Farming forum: Our new calf

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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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dave
Apr 16, 2014 6:47 AM CST

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Howdy OldGardener,

Daisy is expecting but she hasn't calved yet. We never knew exactly when she got bred (I can't remember why not but somehow we didn't get the date on her breeding.) I was kind of expecting her to calf by now. Her udder hasn't started bagging up yet. We're keeping an eye on her. Since we're milking Elsie we might let Daisy keep her calf this time, and try to get a few other calves for her to raise.

Elsie's bull calf is doing great. He's only taking half a bottle twice a day and with all the lovely green grass, clover and vetch he is really performing well. He is not being fed any grain or any other bought feed for that matter. Abigail walks him from the barn out to the chicken yard every day and he grazes in what the chickens haven't eaten. The pen is so big and the grass so plentiful that the chickens haven't done much damage to their pen recently! It's a nice thing to see the chickens walking around a calf. Smiling Makes me feel like we're on a farm. I need to get some photos.

OldGardener said:Do you see any difference in terms of production (milk, calf) with her Normande breeding?


I haven't seen any difference at all, actually. The milk has about the same quantity and quality as Daisy gave. The primary thing the Normande genes bring is better performance on a grass-only diet, and I can see the difference. Elsie is much more robust than Daisy and I prefer Elsie's disposition (by a long shot.) The bull calves will be for slaughter, of course, and their Normande genes will help them attain a larger carcass size on grass.

And the Normande's are prettier. Smiling We've got a lot of great markings on all our Normande animals.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Apr 16, 2014 11:28 AM CST
Oh yes, we would love to see pictures!
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Apr 16, 2014 12:40 PM CST
Thank you for the update. You have piqued my interest in the Normande breed and I have been researching them (and dreaming of future plans). I came across this source for semen: http://www.normandegenetics.co...
and the $$ is more than reasonable. That site also has some good general info on the breed (I noticed that they even mention Texas Smiling )
http://www.normandegenetics.co...

I am seriously thinking about trying a Jersey/Normande cross. I like the idea that if we were to get a heifer calf, she would be good for dairying and, if not, the bull calf produced should outshine a (near) pure Jersey calf in terms of beef. Any thoughts?

I did not realize that there are 3 color combinations recognized for the breed (blonde, quail and brindled). They really are an aesthetically beautiful creature.

I think in a prior post, you mentioned that you were contemplating selling Daisy off. Did you ever make a final decision? Also, please let us all know when Daisy calves.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Apr 16, 2014 12:54 PM CST
Ooh! More questions if I may ask. Have you bred back Elsie? If so, what to? (Jersey or ?) Also, could you periodically post updates on the calf? As you probably have surmised, I am really fascinated with the effect of adding Normande genes. Thanks!
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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dave
Apr 16, 2014 2:07 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

OldGardener said:I like the idea that if we were to get a heifer calf, she would be good for dairying and, if not, the bull calf produced should outshine a (near) pure Jersey calf in terms of beef. Any thoughts?


That's definitely our thoughts on having Normande genetics. Our bull was, I think, 7/8 Jersey and 1/8 Normande. So the calves he threw were I guess 1/16 Normande. That way you retain the Jersey capabilities which you want, but you introduce many of the traits of the Normande.

OldGardener said:I think in a prior post, you mentioned that you were contemplating selling Daisy off. Did you ever make a final decision? Also, please let us all know when Daisy calves.


A local guy recently asked if he could buy her and I told him he could have her for $1,500 but he balked at the price. I told him that was actually a very good price given cattle prices these days. I could sell her for $1,800 easy especially since she's a springer. But she's also 7 or 8 years old so she's no spring chick. Daisy and I have had a few run-ins and I don't always like her attitude. She feels the same about me. I'd be glad to sell her. She's a fantastic milker and gentle as can be. She just got tired of me and me of her. Smiling I'll post when she calves.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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dave
Apr 17, 2014 6:49 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

OldGardener said:Ooh! More questions if I may ask. Have you bred back Elsie? If so, what to? (Jersey or ?) Also, could you periodically post updates on the calf? As you probably have surmised, I am really fascinated with the effect of adding Normande genes. Thanks!


I realized I didn't answer these questions. Smiling

We did breed back Elsie about a month ago to Gaston, our current herd bull. He's a full Jersey. He is also the bull that bred Frenchy before we sold her.

Yes, I'll post periodic updated on the calf. I want to take some photos soon anyway. Smiling
Name: Phillip
brayton tn. (Zone 7b)
Region: United States of America Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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homeshow
Apr 22, 2014 4:37 AM CST
Is Normande A.I. widely available? Also do you think a 50/50 cross would give the traits someone homesteading would want?
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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dave
Apr 22, 2014 7:31 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

I just now googled for "normande semen" and found quite a good selection online. You'd have no trouble getting straws.

A 50/50 cross? The animal would be more on the beefier side. I think it would still be a great animal and if a steer, you'd get fantastic carcass weight.
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Apr 22, 2014 6:10 PM CST
I read on an AI site that 90%+ of Normande cows carry the B Kappa Caseine gene - increasing the cheese yield 15-20% (other sources claim 10-15%) and 82% of the AI bulls are BB. Normande milk is used for Camembert, Pont-Lévêque and Livarot cheese in France. One site is claiming that many Normandes are producing 22000# of milk per year with some individuals breaking 30000# but that seems high(??).

My interest in the breed is the same as Dave's - good grass conversion.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Phillip
brayton tn. (Zone 7b)
Region: United States of America Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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homeshow
Apr 23, 2014 12:28 PM CST
My interest is also good conversion of grass to milk. What I have read makes a 1/2 normande steer sound like a good thing as well.

I'm curious to find out if the high quality French straws are available here in the US. Without breaking the bank would be.nice too. Thumbs up
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Apr 23, 2014 4:24 PM CST
The site that I listed above shows that they are in the same range as a good Jersey bull - ranging (for the most part) $12-$28.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Phillip
brayton tn. (Zone 7b)
Region: United States of America Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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homeshow
May 3, 2014 11:25 AM CST
OG. I checked the A.I. site. Good stuff! Did anyone else see the listing for daughters only? If you had to increase your milking herd that looks like the one to consider first.
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
May 3, 2014 12:17 PM CST
Usually AI sites only put info for daughters..............
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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porkpal
May 3, 2014 1:57 PM CST
How reliable is that?
Porkpal
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
May 3, 2014 4:41 PM CST
The more daughters a bull has, the more reliable the data. This is for dairy sires, I don't know how the beef studs compile their information and what numbers they use for their bull statistics.
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
May 4, 2014 5:18 PM CST
Caramba has caught my eye in particular.....
I see that they have sexed semen, though, which is tempting.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln

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