Category: Cattle

The Castration Of Bull Calves – The How & Why

Dairy Bull Calf Destined For The Freezer

Castration is any procedure that results in a male animal losing the function of the testes. When a bull is castrated he is known as a “steer”. Under normal circumstances calves raised for beef will be castrated not too long after their testicles descend into the scrotal sac. Sometimes a beef producer will wait to…

What You Need To Know About Dexter Cattle

Dexter Cattle

During the last 20 years or so there’s been an increased interest in smaller cattle for homesteads. The most popular breed of little cattle at present in the U.S. is Dexter cattle. Dexter cattle are a minor breed and do have a place on many small farms and homesteads. As a former Dexter breeder and…

Goat or Cow? The Right Homestead Dairy Animal For Your Family

Alpine Nanny Goat

So you are ready for a homestead dairy animal but don’t know which animal to choose. Should it be a dairy goat or a dairy cow? Here’s some practical advice to help you make the right decision. There’s A Difference My husband and I have a mixed dairy marriage. He’s a “goat person” and I’m…

An Easy Trick To Help Pick A Calm Cow

Low head Whorl

Selecting young cattle for future breeding is as much an art as it is a science. It’s a guessing game in regards to future temperament, productivity, milking ability and mothering. Temperament in cows is an important trait to keep in mind especially with a small herd. Temperament in many animals is hereditary. Good sound feet,…

Dexter Cattle Flaw – Bad Feet

Typical Dexter Calf

The calf in the center of the photo below is a year old purebred Dexter steer. He has the typically overgrown “elf booties” feet that are a major flaw of the breed. Follow the red arrow in the picture and notice how his hooves are fluted, pointy and upturned. The steer calf has never been…

Kerry Cattle

Kerry Cow

My husband and I originally bought Kerry cattle for an integrated dairy production project that involved two different family farms. The plan was that our neighbors would keep them and milk them along with their dairy cows on their farm, while my husband and I would raise the heifers and feed out the steers for…

Horns on Cattle

Naturally Polled Crossbred

The first or second thing most farm visitors notice about our older Kerry cows are their horns. It’s understandable. Horns were what I initially noticed about Kerry cattle the first time I saw them too. From a farmer’s point of view horns in livestock can be a source of trouble. Horned cattle are more dangerous…

Fly Control in Pastured Cattle

Heifer With Face Flies

Because cattle produce so much manure fly populations can be hard to manage and control even when cattle are kept in open pasture and not confined. Here in western Pennsylvania summertime means fly season for folks who raise cattle. Heavy fly infestations in cattle can be a real animal welfare headache. That’s because flies bite,…

Bottle Jaw – What You Need To Know

A Bottle jaw

Bottle jaw is the vernacular term given to pendulous lower jaw swelling in sheep, cattle and goats. The swelling is a soft tissue edema cause by anemia. It is characteristic in animals that are carrying a heavy load of blood sucking internal parasites – better known as worms. Most often in sheep and gaots, the…

Freemartin Heifer Calf

Freemartin Heifer Calf

Aren’t they cute? They’re Brown Swiss calves and they are 4 month old twins. The cream-colored one is a bull calf (male) and the fawn colored one is a heifer calf (female). The heifer calf is known as a “freemartin”. A freemartin is an infertile female mammal. In cattle a freemartin is the normal outcome…