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Livestock/Horses Cows, sheep, pigs, goats, llamas, and other four-legged friends.

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  #1  
Old 03-19-2009, 03:49 PM
crmemory crmemory is offline
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Default Scottish Highland Cattle

We are trying to decide what breed of cattle to get for our homestead. We want a decent dual-purpose, with the intent to keep 1-2 cows for breeding and milk every year, and slaughter the calves. I have quality breeder sources for 2--dexter and scottish highlands. I cannot make the decision. It is easy to find info on dexters, and I am familiar with their advantages. What little info I can find on the Highlands, though, has me intrigued and actually leaning toward them. Does anyone have any experience with these cattle? A few things I like:
--hardy and more disease resistant than most
--good mothers and low frequency of calving problems
--gentle (we have lots of young children!)
--can thrive on browse as well as graze, and we have lots of browse!!
--lean meat, which we prefer
--come in a variety of colors and markings

Down side: they are hairy and will likely require some regular grooming in our set up, and they have horns--big ones! DH doesn't want to dehorn.

Any suggestions?
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2009, 06:04 PM
harvester harvester is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

if i were going for a dual purpose utility cow id go with a jersey or a gurnsey and simply have them bred to a hereford.
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  #3  
Old 03-19-2009, 06:22 PM
crmemory crmemory is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

If we find more options available, I may consider that route. For now, though, the only easy and trusted cattle sources I have for initially acquiring the (quality) cattle are the dexter and the highland. The only one I have easy access for breeding is the dexter. I am still trying to locate sale barns and such, but it seems any decent ones are several hours away. I will keep checking.

I am still very intrigued by the Highlands, though, I have to admit. They are so unique looking, and their many advantages keep my interest!
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  #4  
Old 03-19-2009, 06:37 PM
harvester harvester is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

well this is a big thing tho. when you are getting new additions to your homestead or farm, be sure its ones that you like. it will make a big difference.
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  #5  
Old 03-19-2009, 07:27 PM
crmemory crmemory is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

What you say makes sense, but I am unclear as to whether you are refering to me being most interested in Highlands, or investigating other breeds further (which I have done a lot of!)?

Cattle will be a new experience no matter what we do. I have had limited dealings with a hereford heifer that was raised for beef, but that is it. So we are hands-on learning what we can from the dexter breeder, and otherwise starting from scratch.
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  #6  
Old 03-19-2009, 08:16 PM
Anon001 Anon001 is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

Crmemory,
I would also like to add a couple thoughts. Part of your decision making should also include the size of your family in relation to pounds of milk produced per cow and pounds of meat. Also you should have a well thought out plan as far as what you plan to do with the animals in the long run and how many acres you have. What do you plan to do with the calves? Are you going to butcher them all just for your family? Are you going to sell the extra calves?

If you are planning to sell the calves, you need calves that are marketable. It is easier to buy animals for which a market already exists rather than buying animals and hoping you can create a market. You may be able to market anything but certainly your standard breeds are more marketable for beef in many areas.

The idea of getting a Jersey and breeding to a Hereford is a good one. The Hereford bull is one of the most gentle. However, if you only have 2 or 3 cows it doesn't pay to keep a bull. You are better off borrowing or leasing a bull for 60 days or going the AI route which isn't very expensive...

So, I would look at a lot of factors besides just the ones you thought of. Herefords are good mothers and very few calving problems. But then again, so are Longhorns. lol... they are the most protective mothers of all the breeds. They are hardy, they produce more milk than most beef cattle but far less than dairy cattle. So, it just depends on your circumstances and how many acres you have.

If it was me, I would start with a "gentle" standard breed if you have the room. Then after you become more educated on cattle and as you develop a market move on to the exotic breeds rather than starting with them. I have a friend that sold some Scottish highland calves in January. They looked good for their breed. He sold them one week after I sold my calves. His brought between 30 cents and 40 cents a pound and every one of mine brought from $1.04 to $1.11 per pound.. So you want to keep that in mind if you are planning to sell the calves to pay for the keep on the others.

Good Luck,
Paul
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  #7  
Old 03-19-2009, 09:56 PM
crmemory crmemory is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

Well, I was trying to keep my post short and to the point, but it seems as though I have only created questions. So here is our "plan."......

