If you have a few acres of grassland you might be thinking about keeping a few cattle. Whether you just want to keep the grass down, raise some beef for your own family or eventually sell some cattle, there are a few things that you need to know about cattle before you get started.
Our first experience with cattle was buying a steer from a neighbour, we quickly learnt that cattle like to be in a herd and a single animal will not stay put. Since that first lonely steer, we have kept dairy cows, various steers for homekill, a herd of Braford cattle and currently we have a herd of Angus cattle. We have bought and sold privately and through agents and cattle yards. We have had the vet visit countless times and we are still learning, through drought and wet seasons, the best way to manage cattle on our property.
I have collated posts about cattle that may help if you are new to cattle or just want to know more about cattle in South East Queensland. Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, or find me on social media Facebook : Instagram : Pinterest : Mailing List
A good place to start is cattle terminology, make sure you know your heifers, steers and fat cows! If you are thinking of selling cattle, you need to know more about the beef cattle industry and what type of cattle operation will suit you. You will also need to know how to accustom cattle to a new property, so that they don’t run away like our first mob did!
Before you get cattle, you will need good fences. At the very least a boundary fence is necessary and if possible, a few other dividing fences will make it easier to manage your cattle. You can find out more about cattle fencing for small farms and how to strain barbed wire fences.
For temporary or internal fences, electric fencing can also be useful:
- How to use electric fences
- How to join electric fence polywire
- How to use a solar electric fence energiser
You will need cattle yards for unloading/loading and working with your cattle (unless you have a very kind neighbour). You can use temporary or permanent yards. We had some old timber yards on our property, but found them difficult to use, so made some cheap but effective improvements, as described in this post: Improving our cattle yards.
You will also need to consider how (and whether) do to:
Cattle Pests and Diseases
In South East Queensland the main pests to be aware of are buffalo fly and ticks. We don’t have cattle ticks, so I have written about them, but we do occasionally have trouble with paralysis ticks (Australian paralysis ticks and cattle).
Cattle can get all sorts of diseases, however with good nutrition (especially minerals and sufficient grass and hay), they are typically very healthy. The main illness we see is ”three day sickness” in cattle and we have had some trouble with Lantana poisoning in cattle. The main thing is to know when to call the vet if something doesn’t look right. And learn to do some basic practices yourself, like giving an injection to livestock. Unfortunately, sometimes you just can’t avoid Deadstock, so you need to be prepared for that outcome too.
You can read more about our other cattle topics here:
Resources for cattle on small farms
Below are affiliate links for books that I personally find useful: