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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Help Wanted

We are expecting an ice storm this afternoon/ early evening. Not something I look forward to working in. But there is so much to get done. We weren't expecting to get cows this soon. We knew that one day, like before Feb. 2009, that we would get cows, but not to have all this fall into our laps so soon. The barn is full of motorcycles, and engines as well as a little of this and that stuff for our future house, if we can ever get that thing built. We went and bought a salt lick, and have a line on some prairie hay. My brother-in-law pays $50 a ton for it, we will be getting it for $25 a ton. My brother-in-law told his sister that he has a $1,500 a month feed bill. Our feed bill currently is $30 a month, and will be going up slightly, but not that much.

Last night my husband figured up that the cows will pay for themselves, with just butter and milk, in 10 months. That is not including other things, like beef, cheese, lawn mowing and manure.

Are you tired of hearing about the cows yet?

The dams are horned, but were bred to a polled bull. (polled means hornless in case you didn't know. I didn't learn that term until last year when I started seriously looking into Dexters) The calf is polled and the pregnant one's calf should be as well. The dams are slightly older then what they suggest you buy, but because they still have several (between 4 to 10 years on just one) and they have both calved, we decided to go a head with it. The 4 of them are costing us less then 1 Dexter. They are registered, but not with NAIS. But if the government is really interested in their movement it looks like they can always check in with me here.

The Dams were raised as beef cows (well breeders for beef) so it will take a little longer for them to allow us to actually milk them. But we will be starting on the heifer (she is 3 weeks old) and depending what the other dam throws, right away. SO that by the time they are ready to breed and calf, they will be more accepting of us milking them.

We have 1,600 feet of fencing to put up. Anyone interested in coming out to help? We'll bbq.


MarmiteToasty said...

Ok, I'll help, just send me an Aeroplane Ticket and I can be there by tomorrow ;)..


BoysMom said...

I am thrilled to hear about the cows. A little jealous, too. I really want one. Tell all--then when I someday talk my husband into it, I might actually not make too big a fool of myself!

We spend about $200 a month on dairy. Just dairy. Baby's only 16 months, and with another on the way, that amount is going to go up. I keep telling my husband that a cow would be cheaper.

How big are your Dexters? I have no idea how big 750 pounds translates to, besides big enough to knock me over. It sounds like they're about the height of a Newfoundland? (Looking at the American Breed Conservatory Website.) Are they hugely blocky, then?

Anita said...

Love to help! :)
I never tire of hearing about cows... or chickens, or goats... lol

Anita said...

PS - Dexter beef is fabulous! Friends of ours near Salina, Ks raise them!

Phelan said...

marmitetoasy, ha if I did that, I couldn't afford the cows. But if you do ever find your way to Kansas, I'll be glad to put you up. :D

Boysmom, these dams are under 700 lbs, I would say a little more then 500 lbs a piece. They stand around 46 inches a piece at the shoulder, about the height of my 4 years old boy. (3ft 10 inches). They are blocky looking. The bull that he is keeping wondered up to us, he at full height, is shorter then mom, around 3 feet I would guess, and reminds me of a bull dog in the squat structure. They are half the size of the angus he had out there. The price of milk and butter is outrages, with 3 growing boys we would go broke just trying to feed them. Last year I sat down and figured out how much we spend each month on cow products, and it was over half my food bill. We don't buy veggies because we grow them. Milk is almost $4 a gallon here, and we go through 8 gallons in 2 weeks. I know they would go through more if I let them. I block of cheese only lasts maybe 2 days around here, and butter...well we go through a lot of butter (have you seen all the baked goods I do around here?) Sit down and do the math, if you can find a deal on a diary cow, go for it. From our perspective, raising our own will be a lot more labor intensive, but cheaper in the long run.

Phelan said...

Anita, I was coming over to talk to you, but my computer and blogger aren't liking each other today. I heard about the Fema trailors in NO. You are more then welcome to come out and help. We hope to be setting corner posts this weekend, once this storm has passed and the ground is softer. We are not sure when the cows are coming. this isn't the same cows of my first announcement. umm....guess I should have mentioned that one earlier. We found a better deal closer to home. But the cows are hanging out on 400 acres, and the man will be coaxing the herd up to the house and seperating them. We are just waiting on the call to go get them.

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

No, I am not tired of reading about your cows, ours are just beef cows, not dairy, so we just watch them eat. We are still putting up more fence for the goats and sheep and pigs.

Gina said...

If only I were closer, I would of course help! Then, you could come give us a hand at the new 'stead so we can move our dexters!!

Baby, my first, was also strictly used as a meat producer. We have been slowly getting her used to letting us milk her. She definitely prefers Sr to me, but then he was raised on a dairy farm and just may have more skill at it. The milk is very good.

Can't wait to see pictures!

V said...

Congrats on the cows!

By the way, in case you don't see it over on LJ, I wanted to send you big thanks and huge hugs and kicks for all your help with Daughter's science project. She turned it in on Tuesday and came home today with her grade sheet - She got an A+, which pulled her science grade up from B+ to an A. She is super excited.
As always, thanks for your help. If you hadn't reminded me of the simple things, this project would not have turned out nearly as great as it did.

Ginnie said...

If I were closer, I would definitely come spend a day with you! What a great learning experience it would be, to say nothing of fun!

Maggie said...

My favorite chore as a child was feeding the calves. They were really gently beast even when they crossed the line into cows. I have fond memories of milking our ClaraBell and then skimming the cream and shaking it in a clean mayonaise jar to make butter. If I were about ten states closer there I would be. Good Luck.

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