The cattle for the ranch and cattle breeds you choose can make the ranch. Before you decide what cattle breed and form of cattle you want on your backyard ranch, you should consider:
-Shade or shelter, again depending on your season.
-Pasture quality and quantity, hay and possibly feed, depending on your season.
-Water source, whether it be pond, automatic waterer or water tank.
-Herd maintenance such as: vaccinations, branding, ear
tags for animal identification, fly control, tick control and de-worming.
To add cattle to your backyard ranch, you have at least a couple of options including:
Cows with calves called “pairs” or yearlings (calves that have been weaned). There are also different cattle breeds to consider.
“Pairs” are bred cows having their calves in the pasture. Calves can be sold for profit at the end of each season. These are black Angus ranch cows and calves. Gestation of Angus cattle is approximately 283 days. Angus cattle are either red or black in color.
Yearlings are bought as weaned calves to grow in the pasture and sell at the end of a season for profit. The yearling above is a Charolais. Charolais cattle are a white or “off white” color.
Cattle on our backyard ranch are yearlings that we are keeping as heifers. Heifers are young female cows. Heifers that have not ever had a calf are called “first calf heifers”. We have limited pasture so we bought a few to keep to start our own herd. These heifers will become the starter ranch cows for our herd that will in the future, provide beef for our freezer.
Cattle And Shelter
A horse shed or livestock shelter is handy (for cattle, horses, feed, hay, vehicles and equipment). Shelters can be made of steel, wood or even polyethylene. You can find a shelter for nearly every budget and climate.
Cattle Feed And Pasture
Cattle for the ranch require feed and hay supplement when the pasture goes dormant in the winter. Feeding round hay bales have been the easiest for us. To get the most out of every bale, we bought a round bale feeder. The cows will be able to feed on the hay, but not drag it around and waste it.
Along with the round bale feeder, we bought a stock tank and tank heater for the winter months. Our pond provides good water for the
summer, but will freeze solid during the winter. We do not want to risk losing our little thirsty herd to the breaking ice of the pond, so we will dry lot the cattle in the winter to protect them and preserve the pasture for the next season.
Cattle And Equipment
Cattle for the ranch take a lot of care. Equipment like a small tractor with a bale spear to feed our round hay bales, makes life easier. If you do not have to have a tractor to feed round bales, you can tow the round bales in place by tossing a rope around the bale and tying it to the truck if you are not going too far. Square hay bales are another option if you have a place to keep them out of the weather.