Monday, May 3, 2010

adventures with cows (continued)

When loose livestock is found in snohomish county they're hauled to the everson livestock auction.  As I wrote yesterday , getting them back is basically an entire workday, but I wanted them back so off I went. 

The day I retrieved them emerson was having a livestock auction, and since i was there, with a trailer and had some room, I sat in on it.  The portion of the auction that I got there was the "cull" portion.  What was being auctioned were mostly older dairy cows, probably going for hamburger.  It's part of the dairy industry, and most fast-food burgers have a major dairy cow component.  The picture shows a typical cow.  they're led through one at a time, sometimes in pairs, and bid on. 

If you click on the picture for a larger version, you can see the price board -- the information on it is not for this cow, it's for the LAST cow.  Once the cow is bid on, it moves through a door on the left, is weighed, and the totals are displayed on the board.  What's showing right now is that the last cow auctioned weighed 1370lbs, was sold for 64.75 cents a pound, and that the total sale price for that last cow was $887 (1370 * .6475). 

Every now and then a cow doesn't cooperate, and this one just stood there.  She didn't want to move, and they auctioned other cows around her for a while, and then decided to try to move her.  She was a big cow, maybe 1700, and they pushed and pulled and swore at her and finally got her sort of into the door
and with a final push, she was in. 

The mostly-black cow, above, is the cow that I purchased while I was at the auction.  Here she's in the pasture next to the corral.  I think that she's an angus-holstein cross.  I believe angus because of the color and shape of the head and body; holstein because of the white.  She's in pretty good condition.  I spent $0.6425/lb for her 1100lbs, for a total of $706 for this cow.   On the right is my holstein heifer.  The new cow has a flatter back, smaller head and weighs more, probably 200lbs more.   The black-and-white cow is my little holstein heifer that I'm raising as a family milk cow. 

When you purchase livestock at auction you really don't know much about how it was raised, what it was fed, or how it behaves.  This cow seemed in good shape, and has a dual purpose for me.  1) when I process my steers this fall my holstein will have a buddy, as cows do better with other cows, and if for some reason she doesn't work out, she'll be good eating.  

Since I have no idea what she's been being fed, I'm going to watch her and make sure that she can handle grass.  There's plenty of it to eat (I've got 4 cows on 10 acres) but if she's been being fed a prepared feed her rumen may  not be up to it yet.  

I'm lucky that there is a spring about 15' above the level of my pasture, so I was able to run a hose up the hill and get a good trickle out of it.  I  use that trickle to fill this 300 gallon trough for the cows.  By doing that I can fence the cows off the stream, to preserve the stream bank and water quality.  I'm not anti-salmon, after all.  I'm just anti huge regulatory burdens.


Enjay said...

I agree, she looks like she's got a good dose of beef cow in her. She does have the short, round look of an angus. In the area where I grew up farmers that kept the beef cross heifers usually put a beef bull to them, I believe that there were concerns about them being wide enough to deliver a Holstein calf safely. A smaller Jersey bull was also an option, one of the local Amish had one that, well I won't get into what his nickname among the english farmers was, but he sure got plenty of action with the local heifers and beefers.

damae said...

Hey Bruce,
When your cows are in milk, and you ever need a back up milker, I will be thrilled to do it. Of course, your cow/s will need to know me at least a bit and be willing to let me milk them. If you have a good stanchion and your cow/s won't stomp me, I will be happy to help out.

Anonymous said...

Hey i love the everson auction too I have purchased Cows (really nice hereford for 57 cents a pond) a weaner pig for 42.50 and she is now a very nice looking gilt fixin to become a Sow! I have sold rabbits and chickens oh yes turkeys too! I have been attending the Everson auction for the last 33 years