Thursday, January 05, 2012

So why another cow?

I had originally intended to watch for another Jersey, since they're my favorite breed.  And who knows how long Bonnie will last?  We aren't positive, but we think she was in heat last weekend.  Before it's time for her to cycle again, we'll take her to visit Cliff's brother's bull and hope for the best.  Poor thing, one of her quarters no longer gives milk and another is compromised; she seems to have a displaced hip, so she walks with a peculiar gait.  Not that this destroys her quality of life... shake a feed can at her and she can run at the speed of light to get to it.  That cow lives to eat!  
We went to the livestock auction a few days ago and were astounded at the prices beef cattle are bringing.  High-grade 600-pound calves are bringing as much as $900 each, so I thought to myself, "We have grass and hay to spare, and it's just going to waste.  We could have another cow on the place making us money."  
I finally realized that since I already have one Jersey cow and a Jersey heifer that will probably be having a calf in eighteen months, I'd be wiser to consider a beef cow that wouldn't have to be milked at all.    
We no longer have a pickup or trailer with which to transport cattle, so when Phil said he'd let me buy one of his cows (and he'd deliver it), we jumped right on that deal.  Lindie asked in a comment if the cow we're buying had been pregnancy checked; no, she isn't far enough along to check.  But Cliff's brother would make it good with us one way or another.  After all, he's the one who lets us use his bull for Bonnie, free of charge.  He's a good brother.
So we'll get Babe, the new cow, accustomed to the place, turn her loose, and wait until she has a calf and raises it  up to weaning size, then sell the calf.  Free money, right?  
Not quite.  I don't count the cost of mowing and baling hay, because Cliff mows this place like a park anyhow.  Just remember, though, that the calf Babe has in September won't be ready to sell until June or July of the next year, so it'll be eighteen months before we see a return on our investment.  And if she has a heifer calf, we might keep it.  On the other hand, we could probably take her to the sale barn when she's about ready to calve next September and make money on her.  Not that we plan to do that, because then we'd be looking for another cow to buy, wouldn't we?  
There's always the risk of a cow dying.  We once had a pretty weaned Holstein heifer that drowned in a shallow pond, in less than two feet of water:  The pond was iced over, the heifer walked out on the ice a short distance, the ice broke, and she couldn't make her way out of the ice-covered pond; she thrashed and struggled until she dropped from exhaustion, and was already dead when we discovered her there.  Years ago a lovely registered Jersey heifer was frolicking through the pasture, we assume, and ran right into a barbed wire fence, which wrapped around her neck in a hideous way.  She was alive when we found her, but her neck was broken.  Any time you are dealing with livestock, there's a risk.   


Even though it will likely be a year-and-a-half before Jody will have a calf and start giving milk, I'm getting her used to the feel of the stanchion now.  Bonnie hates it when I let another cow in the barn because she knows they are likely getting fed there; she bellows her displeasure until Jody is back with the herd.

7 comments:

tipper said...

Makes me wish I lived where I could have one too. Funny that Bonnie is jealous : )

darev2005 said...

I had always wondered why the traditional name for cows was "Bossie". Then I had to tend to a friends cattle over a weekend. Those rotten things were pushy as heck.

"Nnnnoooow! Feed me Nnnnnoow!"

patsy said...

we had a neighbor who checked cows buy bumping in the belly to see if they were carring a calf. one day he was at this certain place and the coule had not had any lucky having children. this man thought maybe his wife was pregant and he ask Jack to bump her to see if she was. Jack might have bumped her but not like that husband wanted.

Nerves05 ( Nancy ) said...

I love you new Pic.. And i see one of your followers in the corner.
I love hearing about your cow. That new cow is beautiful.. I look forward to hearing more about them..

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Sound to me like investing in the stock market. Well cows are stock aren't they. It might be risky business either way but some figure it is worth the chance. I'm a city girl and a retired one at that so I don't invest in stock of any kind, but I do wish you lots luck. May you have a freezer full of beef, plenty of fresh milk to drink and a pocket full of cash for all the work you put in.

TARYTERRE said...

LOVE the new header picture. What a glorious view you have. Had to chuckle, though, when I saw your little stalker in the picture too. LOL Sounds like you have a plan with the cows. I LOVE hearing about ALL of them. And all the plans you have for them. If it puts money in the bank and food on the table, who can argue with that? Of course them being part of the family is an added bonus too. Take care.

Paula said...

There sure can be some freak accidents with cattle and a sad loss.