How To Raise Cattle – 6 Practical Tips For Beginners To Start Successfully
Most people who live on the countryside make it a point to learn how to raise cattle especially when the season of spring arrives. This is when greener pastures arrive and is considered an ideal time to raise cattle either for milking or for meat.
The following are some useful tips that can help anyone who plans to raise cattle this coming spring season.
Tip #1: Buying
The first thing you should know in learning how to raise cattle is where to find a good supplier of quality animals. The most advisable to purchase are older feeders or several calves that are already weaned. A good place to start looking for advertisements is on the local newspaper. You can even advertise yourself as an interested buyer. Visiting farms and local feed mills provides opportunities to be led to farmers who currently have some animals for sale. You can try auction houses, but always be wary of animals bought from auction houses as some of them might already be sick. If you plan to purchase from an auction house, make sure to have someone with you who can pick out healthy animals from those that are not.
Tip #2: Shelter
There is a false belief in raising cattle wherein one should spend money building expensive sheds and barns. A simple windbreak is more than sufficient as a shelter both for yearlings and for older cattle. These animals can even be raised in commercial lots that provide little or no housing at all. You might be surprised too find out that even the youngest calves can be resilient to changes in the weather as long as they have access to their mother’s udder.
In learning how to raise cattle, make sure that the shelter you will make is free from drafts. This is because structures that keep moisture inside might cause health problems in cattle. A three-sided shed with its back positioned against the wind can provide adequate shelter even during the worst weather.
Tip #3: Water
Make sure to provide a good supply of water as cattle normally drink about 12 gallons of water a day. During the winter, having tank heaters can help in lessening the amount of ice chopping that needs to be done. If you notice algae growth during the summer, fill a small cloth with copper sulfate and wave it around in the water. Do this regularly for once or twice a week.
Tip #4: Pasture
A mixture of alfalfa, brome, and timothy is probably the best pasture for cattle as it encourages more grazing. A mixture of red clover and timothy fares well as it produces ¾ the amount of grazing in the alfalfa-brome-timothy mixture.
Never underestimate your pastures’ carry capacities. Bear in mind that during July and August, pastures are shorter and drier and hence, might lead you to end up with not enough pasture yet too many cattle. Keep your planning ahead of time to make sure this does not happen.
Tip #5: Hay
If you want to learn how to raise cattle, make sure that you provide good quality legume hay since it is known to produce good beef and therefore, a good profit. When it comes to hay, alfalfa is usually the top standard and is also the most expensive. Compared to other hay variants, it is richer in vitamins and minerals. If you plan on using alfalfa for cattle hay, make sure to mix in timothy or other types of grass to reduce the risks of bloating in cattle.
The following are other alternatives to alfalfa:
- Annual Lespedeza
- Alsike clover with timothy or other grasses
- Timothy and ladino clover, brome, or orchard grass
- Red clover mixtures
- Sweet clover
Tip #6: Ground Feed
For fattening cattle, corn is the best choice. Consider the feeding formula below:
- Corn (1000 lbs)
- Beef Supplement (100 lbs)
- Molasses feed (50 lbs)
- Salt (5 lbs)
In learning how to raise cattle, you should know that it is not always up to you to be able to come up with these formulas. Farm co-ops or feed mills can grind this formula if you need it. Take not that salt is added to help in the cattle’s maintenance.
Learning how to raise cattle is not easy work, but its rewards are very pleasing in the end. It can help one establish his own business and at the same time, even provide himself his very own supply of beef meat. Nothing beats enjoying the benefits of one’s hard work.