We have about 28 acres, only about 9 of which is pasture (rich and green mixed grasses). The pastures will be divided into 3 fenced areas for the purposes of rotating. Due to the limited pasture acreage (and a desire to be as sustaining as possible), we are trying to stick with small numbers of animals at this point. The animals (that can browse) will also be rotated through forested paddocks and non-pasture barn paddocks to give the grasses a break. The cows will be pastured with 3 horses. In another pasture will be a handful of goats and a guardian burro. We also hope to introduce a hog or two in the future, but that is yet to be decided. We will rotate fryer/broiler chickens in a tractor to do some pasture maintenance, and there will also be a layers coop centrally located between an orchard and garden, allowing us to fence off the chickens as necessary. The hogs and goats will also be let into these areas at certain times of year for land prep, maintenance, and clean-up. Hope that all makes sense. Also worth noting is that we live in a cooler temperate environment, and we lose most grass and have snow cover for a portion of the year. Therefore, we will have to hay for part of the year at least.

As far as family and intent, for now, we are providing for 8, and since we also plan to milk the goats for some of our cheeses, milk, and soap, I figure I only need about 4-5 gallons of cow milk a week until I learn to make more cheeses and such. I already do butter, and we also use buttermilk, and cream. While we wouldn't mind turning over a profit in the future, we are just hoping to have the animals pay for themselves for now--between what we save by raising our own, and what little we sell (or barter) to friends and neighbors.

So, my ideal animals are the well-bred, disease resistant, hardy, easy-breeding, easy-birthing, good mothers (but not aggressive/overly protective) larger animals. Animals that can do well on browse and forage are a bonus, since we have so much. Overall, the heritage animals seem to fit the majority of these characteristics for the most part. I don't mind paying a little more at first to start out with better stock.

Hope that answers more questions and clarifies things.
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  #8  
Old 03-19-2009, 11:12 PM
Anon001 Anon001 is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

It sounds like you have a good plan. I don't know what area you are in, but next to sheep, horses are the hardest thing on grasses. I have two horses. I would only have one except that I have plenty ground and they earn their keep. I don't have anything that doesn't earn it's keep. Also, on that size of place, if I didn't have to, I wouldn't get a burro or a donkey for the goats. I would get a dog. A good stock dog can do just as well as a burro and doesn't eat any of what will be much needed grass. Between 3 cows, their calves and 3 horses, you will most likely run short of grass not to mention, you may have to buy hay... If I understand your plan you will have 3 cows and calves, 3 horses, goats, and a burro on just 9 acres and want them to pay their own way? But, a lot of that is geographical and I don't know what part of the country you are in. But I would still have a hard time imagining that many animals (especially with horses) being self-sustaining on 9 acres.

The small pasture is where the small cattle would pay off, but keep in mind that if you intend to sell the calves from a small or exotic breed, they will most likely not bring enough to pay for feed and hay, not to mention the vaccinations, farrier, etc., unless you were able to get a good reputation as a breeder and develop a market.... but with 3 cows, that will be harder to do.

My 2 horses cost about $30.00 per year for vaccinations and that is with ME doing the work. If I had a vet to do it, it would run about $20 per horse more. The farrier in these areas has to trim horse hooves at least once every 6 weeks at a cost of about $50.00 per horse. I don't shod a horse and I do my own hoof trimming. But, I've been around it all my life (raised on a ranch). You also have to float their teeth which runs about $100... but the teeth don't have to be done every year.

Then you have the cattle and goat vaccines. I'm not talking anything chemical.... just vaccinations.

But, I sure have to commend you on how well you have planned and how much time you've obviously put toward your planning.


Quote:
my ideal animals are the well-bred, disease resistant, hardy, easy-breeding, easy-birthing, good mothers (but not aggressive/overly protective) larger animals.
Most cattle breeds fit those requirements if you pay attention to what you are doing. However, cattle are not pets and a mama cow can turn on you pretty quick...even one that has always been "tame". Some breeds it rarely happens, but one of the biggest mistakes people moving to the country make is seeing all livestock as pets.

Here the extension agents say that you should put no more than one cow/calf pair per 1 1/2 acres. But most of the time it requires more like 2 to 3 acres because of the type of grasses. I use native grasses which let me get more tonnage per acre of grazing and/or hay. Also, cows don't forage like a goat does.

Anyway, I will say you are on the right track.... I am really impressed. I have proven that people can build a homestead that will pay its own way and support me.... I just wish mine had been as well thought out and as well planned as yours.

