All About Bovines
America has a love affair with cattle. Cattle grace and graze upon many farms, if not most farms in the United States. Cattle, to many people, are the quintessential farm animal. From Angus to Senepol to rare breeds like the Milking Devon or the Randall Lineback to alternative bovines such as yaks, there are a dizzying number of breeds to consider adding to your farm. The Popular Farming Series: Cattle issue has everything you need to know from choosing a breed to handling cattle to breeding techniques. With beautiful photos and in-depth articles, Cattle is a must-have for any cattle enthusiast or small farmer.
What You’ll Find
The Popular Farming Series is a collection of magabooks that covers farming topics of interest to small farmers with more article pages and fewer advertisements. The series is designed to provide valuable information to both those who already have a small farm as well as those who are pondering the big move to the country. As an all-encompassing guide to raising cattle, you’ll find helpful and interesting information about all aspects of cattle breeds, cattle husbandry, breeding and calving, daily care, protection from harsh weather and disease, and even some advice on how to understand cattle behavior when handling your herd in “Think Like A Cow.”
“Cattle reason differently than we do. A cow’s instincts and thought processes equip her to seek out the best grass, defend her calf from predators, and remember the location of a water source or mountain trail she’s used only once in her life (or a bee’s nest she bumped into last year). … Cattle were originally prey animals, relying on smell and sight to detect predators, and responding to danger by fleeing or fighting. They instinctively fear something strange or new that they don’t understand; “fight or flight” is a deeply ingrained survival response. They are very alert to strange sights, sounds or smells; they are ready to run or stand their ground and fight if cornered or to protect a calf. Their ears are more sensitive to noise than ours and their wide-angle vision (eyes set far apart so each eye can see a different picture to the side and to the rear) enables them to see an approaching predator from almost any direction.” –Heather Smith Thomas
Cattle has all the information you need to get started with your bovine herd or to learn more about how to raise and care for your cattle. If you haven’t started your herd, you’ll find helpful breed profiles to aid you in choosing what breeds to add to your farm.
There are an amazing number of breeds to choose from when deciding what type of cattle to raise. From Hereford to Limousin to Murray Grey or the unusual Ankole-Watusi, there is a lot consider, such as climate, hardiness, size and temperament. Or how about dairy cattle? There is the iconic Holstein with its black and white coloring or the soft-eyed Brown Swiss, but to pick a breed you’ll have to consider milk production, fertility, longevity, climate and average size. There’s a lot to know and Popular Farming’s Cattle issue can put you in the right direction with its in-depth breed profiles and helpful advice, such as that offered in “Makin’ Milk.”
“All [dairy cattle] breeds have their good qualities and their not-so-good qualities. Your choice in breeds will depend on what you want to accomplish in your dairy operation. For example, if you want to milk lots of cows year-round and sell all of your milk to a dairy cooperative or other commodity buyer, then you should look at Holsteins or Jerseys. If you want to seasonally milk cows in a commercial dairy-grazing operation, consider Ayrshires, Jerseys, Guernseys or Milking Shorthorns. Thinking about making a commercial, value-added business, like making cheese or butter? Jerseys, Brown Swiss or Guernseys would be your best bet; or do you want a family cow (or a few) to provide both meat and milk? Milking Shorthorns, Dexters, Dutch Belted, Kerry or Milking Devons are good choices.” –Carol Ekarius
If you are still looking for more information about breeds, breeding, calving or feeding and housing cattle, each article provides links and sources, but you can also turn to the Resources section for an in-depth listing of breed organizations, supply houses, veterinarian organizations, periodicals, and much more.
From calving to milking to making cheese to building field shelters or recognizing a sick cow, there’s a lot to know about raising cattle. Popular Farming’s Cattle issue can offer help. Get detailed do-it-yourself plans for building a calf shed, a permanent shade shelter as well as a portable shade shelter—essential equipment for anyone with cattle. Also get a veterinarian’s advice on how to recognize ailing cattle as well as how to treat and prevent the top 10 most common ailments in your herd in “Herd Health.”
“Cattle are easy to care for if a herd manager is observant of his cattle and employs proper management techniques. A variety of ailments can affect cattle, but most can be avoided with effective management or can be successfully treated if caught early. It is important to observe your cattle’s behavior when they’re healthy so that if an ailment does strike, you will be able to notice quickly that something is wrong and begin appropriate treatment fast. Knowing the basics about cattle health can also help the herd manager identify problems when they arise, as well as keep the herd healthy and happy.” –Clell V. Bagley, DVM
Beyond the Pasture
You don’t have to watch your cattle graze in the field all day. There are a lot of activities that cattle owners join in with their bovines. Popular Farming’s Cattle shows you some of the many options. From saddle training your steer to learning how to drive oxen to plow fields and pull logs to joining 4-H and teaching your cow tricks, there are more fun-filled cattle activities than you ever imagined.
Take your cattle beyond the pasture to show them at state fairs or 4-H competitions. You can even volunteer your favorite cow as a therapy animal for troubled children and the elderly. If you’d like to try another bovine breed, try yaks or water buffalo, which are known for their meat, milk and docile temperaments.
Whether getting cattle for the first time or improving an existing herd, Popular Farming’s Cattle has all the information you need to raise, breed and enjoy your cattle—it’s an essential resource for anyone interested in raising bovines.
Popular Farming Series: Cattle
4 | Prehistory to Pasture
Cattle have played a vital role in human existence since the earliest recorded history. Learn how we have relied on bovines throughout history.
By Ann Larkin Hansen
14 | Think Like A Cow
Knowing how to handle cattle takes time and experience—both are essential for proper herd management. Get tips on how to become the boss cow of your herd.
By Heather Smith Thomas
22 | Get the Beef
Beef cattle are easy to raise and provide a solid source of income for your farm. Find out if one of these many breeds can fill your pastures.By Heather Smith Thomas
34 | Makin’ Milk
Even small farmers can enjoy the profits of milk cows. Discover the delights of these dairy breeds.
By Carol Ekarius
44 | A Rare Breed
Preserving rare cattle breeds can help to sustain bovine genetic diversity. Can you help these endangered breeds?
By Cherie Langlois
54 | Alternative Bovidae
There are more bovines to choose from than the typical Holstein. Open your eyes to bison, yaks and water buffalo.
By Sue Weaver
66 Bovine Basics
If you have a small cattle herd or just a single barnyard bovine, you’ll want to know the low-down about cattle husbandry.
By Carol Ekarius
74 | Breeding Bovines
Breeding is an important facet of any cattle herd. Beef up your knowledge before calving time hits your barn.
By Ann Larkin Hansen
82 | Herd Health
Cattle can suffer a variety of illnesses, but with proper management your herd can have a clean bill of health. Get a veterinarian’s tips on how to prevent and treat bovine ailments.
By Clell V. Bagley, DVM
92 | Go Grass-Fed!
Pasture-finished beef programs are beneficial to the land, the farmer and the consumer—not to mention, the cattle! Discover the grass-fed difference.
By Jim Gerrish
102 | Have Cattle, Need Shelter?
Cattle are hardy animals, but they still need protection from harsh weather and intense sun. Use these plans to build shelter for your bovines.
By Autumn Foushée
106 | Milk Mania
There is no shortage of goods that can be made with milk. Discover the plethora of products you can create if you’ve got milk!
By Sara Bredesen
114 | Ingenious Ways to Enjoy Cattle
Cattle can do more than moo and chew away the day. Explore some of the activities you can do with your cattle.
By Sue Weaver
122 | Glossary
Bovine lingo explained.
125 | Resources
Breed associations, veterinarian organizations, supply houses and more.
128 | Why We Love Cattle…