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Please join me in welcoming Eric Rapp and Callene Rapp, authors of Homestead Cows




Read the book review here!




Eric and Callene will be hanging out in the forums until this Friday answering questions and sharing their experiences with you all.

At the end of the week, we'll make a drawing for 4 lucky winners to win a copy of their book! From now until Friday, all new posts in the Cattle forum are eligible to win.

To win, you must use a name that follows our naming policy and you must have your email set up to receive the Daily-ish email. Higher quality posts are weighed more highly than posts that just say, "I want this book!"

When the four winners are selected, they will be announced in this thread and their email address will be sent to the publisher, and the publisher will sort out the delivery details with the winners.


Please remember that we favour perennial discussion.  The threads you start will last beyond the event.  You don't need to use Callene or Eric's name to get their attention. We like these threads to be accessible to everyone, and some people may not post their experiences if the thread is directed to the authors alone.


Posts in this thread won't count as an entry to win the book, but please say "Hi!" to Callene and Eric and make them feel welcome!
COMMENTS:
 
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Hi Callene and Eric!!

I want to extend a very warm welcome to both of you to the permies forums! Am looking forward to the discussions this week, and I hope you will have a pleasant experience while sharing some of your wisdom.

I have kept and raised dairy cows for about six years now, and I have to say, while I appreciate all the animals on my farm, the cows are my favorites.

Welcome!
 
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Thank you for the welcome, Liv!  I agree, cows are my favorite animal on our farm as well.  Looking forward to chatting with everyone this week!

Callene
 
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Welcome! I'm looking forward to the discussion!
 
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Hello and thank you for answering questions. I am a total newbie to cows but would one day like to raise my own beef and dairy. Roughly how much land will I need per cow?
 
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I have a small, family farm and we have, in the past raised beef cattle but we have more recently purchased weaning calves from trusted local farmers and grown them off on our pastures. I would like to bring in a dairy cow and breed her back to a beef bull every year, growing out the calf for our beef needs. I would like to know your thoughts on this and how we might avoid commercial feeds. I’m in the southeast and we are generally able to supplement with hay only, in winter, to keep our beef cows in condition but, I would think, that a dairy cow would have different needs.
 
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Welcome, Eric and Callene!

Thank you for being here and answering questions. Like others, I am looking forward to the discussions.
 
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Has anyone calculated the cost per pound difference between dexter beef and Angus
 
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Welcome!!  I’m enjoying reading the cattle thread.  
 
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Welcome Eric and Callene,

I’m glad you are here. And am grateful for you both to share about raising cows. My family is interested in doing just that. We are about to move onto our family’s property in Missouri. And want to raise and take care of a dairy cow and some meat cows. And give those cows the best care possible.
 
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I don't have the land to raise cows yet but I really want to. In the mean time I spend my time learning so when I have the land I am prepared. Welcome looking forward to learning from you.
 
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I was wondering if you could talk about mini cows and predators. I need to improve the soil quality of 4 acres and have a tremendous pressure from predators-cougars, coyotes and an amazing number of roaming dogs.
 
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Bre Rich wrote:Hello and thank you for answering questions. I am a total newbie to cows but would one day like to raise my own beef and dairy. Roughly how much land will I need per cow?



Well, the standard answer is, 'it depends'.  Stocking rate can be extremely variable, depending on climate, forage species, and how much labor you are able to put into a rotational scheme.  If you are willing to fence off paddocks, and move your cows every couple of days you can have more cows, but if you need to be more hands off or live in a more arid climate, you won't be able to keep as many.  We sort of fall in between on our farm, I have 22 head of Pineywoods on Native Grass, but we rotate pastures and have a 'sacrifice' area we feed hay in.  I know that wasn't a precise answer, but hopefully that helps!
 
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Tonya Walker wrote:I was wondering if you could talk about mini cows and predators. I need to improve the soil quality of 4 acres and have a tremendous pressure from predators-cougars, coyotes and an amazing number of roaming dogs.



That's a tough one.  Are you able to put your cows in a barn at night?  Most horned cows are able to mount a pretty good defense against a lone dog or two but cougars or packs of canines would be tough.  I realize that would mean extra chores to clean out the barn, but perhaps the compost could be spread out on your acreage as well.  A good predator level electric fence might be an option also.
 
