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What are some common oxen breeds around the four state region of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa & Nebraska?

 
Scott Fike
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What are some common oxen breeds used for draft work around the four state region of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska?
Thank you
 
Su Ba
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Hi Scott! I'm not in your region, so I can't say what cattle breeds exist in your area. But having said that, have you already decided what sort of work you intend to put your  future oxen to? And are you planning on using a single ox or a double team? Light draft work or heavy drafting? Since you're just starting out, are you more concerned with docile temperament or working ability? Polled or horned?

While I don't work oxen myself, I've had friends who did. They tended to believe that it was best to raise a team together from calves or wean-offs, and training them immediately while very young. One of my friends had two teams, but they worked as two pairs (not four together). One were two matched dexters, the other two matched milking shorthorns. The other friend also had two teams but they were big heavier drafters. One was made up of two Holsteins, and the other two Charolais (which were humongous!).

Best of luck with your project. It sounds really interesting. I'm beyond the age where I feel comfortable working around cattle, but I wish I had tried it when I was younger.
 
Dan Grubbs
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Vera Stewart
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The livestock conservancy usa lists Randall Lineback, Devon, (which they say were "among the draft animals of choice on the Oregon Trail" which would sell me ) and Pineywoods cattle as serving as oxen.

https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/randall
https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/milking-devon
https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/pineywoods
 
Scott Fike
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So; Milking shorthorn, Randall lineback, Milking devon and Pineywoods are common around these four states? From what I read these breeds seem to be somewhat rare. Maybe they mean in New England?
 
Scott Fike
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The work I'll be having my Oxen doing is draft work in crop fields primarily. Pulling a roller-crimper, pulling a seed drill or planter, and pulling a harvester.
I'm not sure about size just yet. Perhaps one large Oxen or two medium sized ones? I don't know, I'm too new to the Oxen world to know.
Being new, perhaps I should be more concerned with temperament than working ability.
As far as polled or horned, it doesn't matter to me at this point.
 
Wes Hunter
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Location: Seymour, MO
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I'd think you'd be hard pressed to come up with any breed that is "common," since oxen as a whole are particularly uncommon.  That said, for this area I'd think you would be best off going with dairy bulls, Holstein or Brown Swiss or even Jersey, since you can buy them young and typically quite cheap.  You're quite unlikely to find most of the other (relatively) common breeds, which seem to tend to be concentrated back east.
 
Bryan de Valdivia
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I had a pair of Holstein calves that I bottle fed and trained. Only reason being that it was easy to get a hold of a matched pair.

I kept their horns on, never had any trouble. At least, not purposeful. Got stepped on a couple of times. Be sure to cut off all playful headbutting when young, won't be so funny when they're 6 foot at the whithers - horned or not.

Also, I made a practice of being clear and obstinate with them at all times, especially when babies. Even when they were full grown and somewhat spirited, they never once challenged me.

Electric fencing is your friend, you want to make sure they're all around as well behaved as possible.

And if you have the luxury of being able to observe and pick, try to get a pair that are matched in temperament, same as you would when picking a pet dog. One of them will be the leader, but it's very helpful if the other is generally inclined to act the same way.

I used mine mostly for hauling logs out of the woods, especially from thick hollers. Oh, and I had a book on training them, will look for the title if you're interested. Used a combination of the methods therein and clicker-training, as I had my dogs.

Darned good fun.
 
Bryan de Valdivia
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Here's the latest print of the book I used, just in case anybody comes along in the future looking for the information:

Oxen: A Teamster's Guide to Raising, Training, Driving & Showing (Amazon link with Permies affiliate tag)

Regarding breeds. I was by Greg Judy's place last week, and he has some South Poll cattle that are (relatively) small framed and quite gentle. He doesn't castrate the bull calves and runs them in the pastures until they're ready for butchering. If I were to run an ox or two again, I'd sure be interested in giving one of these a try. He's located in Boone County, Missouri.
 
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