Paul
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  #9  
Old 03-20-2009, 12:39 AM
crmemory crmemory is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

Thank you for the kind words. *I am well aware of the expense of horses! *In fact, my degree is in equine business mgt, I have owned and trained for many years. *I have also had goats and chickens. *We decided on the burro for several reasons. If I happen to find a decent guardian that is still very safe and trustworthy with kids and people, I would consider. *

No, I do NOT want 3 cows, at least in the current plan. *At first only 1, and we may work our way to 2. *They would each be intended for breeding, but I would try to stagger it such that one calf might be sold off before taking too much grass, while the other we would hold short-term and kill a bit young (8-12 mo) for beef. *Granted the horse/cow group will be hardest on the grass, but we plan to rotate frequently (weekly unless we see otherwise is needed). *We are only planning 2-4 goats plus their occasional kids, so they will not be too hard on their pasture, and I plan to turn them out to forage in the wooded acres regularly. *So at any given time, one pasture will hopefully be resting.

We, too, are hoping to make our animals pay for themselves. *The horses MAY be the exception, however, they may also come in handy for a little logging and we get snowed in! *We are hoping to use as much animal power as possible to eliminate gas/electric use as much as possible. *We are also planning to go natural, hence the need for disease resistance. *We are very fortunate to be located in an area with few livestock. *There are a few horses, but that is it for miles in every direction, which reduces our chance of disease. *I figure if we use plenty of diatomaceous earth, in addition to chickens, and cats, we can hopefully control most insects and intestinal parasites.

And then again, perhaps we are totally dreaming! *Things never work out quite like our dreams or plans, so we may in for some surprises . *But the learning experience is half the fun of homesteading, right?!
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  #10  
Old 03-20-2009, 01:36 AM
fancyfowl fancyfowl is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

We ran a registered herd and a purebred herd of 7-8 cows each. They are good at rustling up their grub, cold has no effect on them, calves are small and tuff. They need to calve in cool weather or they are prone to fly strile,. especially 1st calvers as the heifers arent the best at cleaning off all that hair and the flies get to it quick.They prefer to be out in the weather no matter what, most we had were gentle enuff, a couple crazies tho. The horns really knock the price down if you need to sell one at auction, they kbnow what horns are for but I never knew one to be bad around a human, cept for the 2 crazies. They are slow to finish and the older style will not grade up like an Angus or hereford. Our bull weighed around 1750 lbs at 4 years old. They do make good mothers. We did start breeding to hereford and ran hereford cross cows and bred back to a hereford bull and that made some very nice animals which finished nice on grass. They would be hard to milk due to the long hairs, I did milk one and clipped her around the udder and belly area. they used to be real traffic stoppers 25 years ago but are more common now. If I were to get another couple cattle it would be the dexters.
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  #11  
Old 03-20-2009, 12:42 PM
Anon001 Anon001 is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by crmemory
Thank you for the kind words. *I am well aware of the expense of horses! *In fact, my degree is in equine business mgt, I have owned and trained for many years.
That's great. Then I guess I just preached to the choir, huh? LOL

Quote:
I have also had goats and chickens.
That's good. So, you aren't new to livestock like a lot of homesteaders are. When I was managing a coop, we use to hear all kinds of stories with bad experiences. The one I remember the most was a couple with their 13 year old daughter moved to the country. Keep in mind the girl was timid and had never even been near a horse... much less ridden one. But, she "loved horses" so they bought her a very young mare.... they thought it was such a good deal. Come to find out, it was a green broke, high strung Arabian and it turned out bad.... for the girl and the horse.....
*
Quote:
No, I do NOT want 3 cows, at least in the current plan. *At first only 1, and we may work our way to 2.
I mis-read your original posting, sorry.

Quote:
....one calf might be sold off before taking too much grass, while the other we would hold short-term and kill a bit young (8-12 mo) for beef.
With a family of 8? I think you will find that a miniature butchered at such a young age may not give you enough meat for a year....

Quote:
We, too, are hoping to make our animals pay for themselves.
In your situation, it is possible, but won't be easy.... I always made sure that mine did. But, I think you will find a way to make it work.

Quote:
We are also planning to go natural, hence the need for disease resistance.
I will tell you this... in cattle and goats, the disease resistance has more to do with the management than with the breed. Some breeds are less susceptible, but among cattle breeds it isn't that diverse. However, if you degreed in Equine Management you will know that "dry" lots are the worst thing for cattle and goats... especially babies. I kept "arguing" with a farmer (a friend) that always dry lotted his cattle in winter and at calving. Mine have always been pastured. He always has problems with new calves and sometimes to the point he has to have the vet out to run them through the chute because he can't buy what will heal them. I have had the vet out once in the last 11 years and that was to post a cow, not to heal one. So, I have proven to him that pasturing year round reduces animal costs and increases disease resistance more than anything else.

