Thursday, September 6, 2012

No Bull About Our Bull Calves

I was surfing the internet the other day and came across some comments on an article that said dairy farmers do not care for their bull calves. On our farm, and many others nearby, that is not the case.

Why do dairy farmers like bull calves? While it would be nice to have more heifer calves to grow up to be milk cows, the bulls become another source of income for our farm. We have no reason to give them less care than our heifer calves.

We raise the baby bull calves in the same calf barn as the heifers. They receive the same care and same feed. To keep them healthy we vaccinate both at the same time. The main difference in management is that we castrate the bulls usually sometime before they are a month old (and you can read more about castrating calves from Ryan Goodman).

After these steers are around three months of age or more we will sell them because we do not have the room to raise them and our heifers on our farm. We have several neighbors that like to raise weaned (from milk) calves to keep for beef for themselves or to sell later after they've grown more.

Bull calves are an important part of our farm and we want to make sure when they leave they are healthy and well.

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