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Welcome, Eric and Callene!!
 
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welcome!
I spent a number of years at my grandparents ranch/farm in Texas with cattle.  It brings back many fond memories.
 
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Welcome, Eric!

Beautiful work you’ve done. Much more like this is needed.

I live in a small cattle town near Chico, CA that has about 2,000 people and 20,000 cattle. But most people have no idea how to raise a cow naturally! I see instances of mastitis and other inflammatory imbalances and wish more folks cared about the health of those cows as much asc they care about profit.

To be fair, there are quite a few great folks here who are running restorative grazing practices and are in tune with the natural balance of those herds that provide thier livelihood.

Have a great day and thanks for your work!
 
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Eric and Callene, welcome to Permies! So happy to have you join us. We're looking forward to learning about homestead cows!
 
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I'm new to cattle (we don't have any yet... need to learn more about fencing,  and actually build some!),  so am very excited for these posts.  Am interested in what you know about Scottish Highland "Coos."
 
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Lexie Smith wrote:I have a small, family farm and we have, in the past raised beef cattle but we have more recently purchased weaning calves from trusted local farmers and grown them off on our pastures. I would like to bring in a dairy cow and breed her back to a beef bull every year, growing out the calf for our beef needs. I would like to know your thoughts on this and how we might avoid commercial feeds. I’m in the southeast and we are generally able to supplement with hay only, in winter, to keep our beef cows in condition but, I would think, that a dairy cow would have different needs.




Lexie, have you thought about instead of a true dairy breed (Jersey, Holstien, etc.) of trying one of the dual purpose Heritage breeds?  They are generally smaller in size, and many like the Milking Devon, do very well on pasture and produce a decent amount of milk.  A true dairy breed where the goal is maximum production will need extra nutrition, but if your goal is not to maximize how much milk you get they may not need as much supplementation.

I'm assuming you are just interested in milk for your families personal use.  There are several dual purpose breeds that can raise their calf and provide a gallon or so daily (some maybe more). I know a lot of people milk their Dexters, and Randall Lineback, Milking Devon, Milking Shorthorn and Kerry cattle are all well suited for that role.

Hope that helps,
Callene
 
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Christiana Cruver wrote:I'm new to cattle (we don't have any yet... need to learn more about fencing,  and actually build some!),  so am very excited for these posts.  Am interested in what you know about Scottish Highland "Coos."



I've worked with a few Highland "coos" over the years. I've found them to be pretty gentle, and good moms.  The calves are stinkin' cute, too!  I have not personally processed any for beef, but the beef has a good reputation for being very flavorful, and well marbled.  Did I mention how cute the calves are?
 
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Skot Colacicco wrote:Welcome, Eric!

Beautiful work you’ve done. Much more like this is needed.



Have a great day and thanks for your work!



Thank you very much for your kind words!
 
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Thanks for this, I am just starting to research cows to put on my new land.
 
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Wow, I'm really excited about this book. I live in an area with LOTS of cattle, and I would like to start a small herd of my own. Most people around here have red or black angus, I don't really know why, but I've always figured it was that way for a good reason. Do you think it is worth experimenting with different breeds, possibly at a large cost to import them from other areas of the country, or is it generally best to stick with what local farmers have found to work? Reasons I can think of that the locals might be using angus are that it gets really cold here in the winter, down to -40, and they are mostly raised for beef.

Another question: the farmers that I've asked around here trim the feet on their cattle about once per year. Is that specific to angus, or is that somewhat of a good general guideline, or something else? Does your book talk about trimming? I've trimmed horses before, but never cattle and I imagine it's about the same, except that I feel like most cattle are not trained to lift their feet.. how is that done safely?
 
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Ryan Adobe wrote:Wow, I'm really excited about this book. I live in an area with LOTS of cattle, and I would like to start a small herd of my own. Most people around here have red or black angus, I don't really know why, but I've always figured it was that way for a good reason. Do you think it is worth experimenting with different breeds, possibly at a large cost to import them from other areas of the country, or is it generally best to stick with what local farmers have found to work? Reasons I can think of that the locals might be using angus are that it gets really cold here in the winter, down to -40, and they are mostly raised for beef.

