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suz
Aug. 29, 2011, 09:22 PM
i'd like to add another species or two to my woods to help improve the soil. it's mostly browse with some grass patches here and there. i have a few acres newly fenced with steel poles and woven wire.
besides the two or three horses i want to add a steer or two and a couple of tamworth pigs.
my concern is horses and the highlanders, who sport enormous horns. they use that rack to assist them in browsing, but are known for their docile natures.
we assume we'll have a cow bred yearly for the freezer too.

anyone here have them together?

pook
Aug. 29, 2011, 09:41 PM
At one time my 2 Oldenburg mares were pastured with a heard of full-size Highlanders. Never any problem at all, but they also had a lot of acreage(about 60 acres).

fivehorses
Aug. 29, 2011, 10:46 PM
My neighbor had his horse speared(for lack of better word) by one of his cow's horns. Had to put the horse down.

I have a goat with horns, and he is old, but I don't know if I'd have put him in with the horses in his younger days.

I agree they need to have a lot of room to roam, and the tighter the space, the more opportunity for an accident.
That said, my neighbor's field is 25 acres.

shakeytails
Aug. 30, 2011, 06:41 AM
Horns would concern me a little. Horses generally don't take any crap from cattle, but accidents happen. And horns could be hell on fences. Do the horns add significant value to the cattle? If not, simply have them dehorned.

WildBlue
Aug. 30, 2011, 11:16 PM
I added some young cows to my horse pasture this summer, but got ones without horns (Hereford). At the moment, we're talking 4 horses and 4 small cows on 40 acres with two big run-ins.

Short version: I'm glad the cows don't have horns.

The horses definitely rule the roost, but cows have no personal space boundaries. At all. A few times, I've found all 8 critters squashed in a run-in normally occupied by 2-3 horses. Apparently the horses were eating hay from the feeders at each end, and the cows decided to lay down in a pile in the bit of empty floor in the middle. Pandamonium ensued when my appearance made the horses want to mill around.

And, really, anything attractive to horses will be attractive to cows. Including run-in sheds, stalls, shade trees, and feeding time.

Also, just FYI, plan on more than 1 cow per field or paddock. They're very social and tend not to thrive if they don't have bovine friends. Have you considered the other mini cow breeds? Or de-horning, as someone else recommended.

Daydream Believer
Aug. 31, 2011, 07:29 AM
We also added cattle to our farm this year. We have four Angus and Black Baldie heifers. They are polled. I have run them with my horses and for the most part, they have left the horses alone. They did get a little pushy with the foals.

I'd not hesitate to mix horned cattle in with my horses in a large area but I do have pretty sensible horses, Spanish mustangs/barbs, who wrote the book on cow savvy and then gave it to the Quarter horse who descends from them. I have to keep my young colts and gelding away from the cattle or they will "work" them for fun. The fillies and mares are much less likely to bother the cattle.

I will say that adding the heifers to complementary graze with the horses is a great idea. The cattle will eat what the horses don't. The cattle are no trouble and take care of themselves pretty well.

goodhors
Aug. 31, 2011, 11:27 AM
Splitting the fields and keeping the animals apart is SAFEST. Horned cattle are not at all shy about using their horns to maintain personal space. You need to PLAN on having more space with horned cattle, because they will fight for that personal space in the barnyard for example. Cattle will hurt each other if overcroweded.

Highlanders have LONG, SHARP horns and know how to use them. All the breed promotion says they are fairly calm, easy to manage. But when pushed, excited, ANY breed will fight and use all their weapons. Neighbor has Highlanders, full sized, has gotten horned a couple times, though he blames himself for it. Still, he could have died easily, one incident just missed his kidney, because cattle react oddly to various things around them.

Both cows and horses gain herd status by pushing in, shoving others aside to gain access to better feed or shelter. NOT good when cows horns outreach the horse necks. Horses WILL get injured, severity may vary.

Hornless or polled cattle can't defend themselves from biting or kicking horses and can get injured pretty quickly. Geldings are especially entertained by pestering the cattle who can't fight back. I don't think a gelding would be running a horned animal around, like he can the hornless ones. Cow would sull up with being pestered and face him down, probably hook horse with the horn if horse didn't back down. Heck even the most docile horse, lowest in any horse group will abuse hornless cattle, "because they can" with no repercussions. Have seen that happen numerous times.