Quote:
I figure if we use plenty of diatomaceous earth, in addition to chickens, and cats, we can hopefully control most insects and intestinal parasites.
I do that as well, but I still vaccinate. There are some things cattle and goats are susceptible to that only vaccinations will prevent. As I'm sure you know, most people new to rural living will refuse to vaccinate because they see it as putting "chemicals" into their food. But, we know that isn't the case. Vaccinations are the viruses to build antibodies. unlike chemical additives in feed, pour-ons, etc.

Quote:
And then again, perhaps we are totally dreaming! *Things never work out quite like our dreams or plans, so we may in for some surprises . *But the learning experience is half the fun of homesteading, right?!
Of course you're dreaming! LOL but, that is the where most modern day homesteads start, isn't it? And without dreaming, you won't accomplish anything. But, all dreams can be realized. I hope it works the way you have planned, but like a lot of well laid plans, they have to be modified as you go......

I have seen some people over plan to the point that they can't handle it when it doesn't pan out perfectly according to their plans and they freak out instead of altering the plan.

Good luck. I look forward to hearing about your progress and I hope we get to see lots of pictures along the way....
Paul
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  #12  
Old 03-20-2009, 05:26 PM
harvester harvester is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

ok so im confused. why do you want a cow when you have milk goats?

with my place being small ive decided to go with goats and no cows. one goat produces 2 gallons of milk daily and eats 1/4 of what a horse eats. Knowing that cattle are huge eaters, (something my neighbor new to cows has discovered) I can keep two goats which is equivelent to what an average cow can produce each day with milk at a fraction of the cost. I have dairy goats and breed them to meat goats and have the meat and milk.
for me its not justifyable to have both animals other than to have the beef from the cows. Therefore if it was me, I wouldnt try to sustain a milk cow over winter on 6x or more the amount of feed it would take to sustain 2 goats. just for the sake of the meat, when if i wanted beef i could easily get a calf, raise it on the goats milk and butcher it in the fall and not have to take it over winter. or keep the goats, have the milk and meat from them and buy half a beef or whatever i wanted from someone else.
i guess what im saying is that you are looking for a milk animal too, but you already have that in your goats. so to me you are doubling up on your milk production with a cow but its costing you way more to keep the cow than to just get another milk goat and buy a freezer cow.
did that make any sence?
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:16 PM
crmemory crmemory is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

I truly am appreciating all this feedback! It is definitely putting thoughts into my head. We have been researching and planning all aspects for quite some time now, and will actually start the preps for the livestock this fall on the farm. There is only so much planning you can do without having actually done it, though, so I am enjoying all these responses!

Beef is the primary reason we want cows, and we want to raise our own. If I can find a freshly weaned one (which may possible with the dexters), then I may consider just raising one for beef. Also, while I plan to milk the goats, for now, I have not been impressed with the raw goats milk I have had. It tasted like a soapy goat to me! :-/ My hope is that I will aquire the taste and make life simpler later, but because milk is a staple in our diet, for now we are trying to have the backup plan of cow milk. Hope that makes sense. We have no pastured goats around here where we live now, so the milk I have had is from hay and possibly brush forage-fed goats. It will be interesting to see how our goat's milk tastes when they are actually on the pasture. For what it's worth, I am pretty confident we will start with the goats, and possibly aquire a heifer calf soon after. Then, if I can't acquire the taste for the goat's milk, I have the option to breed later. If I don't need the milk, I can slaughter--hopefully before winter. Thanks for putting the thoughts in my head!

It also isn't a problem to slaughter a bit young, as we don't need our full supply of annual beef from the cow. We will also have all the chickens and maybe (eventually) a hog. I am expecting to produce very little of my own food in the first few years. We will be doing so much experimenting. We would just like to do it as soon as possible, and as organically as possible.

A few other thoughts/considerations I have had are:
-- raising rabbits. I have done this before, and know how simple it is, but is it really worth the effort (however little that may be)? Is the meat that good? Is there any way to bring in a profit on them?
--I have researched many of the dairy and meat goats out there, but is there a particular breed that tends to have less risk of a "goat" flavor in the milk, or is this simply a personal issue for me and my family?