Another question: the farmers that I've asked around here trim the feet on their cattle about once per year. Is that specific to angus, or is that somewhat of a good general guideline, or something else? Does your book talk about trimming? I've trimmed horses before, but never cattle and I imagine it's about the same, except that I feel like most cattle are not trained to lift their feet.. how is that done safely?



Hi Ryan, great questions.

There's always something to be said for sticking with what works, and also what is readily available in your area.  There's also nothing wrong with starting out with what is close by, and then phasing in a different breed as you gain experience with cattle.  An old friend of mine always encouraged folks, before jumping into heritage breeds, to spend your learning curve on a "starter breed".   That being said, if there is a particular breed that has caught your eye, and is appropriate for your colder climate, go for it. The only mistake would be not being honest with yourself about your experience and needs.   Angus cattle, both red and black, are good beef animals, and do well in a variety of climates.  They also benefit from a great marketing program and the market is heavily skewed towards black hided cattle.

As far as hoof trimming goes, I did not cover that in this book. (But that's a great idea to include in a future edition!)  I have been pretty lucky in not having to do much in the way of hoof trimming with our Pineywoods. I know walking and being able to move around in pasture and on a variety of surfaces does wonders for keeping hooves worn down naturally.  I have trimmed hooves on a cranky yak, and we were able to do that by putting him in a squeeze chute and pulling the hooves up with a rope to at least where I could get in with the nippers.  If you have a chute, a good equine farrier could probably help you out with that, or at least someone with cattle experience, because it can get a little tricky, depending on the animal.

Hope that helps,
Callene
 
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Hello and thank you for an interesting read.
A subject close to my heart but probably for different reasons then most
Love to learn about the subject even though I will never own a cow. If I did, it would die of old age  My favorites are Belted Galloway and The Scottish Highland
However, I DO wonder if anyone has ever kept or keeping a cow as a pet? I know, I know...it would be an expensive pet but still....
Thank you
 
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We have winners! In my excitement in announcing winners, I couldn't help but post a cute gif!



Congratulations!

Kat Lawless
Jt Glickman
Jeff Reynolds
Jerry Ward



We'll be passing your email addresses along to the publishers so they can arrange shipment of the book--please keep an eye out on your email inbox for an email from them!

A big thank you to Callene for joining us this week!
 
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Ela La Salle wrote:Hello and thank you for an interesting read.
A subject close to my heart but probably for different reasons then most
Love to learn about the subject even though I will never own a cow. If I did, it would die of old age  My favorites are Belted Galloway and The Scottish Highland
However, I DO wonder if anyone has ever kept or keeping a cow as a pet? I know, I know...it would be an expensive pet but still....
Thank you



Cows can make great pets!  No different in my mind than having a pet horse!  

And yes, Belties and Highlands are wonderful.

Thanks,
Callene
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:We have winners! In my excitement in announcing winners, I couldn't help but post a cute gif!


A big thank you to Callene for joining us this week!



Congrats to the winners!  We hope you enjoy the book.

And thank you all for having us on the forum this week!  I totally enjoyed myself and am planning on hanging around!

Thanks,
Callene and Eric
 
Bre Rich
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Callene Rapp wrote:

Bre Rich wrote:Hello and thank you for answering questions. I am a total newbie to cows but would one day like to raise my own beef and dairy. Roughly how much land will I need per cow?



Well, the standard answer is, 'it depends'.  Stocking rate can be extremely variable, depending on climate, forage species, and how much labor you are able to put into a rotational scheme.  If you are willing to fence off paddocks, and move your cows every couple of days you can have more cows, but if you need to be more hands off or live in a more arid climate, you won't be able to keep as many.  We sort of fall in between on our farm, I have 22 head of Pineywoods on Native Grass, but we rotate pastures and have a 'sacrifice' area we feed hay in.  I know that wasn't a precise answer, but hopefully that helps!



Do you cover land requirements in your book? Or breed recommendations? I need a good place to start learning🤓 I have found our local extension recommendations but was not sure how that compares with regenerative principles.
 
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