Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What Age Does to a Steer

I took this photo of Nicholas today. He is a Jersey steer. He turned two in December.

He will probably finalize his growth pattern this year or early next. Cattle can take anywhere from 3-4 years to reach mature size. Nicholas is one of the few male Jersey calves who will a long life. Most are killed when they are less than 24-weeks of age or never make it past the age of 2. Of course, it would not be a true sanctuary if we slaughtered the animals here!

Jerseys are a small breed of cattle. The photo below does not offer that perspective. This will give you a better idea of the Jersey size. Elsa is a 15-yr-old Jersey cow on the left. Nicholas is on the right. The fencing is 5'.

I wish I had a picture of me with Maddie, a Holstein (black and white) cow. I am 5'10". I cannot see over her shoulders or back. She is the tallest Holstein I have ever met. When Nicholas stands next to Maddie, he looks like a calf. The 2,000 lb Charolais steer at the sanctuary manages to look smaller than her.

Nicholas barely looks like his younger self (the second photo). He still has that white marking on his right rear flank. It looks like this now. I should post photos of Summer and Freedom's before and after. They have not even turned one yet and they look nothing like they did when they arrived in May of last year.

Anyways, behold the cuteness. You can also see Nicholas look like a dork. Oh, Nicholas might look quite adorable in these pictures, but there is a reason a gate separates me from him. In fact, I was trying to encourage him to leave the pasture so I could hang out with the other cattle in peace. Nicholas is 2. He is a young, teenage male. He thinks people are play things. He may only be 4.5' tall, but he weighs 1,000 lbs and could easily hurt me. I do not trust juvenile male cattle! I have not encountered the degree of playfulness directed at humans to be as frequent in the female cattle I have met. That is an observation, not a declaration of fact.
Nicholas Jersey steer SERIOUS

Nicholas as a young calf

5 comments:

Life With Dogs said...

Cute is right - but that gate sounds like your friend. :)

Retrieverman said...

You gotta watch those Jersey bulls and steers, they've got an ornery side to them.

I've known dairy people who have been injured by them. They were more used to the one we incorrectly call and incorrectly pronounce Holsteins. Holsteins are much more docile than other dairy breeds. They don't really bond as well with their calves either (especially when compared to beef breeds).

Holstein cattle are not from a place called Holstein (part of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, which is on the Danish border). It's not pronounced Holsteen. It's pronounced Holstine.

And the animals aren't from Germany.

They are from the Friesland and North Holland provinces of the Netherlands.

I think this got confused because the cattle were sent to Germany, and the Frisian language (which is not Dutch or any kind of German) is also spoken in Schleswig-Holstein (on the Friesian islands). There are four languages of Schleswig-Holstein: standard High German, the local Low German dialect, Frisian, and Danish.

I need to do a post on this, but the British never call these cattle Holsteins. They call them Friesians.

Rinalia said...

@Life With Dogs: Gates do come in handy!

@Retrieverman: I've never met a truly aggressive Jersey steer. I've only met one Jersey bull. He did not like people. At all. :) I've heard the bulls are much more aggro than other dairy bulls.

I've heard of Friesian-Holstein crosses. Which always struck me as interesting. It always seemed, to me, like calling a dog an Alsatian-German Shepherd cross. Although I think it's really more like American Pit Bull Terrier v. American Staffordshire Terriers with a lot of shared parentage...but you can anger some of the rangier APBT line folks if you accidentally call them ASTs.

Mary said...

OMG...his hair mop looks like an adorably bad toupe.

Pibble said...

Okay, let's take this conversation to my level. :)

I love the crop of hair on his head. And it looks like he's been sunbathing and wearing eye protection. I love him! But I'll stay on this side of the gate, too.