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By A Homesteading Neophyte
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Enthusisasm can be terrifying

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Yes, I will readily admit that I like talking about my girls, and my bulls. I might get a bit excited about it. Top that with my word loss problem and I am a hyper rambling mess. People tend to run to the hills, and we live on the open plains, so you know how frightening I can get.

Let us do a run down of questions you should ask when looking for that dream cow.

1. Age
2. Kick the tires a bit, and ask for a test drive.
3. ask after the parents. If on property have them show you. This will give you an idea of not only their general health, but what you can expect in size and attitude.

4. Vaccines, antibiotics, worming regiments. deworming regiments can vary. Some are natural as in multiple types of stomachs gnashing in the same field, beetle managment, natural igestions as in diaclimaious earth, or a pesticide. Even if you don’t like the unnatural, after eight weeks it will be completely through their systems.

5. Demeanor. This is super important ant if you plan on handling the cow on a daily basis.

6. Pure breed? Ask for paper work of linage. Even though my ladies are no longer registered with the association, I do have a list of who begot whom. All pure breeds, even if unregistered should have a number with an association at some point, even if it is a great grandmother. This is only important if you care for it to be. Blood and DNA testing is done with some herds, inquire about those as well. And ask why the breeder choose that breed themselves. You can find a lot out with that question, and it will pretty much cover all the other questions.

7. Training, what type of training has the cow had. How was it handled. If none, but the owner does milk, and you never had, ask if they would be willing to teach you to train. Some will charge you extra to get them milk ready.

8. Birthing. Has this cow had birthing issues in the past. Has the mother had birthing issues in the past? Some breeds are prone to birthing difficulties. That’s the price you pay for breeding for weight. Most heritage breeds need no assistance when it comes to breeding.

9. Weather hardiness. If you have yet to do your own research, be sure to ask the breeder. Even if you have, go ahead and ask. Breeders love talking about their cows.

10. Butchering. Feed out ratios will differ greatly in the various breeds. Smaller breeds have smaller bones, the feed ratio to meat output is very good. You can see 60% to 80% live weights at butcher. Larger cows will yield smaller percentages 40% to 50% on more feed. But it comes down to what breed is your perfect breed.

Be sure to ask at what age is too old to butcher. Breeds will vary in this as well. Some get tough, and are only good for hamburger and jerky. While others stay more tender.

11. Health issues within the herd. Mama has a descended udder. Please ask me about it. It is not heritatary, and was an issue that came to be before I bought her. She has no problems rearing her own young and has three good teats. Ask what you should look for if you are not use to cattle. Pink eye and anthrax is sneaky in dry conditions (anthrax once the rains come after the droughts) mastitis, and lumps in the udders.

12. Feed. Ask after what their primary diet is. What the cows seem to prefer. Mine love fescue.

13. Offer straight up cash with no paper trail and see if you can get a price break.

Be sure to ask follow up questions. Ask them for clarifications if you need it. Most sellers are patient with neophytes and will take the time to tell you everything you want to know.

There are more questions of course, and many of those are breed specific, so be sure to do your research about what you should expect from your dream breed.



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