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Old 04-09-2012, 01:36 PM   #1
mg5g
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Saying Hi and QUICK I need Cow advice! :)

First of all Hi Mamas-
I'm Melissa a SAHM to soon to be 5. We homeschool, camp, boat and are super active when I'm not 9 months pregnant

We are going to be "hobby" farmers. Dh manages a refrigeration company and there is NO WAY we could ever farm enough to live without the 9 - 5 job.

We bought our property a few months ago. Over the winter we just spent time settling in and unpacking.

We are on 2.5 acres with most of that pasture land (and a small forest), we have all the goodies - barn, animal shelter, chicken coop etc. BUT no animals.

Our farm raised a few head of cattle and free range chickens for eggs in the past. We are wanting to do the same thing.

DH took the day off work which is super rare for him to be able to do - it is usually just too busy. There happens to be a cattle auction RIGHT NOW, so since he was home he went to go check in out. We know NOTHING about cows. I don't even know what we need. We have all the fences and stuff but none of the knowledge. Our neighbours own the auction so they said they could help DH find a "good" couple of cows but THEN WHAT. I have a book on raising animals but it doesn't really have a lot of practical info. I need to talk to some real people who can give us some real advice ASAP incase my pain in the butt DH actually comes home with a cow today!

-- We were told that the people before us just let the cows eat the grass, hang out for the summer, and then they went back to market in the fall. We want to do that too at first since it seems like an easy way to get used to them just having them hang out in the yard but was there anything important that the real estate agent didn't tell us? Do they need shots or grooming or anything? What about food - can they really just eat grass or do they need hay and/or suppliments. If they need hay do we just put it down on the ground or is there some sort of feeder? What about water - we have a year round stream can they drink from that or do they need a (um ok pregger brain I know there is a name but for lack of brain function....) water bowl? Oh one more - what about pooping? Is it ok to just let it stay on the grass or do we need to pooper scoop - and if so that is SO DH's JOB! OH and another one more - can the kids still play in the fields while the cows are there? Is it safe to pet them? They seem kinda mellow but are they really - will the kids or our dogs scare them?--

I am excited and TERRIFIED too. I mean we want to do this but I was hoping to take like a class or something first - turns out there aren't any, I just get laughed at for asking.

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Old 04-09-2012, 02:37 PM   #2
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Re: Saying Hi and QUICK I need Cow advice! :)

I don't know a TON but can find out more specifics if you need. My FIl is a life long rancher and has about 150 head of cattle that we help a little with here and there.

Do they need shots or grooming or anything? Yes, they do need shots. But I have no clue what. There are some shots and some pour on stuff....it is really hard to give a cow a shot (we have to help get them into a shoot which pretty much just squeezes them so they can't move and then they get shots, pour on, tags in the ears, and branding)

What about food - can they really just eat grass or do they need hay and/or supplements.
Where we are (drought central NM) they need supplements. FIL feeds them what he calls 'cake' They also have molasses feeders and salt blocks. He feeds them hay in the winter when the grass is not good.

If they need hay do we just put it down on the ground or is there some sort of feeder?
Hay goes right on the ground

What about water - we have a year round stream can they drink from that or do they need a (um ok pregger brain I know there is a name but for lack of brain function....) water bowl? Not sure if they can drink from a stream as we have no natural water here lol. But I don't see why not as long as they have easy access. But I would get a stock tank just in case

Oh one more - what about pooping? Is it ok to just let it stay on the grass or do we need to pooper scoop - and if so that is SO DH's JOB! Nope, it is fine to just stay on the ground. FIl preg tests so he gets covered in cow poo, he says it's just grass and enzymes

OH and another one more - can the kids still play in the fields while the cows are there?

I would let my kids play in a field with cows as long as there is PLENTY of space and the cows don't get cornered. You don't want a cow freaking out and stomping a kid!

Is it safe to pet them? They seem kinda mellow but are they really - will the kids or our dogs scare them?-- You can pet them if they will let you. Ours our crazy....look mellow but they are so scared of people no way would they let you pet them. And yes, dogs will scare them. BUT if the dogs aren't running around barking at them and chasing them it should be fine. A dog just being around is not going to scare them.

2.5 acres isn't enough land for cattle IMO. I don't remember what the numbers are here, but it is something like 2 acres per cow here....but we have very little grass, not great grazing land.

If you do end up with cows and need more info, I can ask FIL questions for you. Just pm me if I don't keep up with this thread.
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Last edited by solarbabies; 04-09-2012 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:27 PM   #3
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Re: Saying Hi and QUICK I need Cow advice! :)

THANK YOU for your reply

I know I sound totally silly - but I have no clue about cows. I am a 100% city kid. I am guessing our grass is ok here. Our neighbours (who own the auction) have 4 cows on their 2.5 acres - I am thinking they must give them hay too though since they have even less grass then we do. There are lots of small farms with 2 - 4 or more cows hanging out here. I need to get out and go talk to the neighbours - hopefully this will help us meet them. We've only talked to them once and that is when we found out they own the auction. DH is (I hope) getting to know them a little better today while he is there checking out cows.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:31 PM   #4
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Re: Saying Hi and QUICK I need Cow advice! :)

Do they need shots or grooming or anything? They typically will need vaccinated.

What about food - can they really just eat grass or do they need hay and/or supplements.
I believe FIL grazed his cattle all summer, in the winter he'd pasture them in the fields he'd planted w/ corn and soybeans the prior summer and they'd eat the grain that was dropped by the combine, he also hayed them in the winter.

If they need hay do we just put it down on the ground or is there some sort of feeder?
on the ground is fine.

What about water - we have a year round stream can they drink from that or do they need a (um ok pregger brain I know there is a name but for lack of brain function....) water bowl?
stock tank is a good idea, if you get really muddy ever you may not want them going to the stream if there's risk of them getting stuck.

Oh one more - what about pooping? Is it ok to just let it stay on the grass or do we need to pooper scoop - and if so that is SO DH's JOB! DH says he's (accidentally) eaten pounds of cow crap over the years and he's fine LOL I would use a blade on a tractor to kind of gather it all in to one pile every so often so that it can compost, it makes amazing garden fertilizer.

OH and another one more - can the kids still play in the fields while the cows are there?

If the kids are going to ignore the cows, it would probably be fine, but you wouldn't want them to scare a cow or make it feel threatened, cows are a lot bigger than kids. I also probably wouldn't trust cows w/ calves around my kids because they can be very protective.

Is it safe to pet them? They seem kinda mellow but are they really - will the kids or our dogs scare them? We never petted FILs cows, only if there was a bottle calf, they are of course very used to humans and super docile.
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