Finally, do any of you more experienced livestock raisers have homestead-realated blogs? I would love to read up on how you do things.
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:37 PM
harvester harvester is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by crmemory
Beef is the primary reason we want cows, and we want to raise our own. *If I can find a freshly weaned one (which may possible with the dexters), then I may consider just raising one for beef.
just a thougt that hit me as i read this, are you sure you wont get too attatched to a dexter to butcher it? you sound really smitten with them.
Quote:
*Also, while I plan to milk the goats, for now, I have not been impressed with the raw goats milk I have had. *It tasted like a soapy goat to me! :-/
being an avid goat raiser, i had a small commercial dairy for a period of time and now have just family milk goats (thank god no more 2 hours of hand miliking 70 goats twice a day!) the way you handle your goat milk is of utmost importance to the outcome of the taste.
As for what the goat is fed, browse will taint the milk. If they decide to get into the pine trees(which they will) your milk will have an acid taste. If they find a rich weed, you milk will taste "goaty" like that thick soapy taste you referred to. dairy goats should be on a strict diet of grass and alfalfa with a bit of sweet feed to protect the flavor of the milk.
As for breed, absolutely there is a difference in their milk, some with more (butterfat) content in their milk will have that goaty taste to it. Stay away from pygmys(4-6%), boers(10-16%), nubians(4-6%) for sure. Go with saanens(3-4%), alpines(3-4%) or lamanchas(3-5%) for the best tasting milk. I am partial to lamanchas due to their wonderful nature, quietness, they tend to not jump as much, and they are nicer to fences. My lamanchas produce 2+ gallons a day of very light tasting milk (due to their diets) and you can not tell the difference from their milk and regular 2% off the shelf. i'm very picky about my milk, and i gag at the slightest hint of goaty taste. breed selection, management of diet, and management of the milk is key to producing a very high quality milk. Also lamanchas are dual purpose breeds also doing well in the meat production area. However boer goats are #1 as the quality of their meat far surpasses any other breed, therefore i breed my girls to boer boys.

Quote:
It also isn't a problem to slaughter a bit young, as we don't need our full supply of annual beef from the cow. *We will also have all the chickens and maybe (eventually) a hog. *I am expecting to produce very little of my own food in the first few years. *We will be doing so much experimenting. *We would just like to do it as soon as possible, and as organically as possible.
you will end up producing more than you think those first years.

Quote:
A few other thoughts/considerations I have had are:
-- raising rabbits. *I have done this before, and know how simple it is, but is it really worth the effort (however little that may be)? *Is the meat that good? *Is there any way to bring in a profit on them?
I have also had a commercial rabbirty and yes there is a profit to be made if you are in the right area. as far as a table meat i dont believe it can be beat. as far as is it profitable to raise them for the table, absolutely! again, breed is esential, new zealands being best, californians, checkered giants, etc..stay away from huge giant breeds and dwarves.
you can breed a rabbit and expect kits in a month. anywyere from 6-8 is average but i used to get 10-14 with my checkerd giants and they were capable of raising them without any problems. after 6 weeks they should weigh 2 1/2 lbs each and this is when you butcher them for a 2lb fryer. butchering is quick and easy once you get a routine and is best with two people, one to kill and skin and one to butcher. my dad and i used to do about 30 rabbits in an hour.

Quote:
--I have researched many of the dairy and meat goats out there, but is there a particular breed that tends to have less risk of a "goat" flavor in the milk, or is this simply a personal issue for me and my family?
yes, as explained above. and yes it is very much a personal issue for you and your family. dont waste time raising anything you are not very happy with.

Make sure you dont jump into anything and do alot of research first.
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Old 03-20-2009, 11:30 PM
crmemory crmemory is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by harvester
just a thougt that hit me as i read this, are you sure you wont get too attatched to a dexter to butcher it? you sound really smitten with them.
LOL! I may be a bit smitten with the highlands, but the dexters are just the easiest for me to come by. Like I said, I have a very trusted source that will work with me for high quality animals. DH and I are very practical. I admit, I likely won't be able to do the killing myself (of any animal!), but once dead, it's just meat to me. I think the only livestock raised on my farm that I don't think I could eat would be my own horses. Have an attachment thing with them! ;D
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Old 03-20-2009, 11:54 PM
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AlchemyAcres AlchemyAcres is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

Highlands are nice, but if I were forced to pic between the 2 breeds, I'd pic the Dexters.

