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New-ish rancher and looking for advice

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:37 pm
by arrowcreek82
I don't know where to start. I am a disabled native on 40 acres with a few pairs and a yearling heifer. I have more pasture that just opened up here on the 10th but will need three sides fenced. But that can't be done without being surveyed. I own land with my brother and sister so it's not hard to find. I have been doing hay shares for the past decade although I have gotten a tractor with the intent to put up my own hay so I don't have to give away half of the hay crop. When the moms are with the bulls, they are up with the bulls and not here for a month. Other than that they are here.
This year was my first own calving experience. First calf didn't make it. Small heifer and big belted bull. The others calved no problem. But the others were bigger than the first calver. They all had black with a white belt. Their with them same bulls again this year because I didn't have the money for anything else. I'm still kinda new and my uncle offered his bulls last year and this year.
Not sure what I should be giving them for minerals, they get salt blocks, plenty of water and grass hay in the winter. I've ask ranchers around here for tips and advice but they think I'm just trying to findout their secrets. Even the ranchers that lease land from me.
I get a heifer every December as a payment for a lease I have a long the river valley. This year I will have my 4th heifer. My brother has gotten two. They've fatten up nice during the winter but this years going to be different, seeing there's three calves. One bull calf and two heifer calves. Going to sell the bull calf but not sure when would be a good length of time to feed him up or what minerals or what not to do. I figured weaning in Sept or October. I wanted to get them preg checked also but I'd have to take them to the vet, I don't have any pens or a chute. That stuff is still in the works.
I don't think I'll be able to stay partnered up with my brother cause it seems like he just wants the beef. I myself have two Red moms, one black heifer to breed next year and a heifer and bull calves.
The point I'm trying to make is, I feel like I don't have that big of cost right now but it feels like I should be doing alot more. I started this with the intent to live off the land we own. There's enough to run year round easily but I don't have all the info. I live in a small town and there's five or six big ranches. They don't want anymore competition seeing they all keep their bids about the same every year. What should I or could I be doing to keep my little herd of misfits keep me going? I joined this forum with the intent of hopefully getting some info I've been looking for and friendship with fellow ranchers and farmers. I don't want to be a big outfit, I just want to be happy.

Re: New-ish rancher and looking for advice

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:15 pm
by Faster horses
I would suggest going to Western Ranch Supply in Billings and getting some Vigortone mineral. It won't take much, maybe 10 bags to start with. They will probably consume it really hard for a couple of weeks, so brace yourself. Try to keep it out steady as every time they run out, they have to start over. You are trying to get their liver stores up which will enhance their immune system. Very important. Are you on any kind of a vaccination program? When do you calve? Do you leave the bulls in all year, or take them out? A short calving season is important regardless of how many cows you have. Be careful who you breed your heifers to. A dead calf isn't worth much. I have no idea what the birthweights are on Belted cattle, but if I were you, I'd be finding out. I'd try AI'ing my heifer/s
if you can find someone to do it...and I'd use a light birthweight black angus bull. Still no guarantee of a light birthweight calf, it
all depends on the bw of the mother. BW is 70% heritable from the female.

Good luck!

Re: New-ish rancher and looking for advice

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:58 pm
by m5farm
Welcome, as FH get a mineral formulated for your area keep out free choice also loose salt free choice. If you work on improving your native grass that will give you more benefit most cattle farmers are grass farmers they just use cows to harvest it. If you have a vet he/she should be able to recommend a vaccination program . I highly recommend buying your meds from them they should sell you the smaller quantities you need. As far as pens go work at what you can afford cattle that have been handled don't need much to confine them but it's dangerous if your not experienced. You mentioned hauling to vet so I assume you have a trailer for no more than you have you can use the trailer as a temp working pen if you administrator the vacs . I think you should have a vet do it a couple times till your comfortable.

Re: New-ish rancher and looking for advice

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:49 pm
by Big Muddy rancher
Faster Horses and M5 have given you good advice.

Mine would be to spend some time reading posts on this sight and look for some answers as most of your questions have been asked and many you never even thought of asking.

Good Luck.

Re: New-ish rancher and looking for advice

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:29 pm
by arrowcreek82
Big thanks for all your help. I will get some programs started and get a vet out here as soon as I can. They calved on april 1st and 4th, and may 5th and 15th. They are up with the bulls right now, since the 24th. Last year I left them up there foe a month. I would rather AI with a smaller bw bull but I'd have to do some looking. I don't have a trailer yet, been borrowing my uncle's but I've been looking for awhile now. I have a 2 horse trailer but it didn't work out so well. Pens and small barn is in the works. Yea I've been looking around the site for a couple weeks now and I've learned a lot but just needed a few specifics. I really appreciate all your help!