I have had a nice Holstein steer calf and a Hereford Heifer calf here this summer, both hornless and small. They are kept in their own field, apart from the horses to protect them. Horses and calves interacted, sniff noses thru the GOOD fence, race each other up the fenceline. But my horses would pester and chase the calves if they were in the same field, just a FUN GAME! Cattle would be chased thru the fence, then horses follow, both down the paved road, just be a BAD thing to happen!! And a totally needless thing to happen when I can keep them apart with no effort.

Most folks won't dehorn the Highlanders, consider horns part of "the look" of the breed. I wouldn't have a horned bovine on my place for anything! So "better safe than sorry", keep the species separated and rotate the grazing. Could be horses first, then cattle, then mow. Cattle do help the soil, keep my fencelines clean!

Nes
Aug. 31, 2011, 11:37 AM
We've got 2 cows, one is a shorthorn the other a shorthorn xlimo. The xlimo is polled, the shorthorn has... short horns :D. So do both calves.

I would not graze horned cattle out with horses, especially a cow/calf. I know my horse occasionally takes exception, her bull-fighting ancestry kicks in & I'm just glad ours don't have horns. They co-exist very peacefully about 90% of the time, and generally keep to themselves in 2 herds. We've created electric 'shelters' by running tape at an angle at every corner, that way smaller creatures (goats/sheep/calves) can get in where the big guys can't, and get away.

There is always the possibility of separating the cattle from the horses and rotationally grazing them. (Which is what I would do if ours had horns/weren't so docile)

Miniature cattle are not the best to raise for meat because although you get more lbs/acre you are also waiting a lot longer to send them to slaughter. If you can mitigate costs through winter by cutting your own hay etc. this probably isn't a big deal; but most small acreage farmers can't do that. Even though raising your own grass fed beef is delicious and so healthy for the family, you also don't want it costing 3x as much as you can purchase from the farmer down the road.

Steak & Burger will be ... I think close to a year when we send them to freezer camp. We could raise them larger but we prefer the more tender meat. I believe minis like dexters you have to wait at least 2 years to get any sort of yield from them.

That being said, minis are supposed to be easier to handle. I don't find our girls difficult to move.

Make sure you pasture fences are in tip-top shape before you bring the cows home... if they want what is on the other side of the fence there is little that will slow them down! (ask me how I know...)

How many is a few acres?

If it's all woods with little grass your going to run out and need hay very quickly.

The piggies are really going to rip through your pastures, FYI. Lots of people use them to turn over veg plots or clear out forested land. We've been talking about pigs, but I'm not letting them loose in the horse pasture for those very reasons.

If you're just turning them loose in the woods you'll be fine. I haven't kept piggies yet, but I am very curious to find out if they would create holes the horses might get hurt in... maybe best to keep them separate too.


And you're forgetting chickens!! They do a great job going through all the poop, pulling out those lovely maggots and gulpin' them down.

goodhors
Aug. 31, 2011, 07:00 PM
[QUOTE=Nes;5811645]Miniature cattle are not the best to raise for meat because although you get more lbs/acre you are also waiting a lot longer to send them to slaughter. If you can mitigate costs through winter by cutting your own hay etc. this probably isn't a big deal; but most small acreage farmers can't do that. Even though raising your own grass fed beef is delicious and so healthy for the family, you also don't want it costing 3x as much as you can purchase from the farmer down the road.

Steak & Burger will be ... I think close to a year when we send them to freezer camp. We could raise them larger but we prefer the more tender meat. I believe minis like dexters you have to wait at least 2 years to get any sort of yield from them.

That being said, minis are supposed to be easier to handle. I don't find our girls difficult to move.[QUOTE]

Sorry, you are VERY wrong about the minis here, as well as the Dexters (small breed, not always miniature) needing a long time to mature. They are actually faster maturing, because their smaller size lets them finish younger. Dexter steers we know finish at about 600 pounds and 14 months of age. Waiting much longer is putting more into the animal than you would get in return, no benefits. Dexters are small animals on purpose, just not going to gain much more! Less "holding time to finish time" for the Dexters is one of the benefits of owning them for meat. I would think any of the mini crosses would be very similar in an early finish age, they just won't grow that big no matter how much they eat.

You can always eat steers younger, but you lose meat quantity in not letting any beef animal reach their optimum size. For most breeds of full sized cattle, that can be between 16 to 24 months. Meat is still quite tender. If you do less grain feeding, finish time takes longer with grass only.

Modern cattle are bred to be much more docile than cattle in the past. However they all need some attention and handling to keep them "tamer". Like young horses who only get brought up for Vet work, seldom handled cattle are MUCH more reactive, can be spooky if you change their daily routines. You work with their routine and they are good for you. Cows LOVE routine as much as horses, so change will stress them. Our calves get led in and out to pasture daily. Keeps them handled, respectful on the lead rope, easy to manage. They were MUCH the tamest calves at the Fair, with only 5 extra minutes a day.

