here.

Being a bottle baby, she will be a friendly one, and used to being handled so, should be fairly easy to convince to allow me to milk her.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Yup.

Feed her hay or whatever treat from your hand as she graduates from milk--whatever you plan to feed while milking. Adam Klaus has lots of good posts on feed in other threads on this forum.

Make sure you get her used to messing with her bag and you kneeling next to her without flinching or kicking.
 
Bev Huth
Posts: 36
Location: AR, USA
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Yeah she gets milk now, later grazing and hay, and a good non GMO feed of some kind at milking. That should teach her to like milking time, it's treat time.
 
Amy Saunders
Posts: 25
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I just wanted to tell you that we had the sweetest, gentlest angus milk cow. Her milk was delicious, and just the right amount for my family at the time. Don't expect the output of a dairy breed, but who wants that in a family cow anyway? You'll be handling her a lot, so she'll probably turn out very friendly and gentle. We rope break all of our cows because our pastures are funny, and we can walk them like dogs. Cows are fun!
 
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