August 13, 2012

Our Plans for Our Dexter Cattle - Part 2 - Including The Show Ring

As shared in yesterday's post - Artist will - very soon - reach that point of becoming old enough and more than ready to breed.

There's a strong balance requiring consideration of so many details when it comes to this goal of raising Dexter cattle.  And this Bull carries a lot of need for special attention.

" Ya' think ? "

Hence - we got a loan - and went for cows - rather than heifers - for placing in his Herd.  In fact - we went for Cow-Calf Pairs that both - breeder and buyer - are hoping will be verified pregnant by the time we pick them up late September.

But - we were also needing some very important equipment.  And this would be the high-dollar-ticket items.

We don't have a Livestock Trailer -Squeeze Chute or Grooming Rack.

Yeah.  Combined - those items can run you into a 5-digit figure - depending on exactly what you're looking for.

That's when we had to consider priority of use.

If you have cattle - you have no choice.  You must have a Squeeze Chute.  There are procedures that Veterinarians need to do on cattle - and they will refuse to do them if you don't have a squeeze chute.

One should never assume that every Veterinarian drags a Squeeze Chute around with them!

As for a trailer - we had to consider how often we need one out of necessity - compared to how often we'll need a Squeeze Chute.

And we are blessed with the opportunity of being able to rent a trailer from our local Co-Op for the few times we need one - for right now.

We need the Squeeze Chute much more - right this very moment - more than we need the trailer.  And the price on that little toy - including tax - is costing us almost $3,000.00.

We considered the following in the math - when it came to investing in this particular piece of equipment:

  • landscape of our property
  • weight of the Chute
  • future change-ups with barns - other buildings and cross-fencing ( could be possible - hopefully not probable )

THAT was enough for us to choose investing an additional $650.00 plus tax on the trailer for moving that puppy anywhere we want.

What I will say about how much we paid for the two Cow-Calf pairs is this.  We had to include their cost in the loan we got.  It was worth borrowing the money to get them - when we considered the whole package we were buying - along with the hope it gives us for beating Mother Nature's clock.

That is all I will say about that - until the cows arrive!

But I will say this.  We now have a much sooner possibility - for having a calf hit the ground that we'll be able to raise for the freezer - without paying another $450.00 up front - as we did with Bruce.

Annndddd - we now have another Bull calf - plus a Heifer calf - which will give us 3 Girls from the very start!

But Nowwww - we have more construction work to get done - before the end of September.

A shelter and hay/loose mineral rack must be built for the other paddock.  Cross fencing has to be put up for the Bull Calf and the new Heifer Calf.  They must have shelter - water troughs - hay racks and feed bunkers - as well.

And while all this is going on - the math is already being worked for the other half of this goal.

( ' PF Cora's Killian ' on the left )

There is now a new up and coming Bull added to the mix.

And he's gonna need ladies from outside the lines of his family tree.  But I think timing and aging will work out in our favor.  So - we'll just kick back on that one - and burn that bridge when we get there.

At some point in this menagerie - we have to stop and focus on constructing raised bed boxes for growing our veggies - which raises attention to the fact that we're not all about cows here.

There are other issues that require our attention around here.  For one - Hubs' work schedule.  It's not exactly what most would consider a normal schedule.  To begin with - he commutes to Alcoa from Loudon.  He works 4 days of 12-hour shifts.

And the hammer in that scenario is - his schedule rolls.  We never have the same days off each week.

When it comes to any kind of outside construction - we have to grab the days to get it done - when we can.  Not only does that mean working around seasons and weather.  It means working around the ' normal ' flow of events scheduled by the rest of this world - which tends to motivate by way of having weekends for corner posts.

One of the expectations we feel we've been handed has been to show our Dexter Cattle in competitions.  Sometimes - people tend to forget how difficult it can be to get started in such a huge venture as raising and showing cattle.

It's not like we can throw a cow in the bed of the pickup and run the roads.  It may only cost a few bucks to register for entering into a show ring.  BUT - it takes a chunk of cash to invest in getting there and preparing an animal for a show ring!

  • Livestock Trailer
  • Grooming Rack
  • Veterinarian Certificate of Health
  • Show Box
  • Shampooing Tools and Supplies
  • Grooming Shears
  • Other Grooming Tools
  • Extra feed/hay/water containers for taking to Shows
  • Show Tack
  • Outfits for the Person Showing the Animal

In some cases - Hotel accomodations / meals / misc.

We are in the middle of working on fences - barns - water troughs - hay bins and a Squeeze Chute.  These cattle have to have a place to live - first.  Getting all that put together is not all that inexpensive - to say the least.

And when there are only 2 people doing the labor - with a wacked schedule like no other - there is no time for anybody to be going off - galavanting around the countryside to show animals!

Priorities must be set.  And granted - the animals are aging.  Our Bulls may reach an age where they never see a show ring.  Because - we refuse to be responsible for putting a slew of other folks' Heifers and Cows at risk by the possibility of one of our Bulls getting loose from his stall at any show.

But that does not mean this world will never see our Bulls.  I have a few aces up my sleeve.  Not to worry!

I may have been just some wife staying at home and not out there in the work force over the past several years.  But I come with a package of work experience and skills totally unknown to many.

This wench has worked since she was 14 years old and living in Page, Arizona!

Bottom line - my husband and I live within our means.  We would love to show our animals.  We look forward to showing our animals.

But we will not be showing our animals until we are completely ready and prepared - in every way.


Charles Harris said...

Great post, But tell me how many pepole know how much work there is in working an farm, rasing cattle or grain.

Queenacres said...

Are Dexter cattle seasonal breeders or do they breed year-round? I'm curious if the bulls go into rut like dairy bucks do.

You are right about the money it costs (especially start-up costs) to raise and show livestock! We were gifted a trailer recently but it's just a shell, needing a lot of work. It's great that you can rent one!

WeldrBrat said...

Susan, from what I understand... they have their spring calves, normally. And then, each vary. But they can show signs of ovulation as early as 9 days after birthing. Advice is not to allow back-breeding for at least 30 days after birthing. From there - 9.5 mo. gestation. But a cow or heifer not pregnant can run into the oddest of circumstances that can tickle those dad-gum hormones right into a heat.

WeldrBrat said...

Dug a little deeper! Here's a great link that explains the Bovine estrous cycle!!

A Lady's Life said...

So much is involved in showing an animal.
I don't know if I can eat any of them.
I'd love them too much

Deb said...

Glad you were able to get more...hope you can get everything paid off quickly. Least you thought long and hard about it before doing it, unlike some people. LOL I've never been into the showing aspect, but if you enjoy that kinda thing hope you do well in the shows! :-))