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Monday, November 19, 2007

4 Things You Should Know About Raising Beef Cows

If you're a farmer, or you just have a little land and would like to raise some animals, you might want to try your hand at raising some beef cows. That's right, you can grow a hamburger right in your backyard!

But before you roll up your sleeves and run out and by a whole passel of cattle, there are a few things you should consider first.

#1: Cows Need Room

Yep, you read that right. You can't raise beef cows in a barn - they need room to graze. To be exact, a cow needs about two acres of good pasture. In some areas, such as out west where the pasture is really more like dessert, a cow will need as much as 40 acres. So the first thing you should consider is how many cows you can have based on the amount of land you have. If you get too many cows on your land, you'll have to buy hay for them even during the summertime.

#2: Winter Food

During the spring and summer, cows can get all the food they need from good pasture. Winter is an entirely different story, though. You'll need hay to feed your cows during the winter. You can either grow it yourself, or buy it. If you buy it yourself, you're likely to pay more for it, and you may also have troubles getting enough during lean years. If you just have a few cows, though, it may not be worth it to grow it yourself.

Alfalfa hay is the best hay you can get or grow. As a matter of fact, alfalfa hay is the standard by which all other hay's are compared.

#3: Water

Cows do need to drink, too! On average, you can figure to a lot 12 gallons per cow per day. If you don't have a pond or creek they can drink from, you'll need to provide them with a trough or tub to drink from. It's well worth it to install an automatic, heated watering device. That's much easier than trying to thaw out a frozen water trough.

#4: You need to fatten them up

In most cases, you can't just raise a cow, then sell or slaughter it. You'll need to fatten it up, using top quality hay and grain, such as corn. You may also want to supplement the feed with salt, minerals, molasses, and feed supplement.

All in all, raising beef cows can be an exciting, rewarding venture. Well worth a go!

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