To the MAX
Aug. 31, 2011, 07:22 PM
Just get some friendly herefords instead. They also taste the best (JMHO from a girl marrying a hereford farmer :D)!

Debbie
Aug. 31, 2011, 07:39 PM
The highland cow breeder I spoke with did not recommend running them with horses because of the potential for injury from the horns. They are darn cute that's for sure.

Nes
Sep. 1, 2011, 12:18 PM
... Dexter steers we know finish at about 600 pounds and 14 months of age. ...

But a large breed of cattle can finish to 600 pounds in 10-11 months, and go on to much larger at 20 months (to almost 1000 lbs). 20 mons - 2 years being about the max you would keep them before they start just burning food.

That we sends ours to the freezer smaller and on grass is a personal taste preference. We could certainly keep them to 18/20 months and send them in at almost twice the meat (and maybe we'll do that when we have more of a market for our beef).

We did look into Dexters (or other minis) when considering what cattle to get, but we had a good line on the shorthorns and they seemed like a better investment. If that wasn't really a concern I probably would have considered dex/mini more then we did.

Kate66
Sep. 1, 2011, 04:14 PM
I believe they are called "Highland" cattle, rather than Highlanders? Named after the Highland region of Scotland.

We had Dexters, who technically are not minis, but small cattle. You can get them bred as polled so you don't have to mess with horns. We had Dexters out with our horses for years and they all got on just beautifully.

goodhors
Sep. 1, 2011, 10:32 PM
[QUOTE=Kate66;5814371]I believe they are called "Highland" cattle, rather than Highlanders? Named after the Highland region of Scotland.
QUOTE]

You are right, didn't realize I had done that!

"Highlanders" term brings to mind groups of large men in kilts with bagpipes and swords!! Wouldn't want them running about in your horse pasture! Too many Scots Festivals around here where everyone dresses the part.

Nes
Sep. 1, 2011, 10:38 PM
"Highlanders" term brings to mind groups of large men in kilts with bagpipes and swords!! ...

Yes, I would be far more concerned about having too many of them running around your pasture with your horses :lol:

CruzN
Sep. 4, 2011, 12:28 PM
Just came home from showing our Highlands at the New York State Fair. :) We have both Highlands and horses, however they are always seperated. Not only does it keep the horses safe from the horns, it also is easier to keep weight on the cattle as the horses tend to think its fun to chase them!! We certainly dont need the horses to be running weight off our show cattle, or steers that we are trying to finish!
Someone above said that the horns are sharp- this is not true. All of the horns have a rounded end on them naturally. However, if the horns truely are a worry for you, if you are buying young animals, and have no interest in showing, you certainly can poll them. (Although I would not suggest polling a mature animal.) Further, Highlands ARE a truely docile breed- I never hesitate to go into any of our fields, walk up to our bulls, take a calf away from a cow or anything else.

Kate66
Sep. 8, 2011, 12:58 PM
[QUOTE=Kate66;5814371]I believe they are called "Highland" cattle, rather than Highlanders? Named after the Highland region of Scotland.
QUOTE]

You are right, didn't realize I had done that!

"Highlanders" term brings to mind groups of large men in kilts with bagpipes and swords!! Wouldn't want them running about in your horse pasture! Too many Scots Festivals around here where everyone dresses the part.

Oh, I don't know - doesn't sound that bad!! Of course you'd want the "true" Scots who are discerning about what they do (or don't!) wear under their kilts!

2foals
Sep. 10, 2011, 06:16 PM
We have run cattle in some of our fields in the past...it does rejuvenate things, but I have to say that I was really disappointed by the increase in biting flies the cattle brought with them. Also, the cattle were very hard on the fences--they just push and push until something gives--and that got a little expensive. I probably won't do cattle again for those reasons. If you are looking for something that will clear underbrush, sheep are very efficient at that kind of thing.

I completely agree with everyone else recommending against putting horned cattle out with horses.

smokygirl
Sep. 10, 2011, 10:26 PM
My personal preference if i'm just running a couple head of cattle, and not concerned about breed, is de-horned Jersey steers. 1. because if you find a local dairy farmer, they are dirt cheap lol. 2. they are tasty!

Anyway, no way would i pasture horses with horned cattle. 90% of the time it would probably be okay, but who wants to be the 10% it isnt.