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Deciding To Raise Your Own Cattle

      Raising cattle can be one of the most profitable decisions one can make.  When deciding to raise cattle one may ask these questions:
     • Where can I buy cattle?
     • What is considered proper shelter?
     • How much water do they need?

     These are very important questions to consider and answer when deciding to raise cattle on your land.  Let’s go through each question and answer it thoroughly. 

        First, let’s consider buying cattle.  You need to find a good and reputable source for the cattle.  Check the local newspapers for those who are selling a few heads of cattle or calves.  These will be in the forms of classified ads or display ads in the agricultural section.  Be sure to check them out thoroughly if you choose to buy them from a classified ad.  If you find that your knowledge about cattle is limited, take along a specialist or a friend with whose knowledge is more extensive.  They will be able to spot a sick cow or calf ling, a diseased hoof, and other bovine maladies.  Placing an ad in the local newspaper is good also when you want to buy animals.  Be sure to be specific when you place your ad so your respondents will offer only the animals that you want. 

     It’s good to buy a few calves that are independent from their mother to start.  Buying older calves will cut down the cost of having to purchase the calf’s mother as well.  If you are thinking about buying cattle in bulk at a livestock auction, be sure that you are not deceived into purchasing sick or ailing cattle.  Usually farmers auction off those of the herd that are not healthy.  So beware off those who want to profit off of sick animals.  Their loss is your loss as well.  Purchasing only a few head of healthy and weaned cattle is a great start.

Suitable Shelter
    
It’s common belief that the ideal cattle ranch has big expensive barns and sheds for the cattle to reside in.  This is neither entirely true nor cost effective for a beginner cattle rancher.  Thousands of ranchers waste lots of money on big barns and sheds that they really never use.  A simple windbreak will do just fine.  It will provide your cattle, both young and old, sufficient shelter from the elements outside. 

     When providing your cattle with sufficient shelter, make sure that moisture can escape.  Make sure that it is draft free, but not air tight.  Preventing moisture from escaping the cattle living area will result in numerous health problems for your animals.  Bovines are known to give off moisture when they breathe and excrete wastes.  If this moisture was allowed to culminate and settle, then the results would be catastrophic for your cattle and your cattle business. When building shelter for your cattle, be wise to this fact.  A simple three-sided shed, provided that its back is against the wind, will provide satisfactory shelter.

Provide Suitable Shade
    
Cattle benefit from the shade.  Shade is especially in those hot summer months when the heat seems inescapable.  Plant a few rows of fast growing trees on high ground near the pasture.  Also a good place to plant some trees would be near the shed where they reside.  Cows often search out the shade and head there to get relief from the heat.  It wouldn’t be wise to omit planting shade trees.  Without the shade trees, your animals would be without a way to cool down while out in the pasture.

Make Sure Your Cattle Has Enough Water
    
Like most living creatures, cattle need a good quality supply of water.  Cows drink a lot of water a day.  It is common for a cow to drink anywhere from 12 to 14 gallons a day.  This figure would probably be more during the summer months.  So plan ahead and plan well.  The risks of your animals dehydrating are high if they are not properly watered.  Making sure that you are connected to a good and reliable water source is vital. 

     Always keep your troughs and tubs clean during the summer months.  The heat of the outside combined with the bacteria found in a cow’s saliva will cause algae and green moss to develop.  If you see this happening, rig up a copper sulfate sack and drag it around in the water once or twice every week.  This will prevent the algae and mold from forming as quickly.  Buy a tank heater for the cold winter months to prevent ice from forming and robbing your cows of enjoyable water.  Keep these things in mind and you will be able to provide your cattle with an enjoyable living environment.

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