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How to Start a Cattle Herd

| Updated September 26, 2017

How to Start a Cattle Herd. Starting a cattle herd can be a lucrative endeavor, if done properly. As an authority on raising cattle once said: "Buy the cattle low. Fatten them cheaply. Sell them high." The formula for doing so isn't exact, as much depends in what area of the country you live, and what animals thrive best in that climate. Read to learn how to start a cattle herd.

Choose a breed that's good for your area. Some cattle require more land to graze, some less. Some thrive in warmer weather, others cannot stand the extremes. In the Leader Call, Teddy Gentry speaks about crossing Barzona-Polled Herefords with Red Angus-Senepols to create a breed that thrives on grass and in the Southwest.

Buy weaned calves or ones that are a little older. You can find cattle listed in local newspapers, or at the local feed store or co-op. You can also buy your cows at an auction, but be careful. The auction can be a place where farmers try to sell their "bum" steer. Attend an auction with a knowledgeable friend.

Provide shelter for your cows. It does not have to be elaborate, just moisture-free and able to keep out the drafts. Three walls would be sufficient, with the opening facing away from the wind.

Have some trees in the field where you graze your cattle can also provide a place for your animals to seek shelter from the sun.

Fence your field with sturdy fencing. A single strand of electric wire can help keep the cattle from rubbing against the fence, thus preserving it.

Make certain your beef cattle have plenty of water. Cows can drink 12 gallons per day. Keep that in mind when purchasing a water tank. Keeping the tank clean is important. Swishing a copper sulphate wrapped rag once or twice a week will keep the tank algae-free.

Provide enough grass for your beef cattle. Depending on where you are, the amount of acreage changes. In Wyoming, it can be as much as 20 acres per head of cattle, in the Midwest, 2 acres per head of cattle.

Avoid feeding the cattle herd too much grain. That can cut into your profits as grain is expensive. Try to provide the bulk of the nutrition during the grazing months with good grass.

Use corn to help with the fattening of your beef cattle herd. Moderation is important. Your feed dealer can help you work out a formula that includes the grass, salt and hay.

Grow good legume hay to feed your cattle. You may find you use as much as a half ton to three-quarters of a ton when fattening beef cattle.