Saturday, 4 February 2012
Easy Guide on Cattle Handling and Why Learning the Ropes Matters When Keeping Cattle
By Tim R Smith
Many people take it for granted that acquiring good beef is as easy as taking a drive to the nearest meat shop. Everyday, people from all over the world eat meat; not giving a thought to the effort (in research and in physical work) it took for that piece of Angus steak to get in the market. If you plan to start a cattle farming business and be part of a billion-dollar industry, there are a lot of things you have to learn, such as cattle handling.
There is more to cattle handling that just being able to rope a cow moving at 20 miles per hour. What you need to do is learn the ropes. That is just the first aspect though, the second aspect in cattle handling is getting the right equipment.
Learning the Ropes
You need to know about the animals that you are going to take care of. Most cattle farmers also take care of horses, and some raise poultry. You need to know about those animals because you need to anticipate their actions, and the situations that they would most likely be in, and you need to know how you can react to it. For example, you need to know how to move them from one place to another without getting them all wired up. You also need to know about diseases - whether those illnesses are fatal, contagious or common in your area.
One surefire way to do this is by working on a cattle farm. Nothing beats first-hand knowledge. If you are hell-bent on starting your own as soon as you can, then what you can do is talk to veterinarians, other ranchers, your neighbors, and the locals (especially if you have just moved in). Another way to learn about cattle handling is by checking on online resources. There are community forums for cattle farmers. Join one, ask around and start learning.
Now, aside from learning the fundamentals of raising cattle, you need to get the right cattle handling equipment. The items under this list are calf tables, squeeze chutes, cattle headgates, cattle scales and other accessories. Note that these are needed in keeping the animals still for veterinary check-ups and weighing, as well as in moving the cattle.
Calf tables are commonly used in veterinary check-ups, castration, and branding. Some calf tables have an adjustable floor width and a leg hobble for castration.
Cattle headgates are used in catching cattle, sick or otherwise. Some cattle headgates are automatic. They have a self-catching mechanism that allows you to catch cattle without a partner - just run the cow up the alley, and you're good to go. Squeeze chutes are 'containers' for cattle. These are used in transporting cattle and for injections since they restrict movement. Some squeeze chutes come with levers for adjusting floor height, removable bottom panels for access and a hook to connect to a truck or a vehicle cab.
Other cattle handling accessories are head chains, headgate frames or stands and cattle scales.
After learning the ropes and getting equipment, you should be ready to engage in serious cattle handling activities. Just remember that whatever you do, and whatever you use, it should be as cowboy-friendly and as cow-friendly as possible. Your safety matters; and your cattle's health is important too. After all, they are, literally and figuratively speaking, your milking cows.
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Monday, 30 January 2012
Every Cattle Farmer's Important List of Required Cattle Feeders For Different Purposes
By Tim R Smith
Whatever your purpose in raising cattle is - for meat, for breeding or for dairy - you need to have them adequately fed; so that your cattle could in turn provide a good turnout.
Now, left to their own devices, cattle would forage, but what if your ranch doesn't cover hundred of acres for pasture? There is a current debate in the cattle industry regarding cattle feeding. There are advocates of pasture feeding while some promote the benefits of feedlots, where cattle are fed with hay, usually in small amounts, and supplements such as grain and soy.
However, most ranchers chose to implement an integrated livestock farming system where cattle equipment such as cattle feeders are used in order to efficiently give food and supplements to cattle. The thing is, feedlots or no feedlots, you would still need to give dietary supplement for your cattle. Cattle need plant protein, especially during the late summer season where there is a drop in plant protein; in which case, you are going to need cattle feeders. Sure, you can use practically any fairly-sized bin you can get your hands on, but if you want production to be more efficient (and to avoid getting your cattle's foot and head caught somewhere), you would need equipment that was built specifically for feeding cattle.
Cattle feeders come in different sizes, colors, materials, and of course, prices, ranging from a hundred dollars to a few thousand bucks, with its price depending on the material used and its capacity.
There are several types of cattle feeders in the market today. The most common are creep feeders, bale feeders, bunk feeders and bull mineral feeders.
Creep feeders are feeding equipment where height adjustment mechanisms are used in order to allow calves to eat while the large animals are securely kept out. Some creep feeders are stationary while others have an ATV function, which is very useful in larger farms. Mobile creep feeders allow ranchers to feed their cattle, practically anywhere, eliminating the need to move a herd in long distances.
Bale feeders are cheaper compared to Creep feeders, as these cattle feeders do not have height adjustment mechanisms.
Bunk feeders are an excellent choice for farmers intending to use feeding equipment for multiple livestock. Some bunk feeders even come with a liner that you can replace with ease.
Bull Feeders, as the name implies are for bulls and are therefore, heavy-duty. Most bull feeders have multiple compartments, require very little maintenance, and are weather resistant. Some even have pre-drilled anchor holes to make it even sturdier.
Some cattle feeders, especially the high-end ones come with a vibrating function that makes cattle feeds fluffy and easy-slide lids for fast refilling. Cattle feeders are a must in cattle farming, but just like anything that requires cash, you need to weigh your options. Look up online vendors of cattle feeders and find out what they have for you, and what others have to say about their products.
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Saturday, 28 January 2012
Raising Cattle For the Agricultural Market
Raising cattle for the agricultural market is one of the largest industries found within the commodities market and one which comes with distinct rewards and challenges. Whether it be a small scale ranch run by several generations of family members or a huge commercial cattle enterprise there are several aspects of cattle ranching you will find necessary to understand prior to venturing into this field.
Breeds of Cattle
The type of cattle which you will raise will determine the type of ranch that you will operate. Some cattle such as Angus cattle are particularly prized for both their bloodlines as well as their end products. Breeding Angus cattle is one of the most rewarding types of farming that you can find in terms of monetary value. Raising other breeds of cattle particularly if you operate a commercial undertaking can also prove to be a great means of living.
Caring For Cattle
Many cattle ranches operate on the premise of providing these fine animals for both food and breeding purposes. Taking care of your cattle is the most important aspect of cattle ranching if you are in the business for breeding your cattle. You will require plenty of quality green pasture land which grows a diverse variety of grasses and grains as well as the necessary time to monitor your cattle on a regular basis.
You will need to be able to care for any sick cows and make sure that your herd has been properly vaccinated as determined by federally accepted standards. Your herd will require a degree of special care in the winter when you may find it necessary to move them to a warmer location or to provide them with shelter for the cooler months.
Cattle ranching will involve a lot of long, hard hours many of which many are often unplanned. You will need to be available or have someone else on hand seven days a week, around the clock. Animal emergencies can happen at any time of the day and raising cattle is no exception to this rule.
Your business will require extra ranch hands during the spring season when most of the animals give birth to their young. This is a special time of the year for most cattle raisers as they will be able to sell or to purchase additional cattle as soon as the calves are weaned. Most ranchers work on a set schedule in reguards to buying and selling their cattle. Usually the rancher will start doing a bit of research at this time of the year to track the price of cattle in their area prior to placing their stock up for sale. All cattle placed for auction or sale is required to be healthy and to be certified as such.
Cattle auctions are often used when you merely have one or two cows that you desire to sell quickly. Many people take advantage of cattle auctions on a small scale basis while commercial ranches tend to sell herds of hundreds of cattle at a time. In addition to raising your animals for food if you happen to have a milk farm you will need to invest in some additional equipment before you can safely sell your milk on the commercial market.
Visit our Cattle Links site.
The best Cattle information available.
M Gravlee was in the cattle business for 26 years. He is now retired.
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