Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Oxen › First Calves
- October 26, 2015 at 3:01 pm #86318
I’m planning for my first calves in April or so. I have a lot of good advice coming from All Things Oxen on Facebook, but forums are so much nicer for keeping notes on a project together in one place.
I want to start assembling equipment I’ll need for the calves first couple years of life now. My income will go down about the time I get the calves, and I don’t want to be caught short later.
I surveyed my woods yesterday, found a couple cherry trees that might be large enough to make a yoke, but they’re going to be really difficult to extract. (Catch 22: need oxen to pull down hang ups in way of making yokes, need yoke for oxen to pull down hangups…) I’m probably going to make the first few yokes of laminated pine. We do have very rocky soil here though, so if I’m ever going to plow with them when they’re older I’ll need something stronger than pine. If I can’t pull down my own trees for the project, I’ll probably buy a yoke, I can’t buy hardwood locally for the cost of a finished yoke.
I have a number of empty horse stalls in my barn, and I’m willing to take out partitions if need be.
I’ve contacted a Brown Swiss breeder, but obviously if I want day old bull calves in April we can’t discuss details before calves hit the ground. Given the size of his farm, I’m thinking I’ll likely end up with calves up to a month apart in age, longer if I get picky about mothers not being genetically similar enough. Or maybe if I don’t think the second is a good match I’ll take him and a third, and decide which to beef when they grow out some.October 28, 2015 at 4:13 pm #86329AnneParticipant
Outgrown Brown Swiss oxen are very huge. Lot^s of problems (health problems, equipment problems, training problems) appear due to their size. All equipment is needed XXL.
If you like Brown Swiss, but don^t need elephants I would think about training females.
– they have a handy size but are large enough to get the work done
– they live longer
– they need less yokes (because they don^t get that huge)
– you can keep them with or without calves
– without calves there will be more flesh/ muscles on them and there is no udder or pregnancy that must be considered
– if you fail in training them, they still can be sold as milking cows
– you can keep a daughter or a son of the animal you like most and work them as a team.October 28, 2015 at 5:51 pm #86331
I’m sure I do want a smaller breed for my second pair, but I hear such good things about the temperament of the Brown Swiss, and the males are much easier to get than the females. I could probably get freemartians at a good price, but the dairy business has been breeding against twinning a long time, so it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to get a pair of them the same age near me.
Would it be better to delay castration or will they get too hard to handle before the hormones start slowing their growth?
I’ve had a few great danes, so I know a little bit about giant breed issues, should have realized I’d need to translate that to cattle. The other thing we do with danes is keep them very lean when growing to slow growth and prevent bone and joint problems.
One thing that won’t transfer well from dogs to cattle is feeding lots of chicken feet for joint support nutrition… Any special nutritional concerns with large breeds of cattle?April 27, 2016 at 11:01 am #88765
Hi. I have not been around here much, but I did start my calves.
I won’t be putting every oxen video on my website, you might also look at my farm’s youtube channel:
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.