If I could pic any dual-purpose breed, I'd pic Dutch-Belted.
They give a good amount of milk, are hardy, good for meat and they're well known for their fertility, when compared to dairy breeds.
In this area, Dutch Belted semen is available from some breeding companies, so there's the option of not keeping a bull around specifically for breeding. That's an important consideration for some.


~Martin
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  #17  
Old 03-21-2009, 12:20 AM
crmemory crmemory is offline
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Very interesting you should mention Dutch Belted! It just happens I was researching them last night. I found them to be a very attractive breed, and love the fact that, like the others, they are considered heritage, but the info I read listed them as beef rather than dual purpose. I am interested in knowing more if you have any good resources. Also, our farm is in IL. I do not know of any breeders near us, though I could certainly be wrong. Also, why do you prefer them to dexters?
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Old 03-21-2009, 01:00 AM
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AlchemyAcres AlchemyAcres is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

Quote:
Originally Posted by crmemory
Very interesting you should mention Dutch Belted! It just happens I was researching them last night. I found them to be a very attractive breed, and love the fact that, like the others, they are considered heritage, but the info I read listed them as beef rather than dual purpose. I am interested in knowing more if you have any good resources. Also, our farm is in IL. I do not know of any breeders near us, though I could certainly be wrong. Also, why do you prefer them to dexters?
My only real problem with Dexters for homestead use is the fact that it's difficult, in this area anyway, to find good stock that isn't astronomically priced! They've become quite a novelty for some.

There are strains of Belted that are bred specifically for dairy,
If you can only find the beef type, you could breed to dairy.

What impressed me most about the belties was their fertility, we used to operate a seasonal pasture based dairy, so the abilty to get cows bred back on schedule was paramount. The belties out performed other breeds, by far. It was especially evident at my friend's dairy (which was mostly belties), he always had excess heifers for sale due to the belties ability to breed back on schedule.

Taurus Service is one of the companies that offers Belted dairy semen in this area.

http://www.taurus-service.com/proteinbreedproof.htm

Belted Dairy Cattle Association......

http://whitebelted.com/index.html


~Martin

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Old 03-21-2009, 01:54 AM
Anon001 Anon001 is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

I hadn't even thought about the belteds. I see them around here from time to time and I would try them before the Dexters. I wouldn't even try the highlands.. lol

As far as goats are concerned. The butter fat will affect the flavor of the goat's milk, but I don't think it is in a bad way. I think the more butter fat the milk has, the richer the flavor. The two biggest influences in the taste of the milk is the diet and the handling. If you control the diet, keep the buck away from your milking does, make sure the milking environment is clean and get the milk refrigerated immediately, all of it will taste just fine. If you control the diet and the handling, it can taste like cow's milk. The only dairy goats I keep are purebred Nubians for several reasons. Right now there are about 22 does plus the kids. I think their milk tastes just as good as any other dairy breed. I've also never had to use a cream separator with my Nubian milk. If it sets, the cream will rise.. not as quickly as cows milk but it will rise. I will also say that Nubians are very gentle just like any goat.

Most Jerseys I've owned have always come from dairies. Usually they are the young culls. But, most of them have always milked anywhere from 5 to 7 gallons per day.... I only feed a Jersey about 2 coffee cans of a sweet feed with additional molasses (molasses sweetens the milk). I used to know how many pounds it was. But, I basically fed cracked corn with bean meal and molasses. I never buy bagged feed because bagged is more expensive. My Jerseys never have had any other "treats". They are on grass and native grass hay and that's it. So, yes it does cost more to feed a milk cow, but you get an awful lot more milk. The excess milk can fatten a hog, or raise a butcher calf, or be sold. You can always have a market for milk.

Rabbits--- I agree with others... They can be profitable but usually they aren't. They can keep you in a lot of meat. Their meat is a very good meat and a delicate meat.... . Nothing like wild rabbit.

I will add that my main income is cattle and has been for a very very long time. However, I keep increasing my goat herd because I can make more dollars per acre with goats than with calves! But, I won't replace the cattle. However, they are good together because they don't really compete for the same "food".

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Old 03-23-2009, 11:11 PM
fancyfowl fancyfowl is offline
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Default Re: Scottish Highland Cattle

I used to say a good milk cow could be central to a self sufficient life style, I would still argue that.
I think there is a book titled" The One Cow Economy"??

We were on DHIA test with the goats for awhile and I think the highest fat was the best milk. Tasting the milk direct from the udder is the best way I have found to determine that goat with the off flavored milk. Seems like every heard has one or 2 with off milk all the time, lots of factors can have a temporary effect.
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