Item description for Beef Cattle: Keeping a Small-Scale Herd for Pleasure and Profit (Hobby Farms Series) by Ann Larkin Hansen...
Hobby Farms Beef Cattle: Keeping a Small-Scale Herd for Pleasure and Profit, written by Ann Larkin Hansen, serves as an excellent introduction to raising cows for food or simply to graze while mowing and fertilizing the pasture. This colorful guide offers experienced hobby farmers and beginners all of the essential information necessary to purchase and maintain a small herd of beef cattle. While managing her own hobby farm in Wisconsin, Hansen shares her expertise in all things farm and has authored numerous books such as Making Hay, The Organic Farming Manual, and Finding Good Farmland. In this comprehensive book, Hansen corrals the hobby farmer into the world of cowboys and cowgirls: she begins, Beef cattle are as much at home on the hobby farm as they are on the range. This colorful primer begins with the basics, from biological traits and breeds to behavior and life cycle, and describes exactly what's required for a hobby farmer to maintain a herd of cattle--the four F's--fencing, feed, fields, and facilities.Given the expense involved in the purchase and maintenance of beef cattle, all hobby farmers will welcome Hansen's sound and sensible advice on buying the right cattle, whether steer calves for meat or breeding stock for building up a herd. The buying chapter helps farmers focus on what to look for when selecting cattle; how cows, heifers, and bulls are priced; where to purchase; and how to get cattle to your farm. The feeding and nutrition of cattle is a complicated topic, and Hansen breaks it down into the three basic components that every keeper needs to understand: pasture, hay, and grain. With directness and clarity, she explains the ins and outs of grazing, selecting ideal foodstuffs, using salt and minerals, and maintaining good weight on the herd. The reader can rely on her expert advice to learn the fundamentals of handling cattle, including herding, loading, and transporting cattle, as well as keeping beef cattle healthy through preventive methods, vaccinations, parasite control and veterinary assistance.For hobby farmers planning to breed their livestock, Beef Cattle includes a chapter on pairing cows and heifers, the actual breeding, artificial insemination, the care of pregnant cows, calving, caring for the young, and weaning calves. The final chapter of the book Marketing and Processing Your Cattle is geared toward hobby farmers looking to get beef processed, grade meat, and sell the final product. Sidebars of fun trivia, stories from farmers, and useful advice appear throughout the handbook. A glossary of over 100 terms; an appendix of health issues; a resource section of useful websites, books, and periodicals; and a detailed index complete the book.
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Ann Larkin Hansen is the author of "A Landowner's Guide to Managing Your Woods", "The Organic Farming Manual" and the forthcoming "Finding Good Farmland". For the last 20 years, she has studied and used electric fencing on her own farm in Bloomer, WI.
Reviews - What do customers think about Beef Cattle: Keeping a Small-Scale Herd for Pleasure and Profit (Hobby Farms Series)?
A great little book! Sep 22, 2008
I think this is a great little book. I have more than a dozen cattle books on my book shelf and this is the one I'd recommend to anyone just getting started with beef cattle. It covers all the angles and then some. Try it--I bet you'll agree!
Excellent Beginners Book on Cattle Mar 19, 2008
I find Ann Hansen's book very helpful and different from other books. Her attitude towards cattle and how to handle them has worked very well for me. Her description of fencing, setting up a "hay corral" for winter hay bale feeding, things to look for in purchasing cattle and many other small points have been very useful. The idea that you don't need to chase cattle all over a pasture but get them to come to you is a subtle but important part of enjoying raising cattle. It is probably not for long-time cattle owners but Hansen's book is in my opinion just right for someone getting a few cattle for the first time. I have a very different opinion of the boook from the other reviewer and that's why I am writing this. I have read quite a few other cattle books before starting and this offerred the best beginners advice. A good book to go with it is "Salad Bar Beef" but Salatin's book is much more philosophical where Hansens is practical. They go well together, in my opinion.
Pretty Photos But Not Much Help! Oct 13, 2006
Hello, all, I have bought a bunch of books from this site but this is my first review. I am writing it to give people a better idea of what this book offers. My recommendation? If you are thinking of raising beef and want to get a very broad overview of what is involved, it may be OK. If you are already down that slippery slope, there are much better books (as well as the extension divisions of most Ag Colleges). A little about my situation: I luckily have a real job, but bought 35 acres north of town last year, always wanted to be a rancher, so am feeding 3 steers on very meager non-irrigated pasture, with hay and grain supplementation mandantory. I'm sure the author didn't intend this book to be a comprehensive tome, but it is VERY superficial in many areas. Examples: FEEDING: I now know how many turnips Thomas Jefferson recommends that I feed my cattle, but wish there had been more on how much grain to plan on feeding rather than pretty cursory treatment of the subject. WHEN ARE THEY READY TO BUTCHER?: It's...."When you can see the fat around his cod, over his pinbones, and on the rear flank. If a steer has fat around the tailhead, he's close to grading prime; If he has a fat brisket, he's too fat." HUH?? Perhaps a diagram of some of these terms? If you're writing a book for us novices, don't throw these terms at us! BIRTHING: I'm not dumb enough to try breeding for now, but if you are interested and have a cow get into trouble, just..."Gently look and feel until you have an idea what the problem is, then give the appropriate assistance" (!!!!!!!) Or, as she goes on, "or call your vet or neighbor to help." I should add that this text is accompanied by a photo of a farmer with his hand somewhere up into the south end of a northbound cow. (This is an interesting combination of not enough/too much information in one photo!) I don't mean to be too harsh, the book is well made and the photos are lovely, and 2-3 years ago before I knew what I was getting into it probably would have been fun reading. Just understand that it won't answer many questions. Jim